|Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben|
Travel Leaders Group reports a 3.5 percent increase in the number of business clients staying in either “luxury” or “upper upscale” hotel properties while on the road for business, as well as 4.6 percent increase over last year in the number of agents reporting their business travel airline bookings are in First or Business Class.
The top reasons cited by Travel Leaders Group's survey for why a business traveler would fly Coach Class are “company policy” (52.6%) followed by “cost” (43.1%). The latest finding also indicate year-over-year business travel bookings are “on par or better than last year” at this time for 84.3 percent of the survey participants.
This data on business travel is based on responses from 306 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers and frontline travel agents who indicated that 50 percent or more of their portfolio is made up of business travelers.
The results are part of the larger 2013 Fall Travel Trends Survey conducted by Travel Leaders Group from August 5 - August 25, 2013, in which 946 travel agents from the flagship Travel Leaders brand, along with those affiliated with Travel Leaders Group’s Luxury Travel Network, Nexion, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders Corporate, Tzell Travel Group and Vacation.com units participated.
“Our findings, based on our business travel bookings, certainly mirror the country as a whole – we are seeing growth in some key areas, which demonstrates positive news economically,” stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben.
“While we would love to see bigger increases in certain areas, we’re still pleased that over 84 percent of our agents who specialize in business travel indicate that bookings are on equal to or better than last year is important to note. We continue to work with our corporate clients in increasing the adoption of their travel policies by their traveling employees, which in turn benefits their bottom line. The more they can take advantage of special negotiated rates with key air, car and hotel suppliers, the more they can continue to have their employees ‘on the road,’ which is vital to their corporate growth," Liben said.
First/Business Class vs. Coach: When asked “For your 2013 year-to-date business travel air bookings, what percentage of clients are purchasing ‘front of the cabin’?” more than half (55.9%) of survey participants indicated over 10 percent of their clients are flying in the front of the plane. This Fall 11 percent or more reported bookings in First/Business Class while 51.3 percent reported in 2012. Those reporting 1-10 percent of Bookings in First/Business Class were 38.9 percent. (44.6% in 2012)
When asked for the top reasons why their business travelers fly in coach, the top response was “company policy” (52.6%) followed by“cost” (43.1%). In 2012 it was reversed – “cost” (50.6%) followed by “company policy” (44.3%).
Hotel Bookings for Business Travel: When asked “What percentage of your business travel clients add a hotel reservation to their travel itinerary?” a majority (67.3%) of Travel Leaders Group agents report that more than half of their clients request a hotel booking in addition to their airline reservation; while 24.6 percent state that between 20-50 percent of their business travel clients require a hotel booking in addition to their airfare. (In 2012 the percentages were 63.8% and 28.4%, respectively.)
When asked “Which hotel category would you say the majority of your business travel clients book?” 63.9 percent of Travel Leaders Group agents state the “Luxury” and “Upper Upscale” categories, while 31.8 percent indicate “Upscale” and “Upper Midscale” categories. (In 2012 the percentages were 55.0% and 39.3% respectively.)
Car Rentals for Business Travel Leaders: When asked “What percentage of your business travel clients add a car rental reservation to their travel itinerary?” a majority (54.7%) of Travel Leaders Group agents report that more than half of their clients request a car rental in addition to their airline reservation; while 32.4 percent state that between 20-50 percent of their business travel clients require a rental car in addition to their airfare, which is nearly identical to last year.
When asked “Which rental car category would you say the majority of your business travel clients book? 78.6 percent of Travel Leaders Group agents say “Midsize,” while 12.2 percent indicate “Full size.”
Duty of Care: Because business travelers may encounter situations that impact their safety and well-being, survey participants were asked, “Which types of incidents required you to execute Duty of Care procedures for your client?” the top responses were: “Airline emergency,” “Hurricane,” and “Civil unrest in an international country.”
Year-Over-Year Comparable Business Travel Bookings: When asked “Comparing your overall 2013 business travel bookings so far to your 2012 business travel bookings at this time last year, which is true?” Higher in 2013 (53.9%) vs 55.0 percent in 2012. About even (30.4% in 2013 and 25.3% in 2012) and lower 15.7 percent in 2013 and 19.7 percent in 2012.
Travel Leaders Group generates gross travel sales of approximately $18 billion.