|Photo by Freeimages.com/Ben Ullman|
Travel Leaders Group has released its latest survey data on fall trends in business travel. More than two-thirds of its participating corporate travel specialists indicated that over 10 percent of their clients are flying in the “front of the plane” (First or Business Class), which is an increase over last year. Additional findings looked at the emergence of the “sharing economy” within business travel; 44.4 percent have clients who have used an alternative supplier for accommodation and 66.2 percent indicated their clients have used an alternative supplier for their ground transportation. Nearly 81 percent of respondents also stated that their business travel bookings are higher than or on par with last year at this time.
This data on business travel is based on responses from 392 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. These results are part of the larger 2015 Fall Travel Trends Survey conducted by Travel Leaders Group from August 3 - August 25, 2015, in which 1,152 travel agent experts from the flagship Travel Leaders brand, along with those affiliated with Travel Leaders Group’s Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders Corporate, Tzell Travel Group and Vacation.com units.
“While we have seen some volatility in the economy since our survey was completed last month, in general our corporate clientele have expressed enough confidence in the marketplace to make continuing investments in business travel,” said Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko. “This has clearly been a solid year for business travel through the first eight months as over 80 percent of our corporate travel specialists are seeing their business travel bookings better than or equal to the same time last year.”
Premium Cabin (First/Business) vs. Coach
When asked “For your 2015 year-to-date business travel air bookings, what percentage of clients are purchasing ‘front of the cabin’?” a solid majority (67.4%) of survey participants indicated over 10% of their clients are flying in the front of the plane, which is an increase over last year.
When asked for the top reasons why their business travelers fly in coach, the top response was “company policy” (50.8%) followed by “cost” (39.2%) and “hoping for upgrade” (3.6%).
Travel Leaders Group also asked specifically about international business travel air bookings and reservations for premium cabin seats. Nearly 70 percent if Travel Leaders Group’s business-focused travel agents indicated that over 10 percent of their clients are flying in the front of the plane and 26 percent stated 1-10 percent of their international air bookings are in First/Business Class.
Hotel Bookings for Business Travel
When asked “What percentage of your business travel clients add a hotel reservation to their travel itinerary?” nearly 70 percent (69.9%) of Travel Leaders Group agents reported that more than half of their clients request a hotel booking in addition to their airline reservation; while 19.1 percent stated that between 21-50 percent of their business travel clients require a hotel booking in addition to their airfare.
When asked “Which hotel category would you say the majority of your business travel clients book?” 68.4 percent of Travel Leaders Group agents stated the “Luxury” and “Upper Upscale” categories, while 27.7 percent indicate “Upscale” and “Upper Midscale” categories.
Car Rentals for Business Travel
When asked “What percentage of your business travel clients add a car rental reservation to their travel itinerary?” 41.8 percent of Travel Leaders Group agents reported that more than half of their clients request a car rental in addition to their airline reservation; while 35.2 percent stated that between 21-50 percent of their business travel clients require a rental car in addition to their airfare.
When asked “Which rental car category would you say the majority of your business travel clients book? 73.1 percent of Travel Leaders Group agents said “Midsize,” while 18.3 percent indicated “Full size.” (Last year, the percentages were 77.7 percent and 15.6 percent, respectively.)
With increased options for business travelers in both accommodations and ground transportation, Travel Leaders Group’s business travel agents provided insights into how many clients take advantage of these shared services.
When asked, “What percentage of your business travel clients are using an alternative supplier for their accommodations?” the responses were:
When asked, “What percentage of your business travel clients are using an alternative supplier for their ground transportation?” the responses were:
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: “Snowstorm,” “Airline emergency,” and “Car accident (rental car).” (In 2014, the top responses were: “Airline emergency,” “Civil unrest in an international country” and “Earthquake.”)
Year-Over-Year Comparable Business Travel Bookings
When asked “Comparing your overall 2015 business travel bookings so far to your 2014 business travel bookings at this time last year, which is true?” approximately 81 percent stated bookings were equal to or higher than this time last year.