Travel Leaders Corporate has released its business travel clients’ aggregated third quarter booking data for 2015.
Business travelers continued the trend of booking their trips with less than a week’s notice, even though they could have potentially saved an average of 28 percent if trips were booked at least two weeks in advance. Additional business travel client data reveals the average domestic trip length rose for the fourth consecutive quarter, demonstrating the continued strength of the business travel market. Hotel rates also continued their climb, while the year-over-year base rate for airline tickets and rental cars continued to decline.
“Our business travel clients continue to take more frequent and longer trips, demonstrating how robust the business travel market remains,” said David Holyoke, president of Travel Leaders Corporate. “For the fourth quarter in a row, average domestic trip lengths continued to increase. We’re seeing a confidence among our clients of all sizes.”
“Another trend we’re seeing among our clients is the continued pattern of booking air travel with little advanced notice,” Holyoke continued. “Business trips booked less than a week from the date of travel made up 27 percent of all airline tickets booked, even though the average ticket price was $523 in that window, compared to $373 with three weeks or more notice. Businesses are confident about their economic prospects, so flexibility is more of a deciding factor than price.”
Other Key Findings
Hotel: While costs in some segments of the industry, such as airfare and car rentals, are decreasing, hotel prices continue to increase. The base price for a domestic hotel room has risen more than 3 percent since last year, continuing its steady climb over the last five years.
Airfare: Travel Leaders Corporate also recently released data on base prices for airfares in which prices continued their year-over-year pattern. Prices for domestic airfare, over the last four years, showed a spike in the second quarter followed by a dip in the second half of the year. In 2015 alone, the average cost of a domestic airline ticket fell nearly 5 percent between the second and third quarters and average international airfare prices fell nearly 7 percent - which equated to over $100 per ticket.
Car Rental: In analyzing base rental care rates, Travel Leaders Corporate’s findings show a continued slide, dropping for the first time to under $40 per day. There was also a similar pattern to domestic airfares, in which car rental rates spiked in the second quarter of each year and then dropped off.
“Overall, it should be noted that even with the decline in the cost of airline tickets and rental car prices, the average trip cost continued to rise,” said Holyoke. “Our client data indicated that the average trip cost was up 3% compared to last year, which is entirely driven by the increase in average hotel prices.”