Business Travel Trends

Business Travel Bookings Are Higher Than or on Par With Last Year

Travel Leaders Group 2015 Fall Travel Trends Survey Highlight Premium Airline Tickets, New Data on 'Sharing Economy'

Travel Leaders Group

Yesterday, Travel Leaders Group released its latest survey data on business travelerswith more than two-thirds of its 392 participating corporate travel specialists indicating that over 10% of their clients are flying First or Business Class – up over last year. Additional findings on the "sharing economy" emergence within business travel shows 44.4% have clients who use alternative suppliers for accommodations; 66.2% said clients use alternative suppliers for ground transportation. Nearly 81% stated that their business travel bookings are higher than or on par with last year at this time.

These results are part of Travel Leaders Group's larger 2015 Fall Travel Trends Survey (August 3-25, 2015) of 1,152 travel agent experts from Travel Leaders' flagship brands, and those affiliated with Travel Leaders Group's Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, Results! Travel, 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," noted Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko, CTC. "This has clearly been a solid year for business travel through the first eight months as over 80% of our corporate travel specialists are seeing their business travel bookings better than or equal to the same time last year."

"What will be very interesting to watch is how younger 'road warriors' shape and impact business travel, particularly with alternative sources for transportation and accommodations," noted David Holyoke, President of Travel Leaders Corporate (Travel Leaders Group's business travel unit).  "Already we are seeing a segment of our clientele opting for the flexibility that those services can provide. It will be incumbent upon travel management companies to help their clients incorporate those services into their corporate travel policies for financial reasons and for duty of care."

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%) indicated over 10% of their clients are flying in the front of the plane, which is an increase over last year. 

Fall 2015

Fall 2014

Fall 2013

Fall 2012

11% or More of Bookings in First/Business Class 

67.4%

66.8%

55.9%

51.3%

1-10% of Bookings in First/Business Class 

28.5%

30.9%

38.9%

44.6%

0% of Bookings in First/Business Class 

4.1%

2.3%

5.2%

4.1%

When asked for top reasons why business travelers fly coach, top response included "company policy" (50.8%)"cost" (39.2%) and"hoping for upgrade" (3.6%).  

In asking about international business travel air reservations for premium cabin seats, nearly 70% of Travel Leaders Group's business agents indicated over 10% of their clients are flying in the front of the plane and 26% stated 1-10% of international air bookings are in First/Business Class.

Hotel Bookings

  • When asked "What percentage of your business travel clients add a hotel reservation to their travel itinerary?" nearly 70% (69.9%) reported that more than half of clients request hotel bookings in addition to airline reservations; while 19.1% said between 21-50% of clients require accommodations in addition to airfares. 
  • When asked "Which hotel category would you say the majority of your business travel clients book?" 68.4% stated "Luxury" and "Upper Upscale" categories; 27.7% indicated "Upscale" and "Upper Midscale." 

Car Rentals 

  • Asking "What percentage of your business travel clients add a car rental reservation to their travel itinerary?" 41.8% reported that more than half of their clients request a car rental in addition to their airline reservation; while 35.2% stated that between 21-50% of their clients require a rental car in addition to their airfare. 
  • Asking "Which rental car category would you say the majority of your business travel clients book? 73.1% said "Midsize," 18.3% indicated "Full size." 

Sharing Economy 

With increased options in both accommodations and ground transportation, Travel Leaders Group's business agents provided insights into these shared services.

Asking, "What percentage of your business travel clients are using an alternative supplier for their accommodations?" responses included: 

0% of clients (55.6%) 

1-10% of clients (29.6%) 

11% or more of clients (14.8%)

Asking, "What percentage of your business travel clients are using an alternative supplier for their ground transportation?" responses included: 

0% of clients (33.8%)    

1-10% of clients (33.8%) 

11% or more of clients (32.4%)

Duty of Care

Because business travelers may encounter situations that impact their safety and well-being, the survey asked, "Which types of incidents required you to execute Duty of Care procedures for your client?" Top responses were:  "Snowstorm," "Airline emergency," and "Car accident (rental car)."   

Year-Over-Year

Asking, "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% stated bookings were equal to or higher than this time last year.

Higher 

53.1%

About even

27.8%

Lower

19.1%

Travel Leaders Group is one of North America's largest travel companies – encompassing nearly one-third of all travel agents – and generated gross travel sales of approximately $20 billion in 2014. Travel Leaders Group is a leader in both the retail travel agency space and corporate travel, and it consistently ranks as one of the top travel companies nationwide.



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