Business Travel Trends Revealed in Travel Leaders Group Survey Data includes hotel, car rental and "front of the plane" business travel bookings

PLYMOUTH, Minn., Sept. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In the latest survey data provided by Travel Leaders Group, it appears that "company policy" now has almost as much influence as "cost" in whether or not business travelers will be flying in the "front of the plane." Also new in this survey, a majority of Travel Leaders Group's business travel agents indicate their clients are selecting either "luxury" or "upper upscale" hotel properties and, if renting a car while on business, the overwhelmingly preferred choice is a midsized car.  In analyzing year-over-year business travel bookings, 80.3% of those surveyed indicate their bookings are on par or better than last year at this time – in 2011 that figure was 83.5%, indicating a slight softening in the marketplace.

This data on business travel is based on responses from 269 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers and frontline travel agents who indicated that 50% or more of their portfolio is made up of business travelers.  These results are part of the larger 2012 Fall Travel Trends Survey conducted by Travel Leaders Group from July 30 - August 23, 2012, in which 871 travel agent experts from the flagship Travel Leaders brand, along with those affiliated with Travel Leaders Group's Luxury Travel Network, Nexion, Results! Travel, Tzell Travel Group and Vacation.com units participated.

"We are now heading into the fourth quarter of the year and there are still some important issues looming – be it the economic situation in Europe or the upcoming elections in this country – and all of that has a domino effect within the realm of business travel.  There is no question we are a global society," stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben.  "That being said, it has still been a solid year for business travel, as indicated by over 80% of our business travel agents stating that their corporate travel bookings are equal to or higher than last year.  It is also apparent by our survey findings that a significant segment of business travelers are opting for higher-end hotel stays while they are on the road.  That is good for both our business and the overall economy."

First/Business Class vs. Coach

When asked "For your 2012 year-to-date business travel air bookings, what percentage of clients are purchasing 'front of the cabin'?" it appears the numbers have softened slightly compared to when Travel Leaders agents were asked this question heading into 2012. However, the sample was broadened to include agents from throughout more of the Travel Leaders Group enterprise; the earlier sample consisted solely of agents who identified as Travel Leaders franchisees.


Fall 2012

Early 2012

11% or More of Bookings in First/Business Class

51.3%

58.9%

1-10% of Bookings in First/Business Class

44.6%

37.8%

0% of Bookings in First/Business Class

4.1%

3.3%

When asked for the top reasons why their business travelers fly in coach, the top response was "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 (63.8%) of Travel Leaders Group agents report that more than half of their clients request a hotel booking in addition to their airline reservation; while 28.4% state that between 20-50% 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?" 55.0% of Travel Leaders Group agents state the "Luxury" and "Upper Upscale" categories, while 39.3% indicate "Upscale" and "Upper Midscale" categories.

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 (55.1%) of Travel Leaders Group agents report that more than half of their clients request a car rental in addition to their airline reservation; while 33.1% state that between 20-50% 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? 79.2% of Travel Leaders Group agents say "Midsize," while 14.4% indicate "Full size."

Year-Over-Year Comparable Business Travel Bookings

When asked "Comparing your overall 2012 business travel bookings so far to your 2011 business travel bookings at this time last year, which is true?" the responses were as follows:


2012 Fall

2011 Fall

They're higher

55.0%

60.0%

They're about even

25.3%

23.5%

They're lower

19.7%

16.5%

Travel Leaders Group is one of North America's largest travel companies – encompassing nearly one-third of all travel agents – and generates gross travel sales of nearly $17 billion. 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. Most recently, Travel Leaders Group was named #1 on the Business Travel News Business 2012 Travel Survey and was again among the Top 10 on the Travel Weekly Power List.

Contact:

Steve Loucks

Kathy Gerhardt


763-744-3797

763-744-3710


sloucks@travelleaders.com 

kgerhardt@travelleaders.com

SOURCE Travel Leaders Group



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