Flexibility and Efficiency Once Again Top of Mind for Business Travelers During Overall Corporate Travel Rebound

New Study Highlights Most Frequently Used Ancillary Airline Services, Lagging Mobile Adoption Among Business Travelers

Dec 07, 2010, 12:06 ET from Orbitz for Business

CHICAGO, Dec. 7, 2010  /PRNewswire/ -- In contrast to the spring Orbitz for Business / Business Traveler Magazine Quarterly Trend Report, new survey data shows that flexibility and efficiency are now on par with cost savings during the overall rebound in corporate travel.  Of the 929 business travelers surveyed for the Fall report, only 38 percent felt 'very' or 'extremely' obligated to save their company money when they travel, compared to 70 percent of respondents surveyed in May.  The survey further indicates that business travelers have increasingly adopted airline ancillary services such as priority boarding and securing an aisle seat to customize their individual travel experience.  

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The survey results also suggest continued strength in business travel through the fourth quarter and heading into 2011 with 84 percent of respondents saying they planned the same or more travel compared to the previous three months.  This is in line with recent data from the NBTA Foundation, which projects nearly seven percent growth for business travel in 2011.  

"Corporate travel continues to see strong growth, and while many business travelers remain cost conscious, the latest Orbitz for Business trend report indicates that efficiency and flexibility are getting strong consideration along with price," said Frank Petito, president, Orbitz for Business.  "Today's corporate travelers have more ways to tailor their business travel experience than ever before, and they are taking advantage of technology-enabled solutions to streamline and enhance that experience."  

Top Five Most Used Ancillary Services for Business Travelers

Ancillary fees have been a major revenue driver for airlines in 2010 and an important topic in the corporate travel industry.    In March of this year, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) projected an industry-wide loss of $2.8 billion.  IATA has since revised that figure to a profit of $8.9 billion this year with ancillary fees being a significant component of that growth.

As the unbundling of airline services continues, the Orbitz for Business / Business Traveler Magazine Quarterly Trend Report asked travelers to rank the ancillary fees they are most likely to incur during business travel.  

The top five most used airline ancillary services (in order):  

  1. Securing an aisle row seat
  2. Priority security line access and early boarding
  3. Airline lounge or club access
  4. Securing a seat near the front of the plane
  5. Extra leg room in coach

Baggage check – one of the most utilized services in leisure travel –  ranked sixth on the list.  According to those surveyed, the least-used ancillary services are priority standby for an alternative flight and internet access.  While the latter may seem surprising, it suggests that business travelers use in-flight time as a 'safe haven' to stay disconnected and prepare or play catch up before plugging back in on arrival.    

The Top Five Most Significant Factors When Selecting Hotel Accommodations

In contrast to their airline counterparts, hotels have long embraced unbundled fees, and many of those services will ultimately influence where business travelers choose to stay.  

The Orbitz for Business / Business Traveler Magazine Quarterly Trend Report also asked survey respondents to rank the most significant factors when booking a hotel accommodation.

The top five most significant factors when booking a hotel (in order):

  1. Loyalty or awards program points
  2. Proximity to business meeting or event
  3. On-site amenities such as Wi-Fi, on-site cleaners, exercise center, etc.  
  4. Lower daily rate than comparable hotels
  5. Hotel star rating

While choosing a lower daily rate is always good news for corporate travel managers, respondents cited 'hotel is a preferred supplier' as the least important reason to book a hotel.  And in contrast to leisure travel, only 17 percent of those surveyed said user reviews were extremely valuable in their selection process.    

Finally, only 10 percent of respondents said they have either shared a room or had their company encouraged them to share a room during a business trip.  

The Role of Mobile Technology in Planning and Purchasing Business Travel

Consistent with predications that mobile Internet adoption is expected to outpace the desktop Internet during the next two and a half years(1), the vast majority of online travelers (93 percent) now carry mobile devices, with nearly half of those devices being smartphones(2).

In the corporate travel realm, however, the Orbitz for Business / Business Traveler Magazine Quarterly Trend Report found that only 28 percent of business travelers today currently use their mobile devices to plan and book corporate travel.  Of those respondents that use a mobile device to plan business travel, the vast majority use it just for flight updates and check-in.  Less than a third (30 percent) actually book travel through their mobile device.  

"There remains an incredible opportunity for mobile search and booking in the corporate travel space," adds Petito.  "While not all corporate travelers and TMCs have fully embraced mobile bookings, it is only a matter of time before mobile booking for corporate travel becomes prevalent.   We've already seen great adoption of native mobile travel apps and mobile websites on the leisure side, and travelers will and should expect the same access and experience during their business travel."

Other Study Findings:

  • 55 percent of all respondents said they 'always' abide by their company's travel policies.  In those instances when travel is booked outside of company policy, respondents most frequently cited more flexibility in selecting hotel and flight options as the primary reason.  
  • 75 percent of all respondents said they book the vast majority (80% or more) of their travel online, demonstrating strong online adoption among business travelers.
  • 63 percent of respondents do not typically book their flight and hotel in the same transaction.  Only six percent always book their flight and hotel together.  

Methodology

The Orbitz for Business/Business Traveler Magazine Quarterly Trend Report was conducted online from 10/7/10 through 10/14/10, using a MarketTools survey of 925 BT-e subscribers.  

About Orbitz for Business

Orbitz for Business (http://www.orbitzforbusiness.com) is the corporate travel brand of Orbitz Worldwide (NYSE: OWW).  Launched in 2002, Orbitz for Business offers a complete portfolio of travel products and services that help corporate customers plan, search and book business travel. Orbitz for Business leverages the Orbitz Worldwide technology platform, customized for corporate travelers. In addition to its leading technology, Orbitz for Business delivers full service, cost effective travel management solutions including 24x7 customer support; expense reporting and policy management tools; and comprehensive choice in travel inventory.

About Orbitz Worldwide

Orbitz Worldwide is a leading global online travel company that uses innovative technology to enable leisure and business travelers to research, plan and book a broad range of travel products. Orbitz Worldwide owns a portfolio of consumer brands that includes Orbitz (www.orbitz.com), CheapTickets (www.cheaptickets.com), ebookers (www.ebookers.com), HotelClub (www.hotelclub.com), RatesToGo (www.ratestogo.com) and the Away Network (www.away.com).  Also within the Orbitz Worldwide family, Orbitz Worldwide Distribution (http://corp.orbitz.com/partnerships/distribution) delivers private label travel solutions to a broad range of partners including many of the world's largest airlines, and Orbitz for Business (www.orbitzforbusiness.com) delivers managed corporate travel solutions for corporations. For more information on partnership opportunities with Orbitz Worldwide, visit corp.orbitz.com.  Orbitz Worldwide uses its Investor Relations website to make information available to its investors and the public at http://www.orbitz-ir.com. You can sign up to receive email alerts whenever the company posts new information to the website.

About Business Traveler

With 10 editions and a worldwide distribution of more than 500,000 copies, Business Traveler is the world's leading publication geared toward frequent business travelers. Business Traveler offers practical travel updates, destination reports, first-hand reviews and a series of special supplements, including the annual Business-Class Survey, Best in Business Travel Awards issue, 4-Hour guides, and First Timer's guides to Russia and China. Additionally, Business Traveler showcases in-depth feature stories on the topics that are of importance to business travelers, including the evolving role of women in business, discrimination when traveling, and the challenges that frequent business travelers face when they become caregivers to elderly family members. In addition to Business Traveler's monthly features, visitor guides, lifestyle stories and weekend guides, special reports cover topics from international business etiquette tips to hotel technology and developments at top airports worldwide. The U.S. edition of Business Traveler magazine is published in New York City 10 times a year, with a circulation of over 150,000 in the U.S., and will celebrate its 23rd anniversary in April 2011.

(1)  Morgan Stanley Research, State of the Internet, April 2010

(2)  PhoCusWright, Traveler Technology Survey, September 2010

SOURCE Orbitz for Business



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