|October 14, 2003 - With the travel industry continuing to look for
a rebound, it's no surprise that more attention is directed at luring the
typically lucrative business customers back to the marketplace. But as
the economic climate has been transformed, the question must be posed:
Has the business traveler also been irrevocably changed?
With this question in mind, Travelocity Business(TM) has taken a deeper look at today's business traveler and revealed some little-known facts about their travel behaviors. And, the independent survey reveals that the era of more flexible corporate expense accounts has come to an end, and a value- driven mentality has taken hold not only of today's leisure traveler and corporations themselves, but of the individual business traveler as well.
"The industry is looking to the business traveler to drive the travel rebound, but we'd be wrong to think that yesterday's corporate traveler has the same profile today," said Amy Ziff, editor-at-large for Travelocity. "The most successful travel companies will offer the business person service at a good value. This poll is intended to examine this evolving segment's needs, looking closely at business travelers' life on the road and finding out what makes them tick."
The poll, a phone survey of nearly 600 business travelers independently conducted for Travelocity by Synovate Market Research, was completed in August 2003.
According to the study, business travelers show more similarities to today's leisure traveler, with purchase decisions being led by price and overall value. The largest group of respondents (25 percent) said price was their main motivator when booking airfare, and 53 percent also noted cost as the most important factor in their rental car decisions, even above overall convenience factors.
In the continued economic conditions, who's filling up all those business class seats? Our survey showed that 85 percent are flying in coach, 9.7 percent are in business class and 4.5 percent are in first class. The study also revealed that today's average "road warrior" is now only traveling (via air and/or car) a handful of times during the year, 4-8 times annually according to the study, resulting in the accumulation of fewer frequent flyer benefits and other perks.
Apparently business travelers WILL dish out a bit more for convenience when it comes to their hotel stay, as location ranked above all else when making their selection, while cost was next on the list.
Travelers' preferences may be evolving as well. As airlines in particular search for the best cost-saving formula, often by eliminating certain services and amenities, the study showed that the largest group of respondents (25 percent) said leg room would be the hardest amenity to give up, even above loyalty programs and food services. Frequency of available flights ranks a close second.
The research revealed that comfortable bedding tops the list in terms of hotel amenities that matter most, surprisingly above high-speed Internet access and other seemingly important corporate amenities. When choosing a rental car company, most business travelers (nearly 60 percent) view expedited pick-up and drop-off services as the most important features and amenities offered.
"As the travel industry as a whole restructures itself to increase profits, it will be important to listen to customers now more than ever," Ziff said. "Suppliers may choose to maintain certain services in order to engender customer loyalty in the long run."
Inside the Business Traveler
Today's corporate traveler revealed that the best part of working on the road is getting to explore a new city. However, being away from home and family and having to deal with flight delays/cancellations were the biggest complaints. Additional survey findings delving deeper into business travelers' attitudes and preferences include:
About Travelocity Business
Sabre Holdings Corporation is a world leader in travel commerce, retailing travel products and providing distribution and technology solutions for the travel industry. More information about Sabre Holdings is available at http://www.sabre-holdings.com/
|Also See:||What Matters to Business Travelers While on the Road? / By Dr. Cihan Cobanoglu / Aug 2002|