Top Business Travel Trends for 2014

2014-01-13
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  • Travel Industry Wire Biggest concern is delayed flights; year-over-year booking trends remain nearly unchanged; and airline change fees top ancillary fees.

    Nearly 40% of Travel Leaders Group's business-focused travel agents have indicated that business clients will be traveling more in 2014 than last year and nearly another 40% state client bookings will be the same as in 2013, according to the results of the top business travel trends survey from Travel Leaders Group that was released today. The findings are fairly consistent with 2013 findings in a year-over-year comparison.  In addition, the survey revealed that delayed flights are the top concern for business travel clients, and found that there is an ever-growing demand for access to Wi-Fi inflight and virtually everywhere else. Conducted November 11 - December 14, 2013, these business travel trends are based on responses from 424 Travel Leaders Group owners, managers and frontline travel experts throughout the United States who identified that 50% or more of their portfolio consists of business travel clients. 

    "While a very slight plurality of our agents tell us booking levels for business travel are at least on par with the start of last year, we are very encouraged that nearly as many are telling us that they're actually seeing higher booking levels than a year ago," stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben.  "Our corporate travel agents are in-tune with clients' needs for advanced travel planning and adherence to travel policies for maximum return on their investment.  Our individual business clients have the peace of mind in knowing we have their back, especially when problems arise. For example, our agents excel at reacting nimbly and quickly to deal with issues such as delayed and canceled flights – re-protecting clients by securing a seat on another flight."

    "In Travel Leaders Corporate, we're cautiously optimistic about 2014," noted Travel Leaders Corporate President David Holyoke. "That's because while many clients are showing solid growth, others are still struggling with ongoing economic concerns in their individual segments. We're working will all of our clients to better leverage our tools and service to ultimately maximize each dollar spent."

    Anticipated Level of Business Travel in 2014

    When Travel Leaders Group business travel experts were asked, "What have your business travel clients indicated in terms of either actual bookings and/or client feedback as to the amount of travel they anticipate for 2014 compared to 2013?" the results were:

    2014

    2013

    2012

    2011

    Booking levels will increase compared to last year

    38.4%

    38.7%

    34.5%

    39.7%

    Booking levels will remain on par with last year

    39.4%

    40.8%

    42.2%

    36.3%

    Booking levels will decline compared to last year

    5.7%

    9.8%

    4.7%

    7.8%

    *The totals do not add up to 100%. The remaining experts polled stated "unknown."

    Top Business Travel Concerns

    When asked, "What are the top three concerns for your business travelers?"  Travel Leaders Group's survey participants provided the following insights:

    1

    Delayed flights

    70.1%

    2

    Limited airline seat availability

    46.7%

    3

    Earning frequent flyer/loyalty points

    37.5%

    4

    Travel costs

    29.7%

    5

    Ease of passing through security

    28.3%

    Most Valuable Services

    Based on concerns about delayed flights and limited airline seat availability, it naturally follows suit that business travel agents believe that "access to an experienced agents" is critically essential for their business travel clients in the coming year.  When asked for the single most valuable service business travel clients need to ensure smooth travels in 2014, the following were identified as the top three:

    1

    Access to an experience agent

    63.9%

    2

    24-hour service

    12.0%

    3

    Waivers and favors

    8.3%

    Ancillary Fees for Business Travelers

    Travel Leaders Group business travel experts were asked, "Please choose the most frequently charged Ancillary Fees your business travel clients encounter." Agents could select multiple answers.  Here are the Top 10 responses:

    1

    Airline fees for changing flights

    77.4%

    2

    Airline fees for baggage

    55.0%

    3

    Airline fees for seat assignments (upgrade and/or premium seat)

    52.6%

    4

    Hotel fee for Internet

    18.5%

    5

    Hotel "resort" fee

    11.8%

    6

    Hotel fees for parking

    10.1%

    7

    Car rental fees for one-way rental drop-offs

    9.0%

    8

    Airline fees for Internet

    6.8%

    9

    Airline fees for food

    4.5%

    10

    Hotel fees for early check-in/late check-out

    4.0%

    The top three responses in 2014 are identical to last year.  In 2013 the top five was rounded out by "Hotel fees for parking" and "Hotel fees for Internet."



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