Latest News
HomeMICE IndustryBusiness TravelYear-over-year business travel bookings increasing as are number of clients flying in the “Front of the Plane”
Business travel

Year-over-year business travel bookings increasing as are number of clients flying in the “Front of the Plane”

Findings indicated a double-digit increase in the number of Travel Leaders Group business travel agents stating that “11% or more” of their business travel airline bookings are in First or Business Class.

PLYMOUTH, MN – Travel Leaders Group provided survey data specific to its business travelers in which nearly 86% of those polled stated business travel bookings are better than or on par with this time last year – in fact, there was a 3.3% increase in those stating year-over-year bookings are higher. Additional findings indicated a double-digit increase in the number of Travel Leaders Group business travel agents stating that “11% or more” of their business travel airline bookings are in First or Business Class. The survey also revealed an uptick in agents stating a majority of their business travel clients are selecting “Luxury” and “Upper Upscale” categories of hotel accommodations.

This data on business travel is based on responses from 346 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 2014 Fall Travel Trends Survey conducted by Travel Leaders Group from August 4 – August 29, 2014, in which 1,054 travel agent experts from the flagship Travel Leaders brand, along with those affiliated with Travel Leaders Group’s Cruise Holidays, Cruise Specialists, Luxury Travel Network, Nexion, Protravel International, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders Corporate, Tzell Travel Group and Vacation.com units participated.

“The data in our survey represents a well-rounded look at business travelers nationwide and across our different travel agency groups. We are particularly encouraged to see continued growth in the number of business travel bookings year-over-year, which leads us to two conclusions: economically, businesses are bullish on their economic futures and these clients see additional value in working with top-level travel management companies as part of their corporate strategy,” stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben. “A nearly 11% increase in those polled stating that more than 1-in-10 of their business travelers are booking either First or Business Class airline tickets is another indicator of economic confidence. Whether or not our business clients are flying in the ‘front of the plane,’ we take a very strategic approach in reviewing, analyzing and managing their business travel programs and policies to continue providing the utmost return on investment on their travel spending.”

First/Business Class vs. Coach
When asked “For your 2014 year-to-date business travel air bookings, what percentage of clients are purchasing ‘front of the cabin’?” two-thirds (66.8%) of survey participants indicated over 10% of their clients are flying in the front of the plane, which is an increase of 10.9% compared to last year. This can be attributed to a lack of available upgrades to First or Business Class due to the consolidation of airlines – meaning more clients are paying to ensure they are seated at the front of the plane. In addition, Travel Leaders Group’s business clientele increasingly includes CEOs and top-level executives requiring specialized travel planning.

Fall 2014

Fall 2013

Fall 2012

11% or More of Bookings in First/Business Class

66.8%

55.9%

51.3%

1-10% of Bookings in First/Business Class

30.9%

38.9%

44.6%

0% of Bookings in First/Business Class

2.3%

5.2%

4.1%

When asked for the top reasons why their business travelers fly in coach, the top response was “company policy” (56.9%) followed by “cost” (35.8%) and “hoping for upgrade (1.7%).

Selecting Flights for Business Travel
Taking a closer look at corporate travel policies and business travelers’ flight selections, we asked Travel Leaders Group’s business travel agents, “When booking flights for your corporate travelers, do they most often choose…” A mere 8.4% stated “lowest fare, period” while the top responses were:

  • A flight (not the lowest) based on time of departure/arrival – as long as it meets the corporate policy: 44.8%
  • The lowest fare for a nonstop, even if there is a lower priced connection: 30.9%
  • A flight (not the lowest) based on preferred air carrier – as long as it meets the corporate policy: 13.0%

Hotel Bookings for Business Travel
When asked “What percentage of your business travel clients add a hotel reservation to their travel itinerary?” a majority (68.2%) of Travel Leaders Group agents reported that more than half of their clients request a hotel booking in addition to their airline reservation; while 23.4% stated that between 21-50% of their business travel clients require a hotel booking in addition to their airfare. (Last year, the percentages were 67.3% and 24.6%, respectively.)

When asked “Which hotel category would you say the majority of your business travel clients book?” 70.2% of Travel Leaders Group agents stated the “Luxury” and “Upper Upscale” categories, while 25.4% indicate “Upscale” and “Upper Midscale” categories. (In 2013 the percentages were 63.9% and 31.8% respectively.)

Car Rentals for Business Travel
When asked “What percentage of your business travel clients add a car rental reservation to their travel itinerary?” a majority (55.2%) of Travel Leaders Group agents reported that more than half of their clients request a car rental in addition to their airline reservation; while 30.3% stated that between 21-50% of their business travel clients require a rental car in addition to their airfare. (In 2013 the percentages were 54.7% and 32.4% respectively.)

When asked “Which rental car category would you say the majority of your business travel clients book? 77.7% of Travel Leaders Group agents said “Midsize,” while 15.6% indicated “Full size.” (Last year, the percentages were 78.6% and 12.2%, respectively.)

Duty of Care
Because business travelers may encounter situations that impact their safety and well-being, survey participants were asked, “Which types of incidents required you to execute Duty of Care procedures for your client?” the top responses were:  “Airline emergency,” “Civil unrest in an international country” and “Earthquake.”  (In 2013, the top responses were: “Airline emergency,” “Hurricane,” and “Civil unrest in an international country.”)

Year-Over-Year Comparable Business Travel Bookings
When asked “Comparing your overall 2014 business travel bookings so far to your 2013 business travel bookings at this time last year, which is true?” nearly 85% stated bookings were equal to or higher than this time last year.

2014 Fall

2013 Fall

2012 Fall

2011 Fall

They’re higher

57.2%

53.9%

55.0%

60.0%

They’re about even

28.6%

30.4%

25.3%

23.5%

They’re lower

14.2%

15.7%

19.7%

16.5%

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

23/07/2024
22/07/2024
19/07/2024
18/07/2024
17/07/2024
16/07/2024