Corporate travel is expected to rebound this year, but cost-saving continues to drive travel plans being made by business travelers. The latest Orbitz for Business/Business Traveler Magazine Quarterly Trend Report trend report highlights an ongoing commitment by companies and individual employees to reduce travel costs, even as they fly more:
– A Personal Commitment: 70 percent of travelers felt personally obligated to save their company money when they travel.
– Fly Economy Class: 38 percent of respondents stated they have flown economy class on domestic flights to cut travel costs.
– Booking Ahead: To help avoid higher fares associated with last-minute bookings, only 6 percent of business travelers said they book their flights less than a week in advance. Thirty percent of respondents said they book at least eight days in advance, with the remaining 64 percent booking at least two weeks before a trip.
– On the Bright Side: Nearly 20 percent of business travelers said no cost cuts have been made so far in 2010, and the majority of respondents (54 percent) said they were planning to have the same number of business trips in the next three months as they had in the first quarter.
“With corporate travel managers focused on getting more out of their travel budgets, companies continue to turn to the Internet for choice, cost savings and a great user experience,” said Frank Petito, president, Orbitz for Business. “Of course, we believe that Orbitz for Business is uniquely positioned to deliver those benefits to our customers, online and off.”
With corporate travel managers setting their sights on compliance as a pathway to cost reduction and adoption, more attention is being given to converting out of policy travelers. According to the trend report, reigning in these “rogue travelers” will depend on how a company adopts self-service and online booking tools as part of their managed travel solution:
– Self-Service: 91 percent of business travelers surveyed book their own travel. And 73 percent of respondents cited convenience and self-service as the primary reasons they chose a specific airline carrier.
– Online Booking: 88 percent of business travelers said they book the majority (50 percent) of their travel online, while only 2 percent do not use an online tool when booking travel.
– User Experience: 83 percent of business travelers cited proactive travel-delay notifications and rebooking as the most valuable service feature when managing their travel spend. A close second (81 percent) cited having a corporate travel tool that provided a visual matrix showing available fares and rates.
Petito added, “Companies and travelers are smarter about the way they travel. Corporate travel managers are being asked to be more traveler-centric, and not only allow self-service but encourage it, and ideally in a familiar online environment. One of the challenges we’ve been able to solve for customers is delivering a familiar online booking experience that also drives tight policy compliance, expense management, and cost reduction. By providing a tool that mirrors what employees use in their personal travel, we believe they’ll ultimately do what’s in the best interest of the company when booking business travel.”
The spring quarterly report, which examined the most prevalent issues affecting the corporate travel industry, was based on a detailed survey of 846 business travelers.