All posts in Business Travel

Business travelers, what’s in your suitcase?

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

If you’re a business traveler, a recent survey from DUFL says you’re packing some fancy duds. Banana Republic was the top pick clothing brand cited by female respondents. For the guys, Brooks Brothers’ threads were their top choice.

DUFL, a premium valet app that allows business travelers to travel luggage-free, surveyed 500 of their users to gain insight into what goes in their luggage. See the infographic for additional stats associated with the survey.

“Because of the unique nature of our business – storing, inventorying and shipping clothes, shoes, toiletries, sports gear, etc., we have access to anonymized data related to their travel habits,” says Bill Rinehart, DUFL Founder, Chairman, and CEO. “This data allows us to tailor our business to accommodate the needs of our customers and to do what we set out to do from the beginning – adding convenience and eliminating stress for folks who spend the better part of their time on the road.”
DUFL anatomy of a business traveler

Travel insurance is sexy when it helps you beat the airlines

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

You’ve heard the phrase, “Go Big or Go Home”? Well, Jonathan Breeze, CEO of Aardvark Compare, has his own motto, “Go Non-Refundable and Travel Insure!”. Don’t start yawning because you think this post is about insurance.  Once you wrap your head around Jonathan’s awesome travel hack, you’re going to perk right up.

Did you know that a large majority of companies insist that their employees book Refundable Airline tickets? In doing so, they believe they are enjoying increased flexibility in the event of cancellation or rebooking. Sure, that’s all well and good, but they are paying through the teeth for that allowance — typically three times more than they should be.

According to Breeze, there is a little-known travel hack that will beat the airlines at their own game. “The airlines are robbing us blind with their 3x pricing on refundable tickets. That is the basic math. The seat price for a Refundable flight, particularly when booked far in advance, is typically 3 or 4 times as much as a Non-Refundable flight. You will hear of these Non-Refundable tickets being called ‘Throwaway Tickets’ because if you don’t fly, you may as well throw them away.

The best way to think about Non-Refundable tickets is ‘Inexpensive, yet Insurable’. Not as sexy, I grant you, but certainly, much, much cheaper, most of the time, ” says Breeze.

Simplistically, a Refundable Seat can cost 300% of the price of a Non-Refundable Seat bundled with inexpensive insurance.

So, if one buys a Refundable Economy Ticket, say from LAX to LHR in August for a week (6 months from now), American wants $2,100 for a Main Cabin Fully Flexible Seat. It’s in the Main Cabin, but it’s more expensive than a First Class seat.

aarvark compare

So, you bypass this option to seek a more traditional Main Cabin (Economy) seat. And now, this looks like a bargain, after you managed to avoid the $2,100 fully flex seat.

Breeze points out that American wants $1,150 for a Main Cabin Flexible Seat. So, it is flexible, just not ‘fully’ flexible. Travelers may change their flights, not lose all of their money, but they will need to pay for the effort to make the flight change — a $200 change fee.

aarvark compare

According to the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the Top 25 US Airlines rake in $3Bn a year in Reservation Change Fees. And $4Bn a year in Baggage Fees.

“If businesses didn’t hate the airlines before, they probably hate them now,” says Breeze.

“But, let’s go beat them at their own game…

Just before I hit the ‘Buy’ button, I, unlike almost every traveler, decide to get creative. Why not buy a Non-Refundable seat, and wrap it up with some ‘Cancel For Any Reason’ Travel Insurance from a Marketplace, similar to what we do at AardvarkCompare.com.

aarvark4

American wants $400 for the Non-Refundable Main Cabin Seat. Add the Insurance, it will cost around $50 — And you’re bulletproof! You have secured coverage for Cancellation (Sickness, Death, Incapacitation etc) – 100% Refund; Cancellation for Work Reason – 100% Refund; and Cancellation for any other Reason – 75% Refund.”

So, for $450 a customer booking that DFW – LAX return has nearly the same level of coverage as the person paying $1,150 for the exact same seat — A $700 savings.

Breeze emphasizes that the person in the $1,150 seat still has to pay $200 every time they make a change. Whereas the person in the $450 seat just needs to throw the ticket away and use their insurance if a flight needs to be canceled.

“However, I haven’t explored why these price discrepancies exist. Normally there is no such thing as a free lunch.

It’s pretty simple – Travel Insurance is based on risk, and the probability of claim.

Whereas flight prices are based on pricing models that try to wring as much money out of a passenger as possible.

And if a company likes to fly some of the Execs in First Class, the numbers become even more staggering. Recently we ran a study that showed a $16,600 saving on a First Class ticket, using this exact same methodology.”

WOW, what big seats you have!

wow logoBoarding Area’s Travel Skills blog posted updates on international discount carrier, WOW Air’s new premium seat offering for travelers flying from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami to Reykjavik.

While photos were not readily available, WOW says the seats, known as The BIG Seat, “…is an entirely different seat, bigger with a foot rest and will at first only be in our A330 planes.”

Travel Skills reports that the section will offer 37-inch pitch (vs. 31 in regular economy), and fares for the premium seats will include carry-on bags, checked bags, in-flight food service and priority boarding. Typical economy pricing on WOW includes nothing but the ride and a single under-the-seat personal item.

Read the full post here.

Sharing Economy Lodging Takes Off Among Business Travelers

At the recent GBTA Conference, Concur, a leading provider of integrated travel and expense management solutions, unveiled its annual State of Business Travel report.

state of business travel 2016

Concur analyzed business travel booking and expense reporting data from its database of more than 40 million users, representing more than $76 billion in annual spend.  In an effort to make the data more actionable by companies, Concur categorized six unique personas that represent typical business travelers:

  • Savvy Sam is a power traveler who travels 40 percent of the time, taking approximately 25 trips per year.
  • Jet Setter Jeremy is typically a C-suite executive who travels frequently, preferring to fly first-class and stay at five-star hotels.
  • High-tech Hannah is a young millennial who travels once a quarter, often combining personal and business travel, while staying budget conscious.
  • Approving Manager Alan doesn’t travel much himself, but is responsible for approving travel and expense reports and keeping budgets in line.
  • Travel Arranger Tanya books for others and files expense reports for teammates several times a week.
  • Cautious Carl travels just once or twice a year for business. He typically plans far in advance and isn’t familiar with policies and process.

Business Traveler Behaviors

The State of Business Travel report confirms that not all business travelers are created equal. In some cases, a company may want to tailor its travel policy to account for the unique needs of its travelers, from frequent flyers and road warriors to once-a-year travelers.

  • More than half of all business travelers are “Cautious Carls,” but Carls account for only 14 percent of total business travel spend.
  • “High-tech Hannahs” and “Cautious Carls” care more about price than other types of travelers, while “Savvy Sams” and “Jet Setter Jeremys” (who contribute to 46 percent of total business travel spend) are more concerned with comfort and convenience.
  • When it comes to air travel, “Jet Setter Jeremys” consistently spend the most because they are more likely to book at the last minute and opt for premium seats.

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Would you pay $35K for 1 year of unlimited biz class flights from NY to London or Paris?

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

La Compagnie airline

French boutique air carrier, La Compagnie, is betting frequent international business travelers will.  While the most airborne corporate flyers may scoop up these unlimited passes as the deal of the century,  others may be better off scouring for more traditional deals.

According to a CNBC report, the airline is looking to collect $350,000 in revenue on the idea that $673 a week is a great deal for New York-area travelers making numerous round-trip flights to London or Paris, which can easily cost in the thousands of dollars.

As part of the CNBC interview, La Compagnie CEO, Frantz Yvelin said $35,000 for unlimited travel is an offer too good for some frequent flyers to pass up.

“The demand is there,” he said. “When we started our load factor [the percentage of seats filled on a plane] was 30 percent. These days we are oscillating between 70 percent and 90 percent load factor.”

Read the full story and watch the video interview here.