ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway
The ups and downs of business travelers carry important weight and vast economic impact in the US. According to a research report published in 2013 by the U.S. Travel Association with research conducted by Oxford Economics, business travel spending by U.S. companies in 2012 generated an estimated $524 billion in business sales, supporting 3.7 million jobs with an annual payroll of $152 billion.
We recently interviewed Jonathan Spira, editorial director at Frequent Business Traveler Magazine and senior managing director at research firm, Accura Media Group, regarding his firm’s 2015 Frequent Business Traveler research report.
Among the key highlights of the report, almost half of business travelers surveyed said they plan on taking more trips in 2015 as compared to 2014, while a similar number said they anticipate taking more trips in 2015 than they did two years ago in 2013.
This translates into a rather significant increase given a business traveler population in the United States that takes over 450 million domestic trips a year.
Spira’s report concludes that loyalty to both airlines and hotels remains largely unchanged over the past three years. In the most recent survey, 75.3% of travelers say they prefer to stay at a particular brand of hotel, an increase of 2.7 percentage points over last year. The number of travelers who prefer to fly with a particular airline or alliance, 92%, remains statistically unchanged over the course of the survey.
Frequent travelers are avid users of technology. Nine out of ten report doing all of the following over a twelve-month period:
- Researched information about flights
- Researched information about hotels
- Made a flight reservation
- Made a hotel reservation
- Checked a flight’s status
Working with popular online travel community, FlyerTalk, more than 1,700 business travelers participated in the study. The outcomes suggest a significant turning point for business travelers, as well as the travel industry. Change is prevalent, from airline mergers to significant changes in airline and hotel loyalty programs, to new imperatives for amenities and services that the business traveler demands.
A complete copy of the 40-page report, 2015 Frequent Business Traveler Business Travel Outlook Report, is available online here.