Travel Leaders Group 'Cautiously Optimistic' On Business Travel
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The outlook for business travel in 2016 is “cautiously optimistic,” according to a 2016 Business Travel Trends Survey from Travel Leaders Group.
A plurality, 40.2 percent, of travel agents who focus on business travel expect their 2016 corporate travel bookings to remain on par with 2015, while nearly 37 percent expect their bookings to increase year-over-year, the survey found.
Other findings: there have been substantial increases in business travel clients’ who enjoy expedited passage through airport security with TSA Pre Pass. And clients are telling agents their biggest concern are delayed flights—a finding that directly reflects this year’s increased weather disruptions.
The survey, conducted Nov. 17 through Dec. 8, is based on responses from 423 Travel Leaders Group agents throughout the U.S. whose portfolio consists of 50 percent or more business travel clients.
“Almost in spite of headlines forecasting a global recession, the U.S. economy continues to show positive growth, and with that, our outlook for business travel in 2016 remains cautiously optimistic,” said Ninan Chacko, Travel Leaders Group CEO.
“This past year proved to be a challenging one for air travelers as they faced extraordinary flight delays and cancellations. So it is no surprise the top concern agents are hearing from clients focuses on ‘delayed flights.’”
Among the survey’s findings:
When 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 2016 compared to 2015?” agents said:
Booking levels will increase compared to last year
Booking levels will remain on par with last year
Booking levels will decline compared to last year
When asked, “What are the top three concerns for your business travelers?” survey participants said:
Limited airline seat availability
Earning frequent flyer/loyalty points
Ease of passing through security
When asked “What percentage of your business travel clients are approved for TSA Pre Pass 35.6 percent of agents indicate that a majority of their business travel clients are approved for TSA Pre Pass up from just 22.3 percent last year.
When asked to choose, “the most frequently charged Ancillary Fees your business travel clients encounter,” the majority of surveyed agents cited three airline-related fees – for changing flights, gaining seat assignments and checking bags.
As more hotels offer free Wi-Fi, the percentage of agents naming it among the top ancillary fees dropped from 17.7 percent last year to 9.5 percent. Additionally, a growing number of agents said clients are paying hotel “resort fees” and airline Internet fees.
Airline flight change fees
Airline seat assignment fees
Airline baggage fees
Hotel “resort fees”
Airline Internet fees
Hotel Internet fees
Hotel parking fees
Hotel early check-in/late check-out fees
Car rental one-way drop-off fees
Airline food fees
More by Robin Amster
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