Travel Leaders Corporate released travel data for its corporate clients’ fourth quarter and yearly business travel bookings that indicates a slight shift away from last-minute travel and a significant cost savings in airfare when booking in advance of the travel date. Clients booking domestic airline tickets 14 or more days in advance of their trip saved nearly 23 percent over those booking less than seven days in advance, and savings were 18 percent more than those booking seven to 13 days in advance. Travel Leaders Corporate is a division of Travel Leaders Group, the travel management company.
“We’re seeing a shift in business travelers’ booking behavior,” said Travel Leaders Corporate President David Holyoke. “We’ve been able to demonstrate to our clients that they can save significantly on travel expenses by booking their airfare in advance. In fact, since 2010, we have seen a 10 percent increase in travelers booking 14 or more days prior to their trip. During the same time period, the number of transactions where clients booked less than six days in advance went down 8 percent.
Travel Leaders Corporate also found that in 2012, the number of its clients booking their airfare more than 21 days prior to their trip increased 4 percent over 2011 and is up 7 percent since 2010. In 2012, 77 percent of all airline reservations were booked seven or more days in advance and 52 percent of tickets were booked 14 days or more prior to departure.
In addition, Travel Leaders Corporate found that the average total cost of a domestic business trip, including combined air, car, and hotel costs, decreased for consecutive quarters for the first time since 2010. The average domestic trip cost for Travel Leaders Corporate’s clients was $928 in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to $933 in the third quarter of last year. Clients paid $981 in the second quarter and $954 in the first quarter.
Meanwhile, the average cost of an international trip, including combined air, car, and hotel costs, decreased for the third straight quarter to the second lowest dollar number since the first quarter of 2010. Clients paid $2,430 on average for international trips in the fourth quarter of 2012. That’s down nearly 8 percent when compared to the first quarter of 2012 when the average trip cost was $2,613. The average trips cost was $2,552 in the second quarter and $2,438 in the third quarter of 2012.
When breaking down the various components of a business traveler’s trip, Travel Leaders Corporate’s data indicates the following: The average cost of an international airline ticket decreased nearly 6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 as compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. The average cost of a domestic airline ticket increased nearly 3 percent during the same time period.
In addition, the average cost per day of a domestic car rental decreased roughly 4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 as compared to the fourth quarter of 2011, while the average cost per rental was down less than 1 percent during the same time period. The average cost per night of a domestic hotel room was down less than 1 percent when comparing the fourth quarter of 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2011. In contrast, the average cost per night of an international hotel room increased nearly 6 percent during the same time period.