Orbitz Examines the Issues which Shaped the Corporate Travel Industry in 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008: The Orbitz for Business/Business Traveler Magazine Quarterly Trend Report has examined the issues which have shaped the corporate travel industry this past year, while also collecting insights into what some business travellers expect in 2009.
2008: A Year in Review
The Orbitz report found that a large majority of businesses were approaching travel more creatively throughout 2008 in order to trim associated costs.
"In 2008, our survey revealed an emerging trend of business travellers changing their behaviors in light of the recession, travelling differently by becoming more cost conscious," said Dean Sivley, Senior Vice President and COO, Orbitz for Business.
"We can expect corporate travel managers to exert continued pressure on employees with travel policies focused on cost savings, like booking flights farther in advance, staying in lower class hotels and renting fuel efficient vehicles."
In the fourth quarter 2008 a majority (51 percent) of respondents said they have scaled back but are still travelling, while 39 percent say they are keeping up their usual pace of travel.
Just 6% of respondents´ companies have implemented a freeze on travel while 4 percent are travelling more.
50% of respondents said they had tried videoconferencing as an alternative to travel in 2008, however, an overwhelming majority, (85 percent) said they didn´t feel it was or ever would be as productive as an in-person meeting, with just 1% responding that it is or would be more productive.
A 2007 Orbitz for Business study found that 24 percent of business traveller respondents have had to share a hotel room, either as a practice or on occasion, when travelling on business.? In 2008, this figure has dropped to just 14 percent who say they share hotel rooms with co-workers or colleagues.
56 percent of travellers say that location is the most important criteria when selecting a hotel for business travel, with 25 percent responding that price is the main motivation and 15 percent rate brand as the deciding factor.
In response to airline capacity cuts, many of which have been implemented in the latter half of 2008, the report revealed the following changes in traveller behavior:
· 47 percent now book further in advance whenever possible
· 43 percent are now more price conscious and concerned about having to pay higher airfares
· 17 percent say their companies have taken measures to discourage last-minute bookings
· 11 percent are choosing to drive to their destination more frequently rather than fly
A Look Ahead to 2009
Looking to the year ahead, a majority of business travellers surveyed, 55 percent, say they are planning to travel as much or more than they did in 2008.
The report also explored the extent to which professionals feel travelling to conduct business in-person makes them successful.
76% of respondents believed that travel frequency was important in maintaining overall productivity and business success, with 16% labeling travel frequency as “critical”.
The big picture for 2008 revealed that the majority of respondents planned to tighten corporate travel policies as a means to control or curtail travel expenditures.
In fact, some companies have already implemented new policies for 2009 to account for new fee structures being rolled out by suppliers i.e some airlines are now charging, or plan to charge more for an aisle or window seat.