Business Travel: 2017 Trends for Business Travel Leaders Group
Business travel is poised to take off in 2017, with prospects for growth showing a marked increase over last year, according to a new nationwide survey of travel professionals.
In Travel Leaders Group’s latest 2017 Business Travel Trends Survey, 86% of its business-focused travel agents expect corporate travel bookings to remain as high, or higher, than the same time last year. That includes 32% who say they expect corporate travel bookings to increase in 2017, and 54% who expect them to remain on par with 2016. Only one in seven surveyed expect a decline in business travel.
When asked about the biggest concerns of business travelers, the agents’ top responses were delayed flights, 73.2%; limited airline seat availability, 43.8%; earning frequent flyer/loyalty points, 41%; ease of passing through security, 31.4%; travel costs, 18.7%; and making sure someone “has their back,” and missing connecting flights are tied with 16.5%. The first four concerns are the same as in 2016, although the percentages have shifted. The concern over delayed flights dropped 6 percent, while security concerns were down about 3 percent. Meanwhile, concern has increased from 2016 over seat availability and frequent flyer/loyalty points.
This year, Travel Leaders asked its agents a follow-up question about which concerns they are most able to address or mitigate for business travel clients. Agents could pick up to three and the top responses were: delayed flights, 48.6%; making sure someone has their back, 39.2%; earning frequent flyer/loyalty points, 32.3%; limited airline seat availability, 28.7%; travel costs, 25.1%; and missed connecting flights, 22.2%.
Business travelers have enough on their plate without worrying about getting to their destination on time and back home again. Their primary focus is, of course, the work that has sent them on the road in the first place. The focus of corporate travel specialists is to make sure the travel part goes smoothly and fits within a company’s budget.
Over the years, agents who specialize in business travel have developed relationships with suppliers such as airlines, hotel chains, and rental-car companies. They also know frequent flyer and loyalty programs inside out. That level of expertise is vital at a time when business travelers are concerned about limited seats on flights and containing costs.
Most importantly, agents have a business traveler’s back while he or she is on the road. That helps reduce stress for travelers and allows them to focus on the job at hand. The peace of mind that comes from knowing there’s someone to call 24/7 is indispensable, both for the employee and employer.
For example, if a flight is delayed, a corporate travel specialist will act quickly on behalf of their clients to arrange a new flight or connection that will get them to their destination or back home again. They work with airlines and flight schedules every day, giving them a level of knowledge that’s invaluable.
For help planning a business trip across the country or around the world, contact Travel Leaders COS at 800-273-0793 or info@TravelLeadersCOS.com.