Business travel is expected to increase during 2014 – and that’s according to road warriors and travel agents specializing in business travel.
As part of its comprehensive 2014 Travel Trends Survey, Travel Leaders asked its front-line business travel agents what their clients are saying about trends for the New Year.
When asked how business travel during 2014 will compare to 2013 based on client feedback and actual bookings:
- 5.4% of agents responded that it will be significantly more
- 33% said somewhat more
- 39.4% said business it will be about the same
- Only 5.7% predict it will be less
Travel agents were also asked about the concerns business travelers expect to have during 2014. The top six answers followed.
1. Flight Delays. Travel delays can wreak havoc on a tight schedule of client visits and meetings. Fortunately, business travel professionals easily help their clients search for alternatives to delayed flights, which may get them to their destinations sooner.
2. Limited airline seat availability. For the past several years, airlines have been cutting the number of daily flights, as well as entire routes. As a result, it can be challenging to find an available seat, especially when traveling on short notice. A business travel professional can help by researching alternate airlines and flights, and even alternate airports.
3. Earning frequent flyer or loyalty points. Some airlines have tightened up the availability of frequent flyer points during the past year or two, but business travel agents can provide advice on earning maximum points – and, using them for maximum rewards. Travel professionals also work to ensure those loyalty numbers are included in itineraries so that upgrades for the most frequent of travelers can automatically occur.
4. Travel costs. Travel agencies can negotiate discounted rates with airlines, hotels, car rental agencies and more. This helps business travelers contain the cost of travel and focus on maintaining their own customer and supplier relationships.
5. Ease of passing through security. The ability to move through airport security quickly can make all the difference when rushing to catch a flight. More than 75% of Travel Leaders’ business-oriented agents said they have clients who are approved for the TSA Precheck program, which provides an expedited screening process.
6. Making sure someone “has their back.” This role is tailor-made for a travel professional. Business travelers should contact their travel agents whenever they need to change travel reservations or run into unexpected travel difficulties while on the road.
Wifi Business Travel Trends
While it has only been in the past few years that Wi-Fi has been made available on flights and still only on some carriers, over half (59.7%) of you indicated Wi-Fi is either very important or an absolute must have for your business travel clients. Only 4.2% indicated it is not at all important for your clients when flying.
When asked, “How vital is it for your business travel clients to have access to Wi-Fi in their hotel room?” more than nine out of every ten of you (95.1%) stated it is either an absolute necessity or very vital. Only 1% indicated that Wi-Fi in your business travelers’ hotel rooms are “not all that vital.”
When asked, If your business travel clients have to pay for Internet access in their hotel room, what would you say is their limit in terms of daily cost? the top response from you was: Only if it is $10.99 or less per day (37.10%), followed by $11 – $15 per day (29.1%).