Travel Trends for 2013

Survey identifies most frequent ancillary fees; top concerns for business travelers
and MVS (most valuable services) for the coming year.

Travel News for Delta Airlines, Southwest and US Airways

Today, Travel Leaders Group unveiled the top business travel trends for 2013 based on findings from its annual Travel Trends Survey. Nearly 80% of Travel Leaders Group´s business-focused travel agents are forecasting that clients will be traveling as much or more than last year (fewer than 10% of those polled say their clients will be traveling less), which paradoxically may prove to be the reason why the survey data also reveals that cost savings will be the most important factor for business travel clients in 2013.

Conducted November 19 - December 16, 2012, these business travel trends are based on responses from 335 Travel Leaders Group owners, managers and frontline travel experts throughout the United States who identified that 50% or more of their portfolio consists of business travel clients.

"Despite the hype of the fiscal cliff, our travel agents, nationwide, expressed optimism that Congress would come through at the 11th hour – which it did. Over 77% of our business travel experts polled indicated they were optimistic about their business heading into 2013, while another 18% stated they were neutral about the coming year," stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben. - Finding ways to trim costs and save on business travel are still paramount, and business travelers who use a corporate travel management company have a distinct advantage because they can travel more frequently as they contain costs on each individual trip. Among the many services we provide to our business travel clients, our survey data shows the top ones are waivers and favors, assistance with tracking and using nonrefundable tickets, and financial reporting.

The more closely we can work with our clients in following their corporate travel policies, the more beneficial it is to the client´s bottom line.

Anticipated Level of Business Travel in 2013

When Travel Leaders Group business travel experts were 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 2013 compared to 2012?" the results were:

Booking levels will increase
compared to last year
38.7% 34.5% 39.7% 28.6%
Booking levels will remain
on par with last year
40.8% 42.2% 36.3% 38.3%
Booking levels will decline
compared to last year
9.8% 4.7%7.8% 11.9%
*The totals do not add up to 100%. The remaining experts polled stated unknown.


Ancillary Fees for Business Travelers

Because ancillary fees are a growing trend throughout the travel industry, Travel Leaders Group business travel experts were asked, "Please choose the most frequently charged Ancillary Fees your business travel clients encounter." Agents could select multiple answers. Here are the Top 10 responses:

  1. Airline fees for changing flights 85.1%
  2. Airline fees for baggage 71.6%
  3. Airline fees for seat assignments (upgrade and/or premium seat) 61.5%
  4. Hotel fees for parking 37.9%
  5. Hotel fee for Internet 36.1%
  6. Car rental fees for one-way rental drop-offs 33.1%
  7. Hotel “resort” fee 32.5%
  8. Airline fees for Internet 25.4%
  9. Car rental fees for gas 17.3%
  10. Airline fees for food 15.2%

Top Concerns for Business Travelers

When asked, "What are the top concerns for your business travelers?" the following were the Top 5 selected (agents could chose multiple responses).

  1. Delayed flights 89.3%
  2. Limited airline seat availability 72.8%
  3. Ease of passing through security 51.0%
  4. Earning frequent flyer/loyalty points 49.9%
  5. Missed connecting flights 49.0%

Most Valuable Services for Business Travelers

There are many advantages for companies and travelers who use a dedicated corporate travel management company to assist with their business travel needs. Travel Leaders Group business travel experts were asked, "Which of the following services will be most valuable to your clients in 2013?" Those polled could choose up to three responses.

  1. Waivers and favors 72.2%
  2. Tracking and using nonrefundable tickets 66.0%
  3. Financial reporting 38.8%
  4. Managing negotiated supplier programs which include earned tickets 32.5%
  5. Providing Mobile App technology 20.9%

Notable business travel trends:

  • When asked, "Which of the following will be most important to your business travel clients in 2013?" the top three responses were: Cost Savings (42.1%), Cost Control (33.7%), and Flexible Booking Options for air/car/hotel (13.4%).
  • Most and Least Expensive Days for Hotel Bookings and Car Rentals: Monday appears to be the most expensive day for business travelers for both hotel reservations and car rentals. Nearly 51% of Travel Leaders Group business travel experts stated Monday is typically the most expensive for hotel bookings and 60.8% stated it is most expensive when renting a car for their business travelers. The least expensive days were Tuesday for hotel bookings and Saturday for car rentals.
  • When asked, "What time of the day do business travel clients most prefer as their departure time for air travel to get to their destination?” a full 63% stated “Before 9:00 a.m." and 33.1% said "9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m."
  • When asked, "What time of the day do your business travel clients most prefer as their departure time for air travel to return home from a business trip?" 69% of Travel Leaders Group business travel experts stated "3:00 – 6:00 p.m." while 15.2% said "12:00 – 3:00 p.m."

These business trends are part of a comprehensive travel trends survey which included responses from 1,045 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers and frontline travel agents from the flagship Travel Leaders brand, along with those affiliated with Travel Leaders Group´s Luxury Travel Network, Nexion, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders Corporate, Tzell Travel Group and units. To view the results from the 2013 Travel Leaders Travel Trends Survey, click here.