Orbitz for Business May Travel Survey
This month, Orbitz for Business teamed with Business Traveler Magazine to conduct their monthly survey on up to the minute travel trends in the business world. As usual, the results of the survey are no surprise. Orbitz always nails the right questions to ask at the time.
These days, the majority of business travelers surveyed are opting for less expensive/lower star-rated hotels to save on travel costs. If this trend continues, I wonder how long it will be until the pricier chains start feeling the pinch and lowering costs or stop nickeling and diming guests to death with charges for everything from Wi-Fi to breakfast. 68% of travelers surveyed responded in the affirmative.
A whopping 79% of business travelers and corporate travel managers, are being pressured to cut travel expenses. I can’t even imagine how insane my former sales employer would be at this point. As a small-ish business, they felt the pinch quite a while ago and eliminated their entire outside sales staff. Business travelers employed by smaller companies have been under this type of pressure for some time. You can only cut costs so much, while staying productive on the road. Businesses need to understand there is a balance between cutting costs and destroying morale. If the front line employees are forced to travel in conditions much worse than they are accustomed to, there will likely be a decline in productivity.
The good news is that while travelers are traveling differently, most companies (60%) are conducting as much or more business travel this year than last. However, 25% of those are doing single day trips – flying in and out the same day. Trade shows are taking a hit with 44% of respondents reporting they will attend fewer trade shows this year or their company will send fewer employees to the event.
“This report reinforces what we’ve been hearing from our customers: Most clients aren’t cutting back on travel, rather, they continue to look for ways to become more cost effective with their managed travel programs in a cost-conscious economy,” said Dean Sivley, senior vice president and COO, Orbitz for Business. “It’s our mission to give businesses and business travelers the tools, resources and strategic direction they need to manage an efficient travel program during these challenging times.”
How are companies cutting back?
* 41% are tightening travel policies and implementing more restrictions on travelers for hotels and dining
* 47% of those surveyed indicate changes to their company’s rental car policy, including requiring employees to rent smaller/less expensive cars (38%) and return vehicles with a full tank of gas to avoid costly surcharges (20%)
* 42% are exploring alternatives to travel, including video/web conferencing
* 33% of respondents, are urging more travelers to use an online booking tool (which I’m sure Orbitz for Business is happy about)
*67% of respondents are more likely to stay at a less expensive hotel if it offers amenities like free Wi-Fi and/or continental breakfast, over a more luxurious hotel that does not offer these perks. That’s a lot of travelers!
* 32% say the area in which they are most limiting or keeping an eye on spending is air.
* 17% of those surveyed say their company’s per diem spending for meals has decreased in the past year
Business travelers are still going places in the United States, but international travel has taken a hit. One third those surveyed say their companies are now doing less international travel as a way to save. Of those who do travel abroad, 56% say they are still allowed to fly business class for long-haul flights. Of the 44% who can not, 10% say their company policy has changed in the past year.
This survey was conducted online from 5/15/08 through 5/23/08, through a MarketTools survey of 610 Business Traveler Magazine subscribers.