PLYMOUTH, MN – Travel Leaders Group released its latest survey data specific to its business travelers, where more than one in 10 participating corporate travel agent specialists indicated they have handled a “Duty of Care” situation involving a business traveler – and the top three circumstances where clients required assistance were airline emergencies, civil unrest in international countries, and snowstorms. Additional findings from the survey revealed a significant increase in one segment of the “sharing economy” – alternative ground transportation – and a plurality of respondents have said that their business travel bookings are up over one year ago.
“While we always hope for no situations that require our corporate travel agents to deploy ‘Duty of Care’ assistance on behalf of their travelers, that’s simply not realistic,” noted Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko, CTC. “What’s most important is the safety and well-being of our clients. We are partners, working together to minimize any potential issues and handle anything that may inhibit business travelers from safely meeting their goals and objectives.”
Duty of Care
The concept of “Duty of care” has grown considerably in recent years with regard to business travel management. In this survey, when asked “Have you ever been involved with a ‘Duty of Care’ situation for one of your business travel clients?” 11.3% of Travel Leaders Group’s business-focused travel agents responded affirmatively.
The Top 5 situations that required these business travel agents to assist their clients included:
1 Airline emergency
2 (tie) Civil unrest in an international country
2 (tie) Snowstorm
4 Terrorist incident
Hotel Bookings for Business Travel
• When asked “What percentage of your business travel clients add a hotel reservation to their travel itinerary?” nearly 70% (69.5%) of Travel Leaders Group agents reported that more than half of their clients request a hotel booking in addition to their airline reservation; while 20.7% stated that between 21-50% of their business travel clients require a hotel booking in addition to their airfare.
• When asked “Which hotel category would you say the majority of your business travel clients book?” 70.0% of Travel Leaders Group agents stated the “Luxury” and “Upper Upscale” categories, while 27.7% indicate “Upscale” and “Upper Midscale” categories.
Car Rentals for Business Travel
• When asked “What percentage of your business travel clients add a car rental reservation to their travel itinerary?” 39.6% of Travel Leaders Group agents reported that more than half of their clients request a car rental in addition to their airline reservation; while 36.7% stated that between 21-50% of their business travel clients require a rental car in addition to their airfare.
With increased options for business travelers in both accommodations and ground transportation, Travel Leaders Group’s business travel agents provided insights into how many clients take advantage of these shared services.
• When asked, “What percentage of your business travel clients are using an alternative supplier for their accommodations?” the responses were:
Fall 2016 Fall 2015
0% of my clients 55.4% 55.6%
1-10% of my clients 34.1% 29.6%
11% or more of my clients 10.5% 14.8%
• When asked, “What percentage of your business travel clients are using an alternative supplier for their ground transportation?” the responses were:
Fall 2016 Fall 2015
0% of my clients 14.3% 33.8%
1-10% of my clients 31.1% 33.8%
11% or more of my clients 54.6% 32.4%
“As some business travelers embrace alternatives to long-established suppliers, companies must review their travel policies and how they accommodate ‘duty of care’ going forward. While traditional transportation suppliers still command the majority of the market, there is a shift and businesses can’t ignore this trend,” noted Gabe Rizzi, Chief Sales Officer and Head of Travel Leaders Corporate.
“Our commitment as a leading travel management company is to guide our clients through this new frontier and make sure they are accounting for the needs of their travelers while, at the same time, keeping them safe. Additionally, we must provide accurate visibility into their travel data and keep them apprised of savings opportunities which, in turn, deliver real ROI on their travel spend.”
The data on business travel is based on responses from 354 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers and frontline travel agents who indicated that 50% or more of their portfolio is made up of business travelers.