Business Travel Outlook: Travel to Increase in 2014 According to New Frequent Business Traveler Survey

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AIRLINE PREFERENCES

charts01.001Despite the many delays and cancellations, air travel remains a huge part of business travel.   Once again, it came as no surprise that well over 90% of frequent business travelers prefer to fly with a particular airline or alliance. The preferences are so strong that 75% of those surveyed said that they would choose to fly with their preferred airline or alliance even if the flights were not as convenient as those on a different airline.

However, regarding the in-flight experience of those who have a preferred airline, only about 25% said that their experience was consistent within that airline or alliance regardless of the flight.  A clear majority found that their experience on different flights within the same airline or alliance ranged from having some differences to varying greatly.

The number of survey respondents who said they were members of a frequent flyer program was virtually unchanged at 98.7%.  Of these, 75% were members of two to five frequent flyer programs, and almost 14% were members of six or more.

Peeves and annoyances about air travel remained unchanged from last year.  At the top of the list was insufficient space for carry-on bags, with poor in-flight service a close second.  Security checkpoint delays was number three, flight delays number four, and cramped seating rounded out the list at number five.

TECHNOLOGY PREFERENCES

Much has changed in the past 12 months.  Flyers no longer have to turn off portable electronic devices during taxi, takeoff, and landing, and more airplanes than ever provide Wi-Fi Internet access.

Travelers expect good connectivity and they take Internet access into consideration when planning hotel stays and, to a lesser extent, airline flights.  An increasing number, almost eight in ten respondents, indicated that complimentary Wi-Fi is important to them and influences their decision of which hotel to stay at, while eight out of ten flyers say that availability of Wi-Fi on a flight is not something that influences a ticket purchase.

The number of users who say they regularly use in-flight Wi-Fi declined to 38% this year from 60% last year, even though the number of planes that offer Wi-Fi increased dramatically.  The price of in-flight Wi-Fi has somewhat increased in the past year but it is not clear that this was the cause.

WELLNESS

One of the greatest challenges travelers face is staying fit and making healthy eating decisions while on the road.  Similar to last year, about 45% of those surveyed said that they typically use a hotel’s gym or fitness facilities and 20% once again said that the quality and size of the facilities influence their choice when booking a hotel.  In addition, 85% (up from 83% last year) stated that they eat breakfast (the most important meal of the day) while traveling.

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