Business travel

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Travel Tech

Travel companies and tourist boards all over the world will be keenly assessing the results of a new report released by Amadeus. The transaction processor for the global travel and tourism industry has recently released its annual insights report entitled “Amadeus Business Travel Insights: Business travel gets personal.” And the publication is full of information which will be of interest to all travel-related organisations.

The Amadeus report charts the behaviour and aspirations of business travellers across the length and breadth of the UK. The final report is based on a survey of 400 prominent British and Irish business travellers, and was carried out by the esteemed and authoritative ICM Research.

Positive business travel figures

Perhaps the key finding in this latest edition of the Amadeus report is that the 2013 financial year experienced an increase in business travel from the previous twelve months. The number of trips per person increased somewhat over the same figure in 2012, but more significantly the number of travellers who engaged in one or more business trips doubled between 2011 and 2013.

So it's clear from this simple statistic alone that business travel opportunities grew in 2013, and that this trend will likely continue into the current financial year. So how can travel-related companies appeal to the increased numbers of business travellers?

The Amadeus survey found that personalisation is extremely important to business travellers. The majority of those surveyed by Amadeus expressed the opinion that ancillary services such as extra legroom, dietary requests and extra luggage make them view the company that they’re travelling with favourably.

Additionally, efficiency emerged as a key theme from the report. Over 20% of travellers indicated that obtaining the closest hotel to their meeting is a top priority when travelling, and nearly the same number specified Wi-Fi connectivity as of primary importance.

Travel budgeting a major issue

With companies perhaps feeling the pinch in these austere times, the days of frivolous business trips as a matter of course may be numbered, or even over. Many of those surveyed by Amadeus expressed the concern that corporate travel budgets could affect business in future. Over 10% of those surveyed believe that reduced business travel can either have a negative effect on customer satisfaction, or even result in lost business for the company that they work for.

Travel companies may wish to consider then how they intend to attract business travellers, as it also became clear from the latest Amadeus report that regular business travellers by no means consider it to be a chore. When business travel fits the needs and behaviours of the traveller, the survey clearly displayed that it can be a great asset for companies. Virtually every respondent (96%) stated that they either have no objection or genuinely enjoy travelling for business, and the majority of respondents (55%) indicated that they find business trips interesting.

By contrast, many people involved in the survey reported that recent budget cuts have either made them less willing to travel, or had an impact on their feelings about the business travelling process. Around 20% of respondents indicated that budget cuts either affected their travel plans, or even resulted in them having negative feelings about their employer.

Thus, companies involved in the travel and hospitality industries may wish to consider how they can incentivise companies to engage in productive business travel. Findings from the latest Amadeus report show that not only is this profitable for businesses, but that employees find it genuinely worthwhile as well. With the rosy economic outlook translating into increased business travel, there is no reason why this shouldn't continue to show an upward in the short to medium-term.

Finally, the report also underlined the importance of travel agency advice for business travellers. Over half of the survey respondents indicated that they had at some point been required to change business travel plans, and around 60% of this group indicated that they turned to an agent for help with the amended booking.

Lessons to Learn

Companies in the travel industry can reflect positively on the findings of the Amadeus report, and the trends related to business travel which bode well for its immediate future. It should also be recognised that improving cost effectiveness, value for money and personalised digital services, such as superior Wi-Fi connections, can be key to attracting business travellers.

The full Amadeus report can be read here.

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