Business travelers spending more and paying for extras

Two recent business travel insights were shared by AP Voice.

1) Increase in global business travel spending

Last month, the Global Business Travel Association revealed that global business travel spending reached $1.33 trillion in 2017, a 5.8 percent increase from 2016 and the association forecasts a 7.1 percent increase in 2018 with total global spend to hit $1.7 trillion by 2022. The GBTA is hailing this as a potential end to the “Era of Uncertainty” following the start of the financial crisis in 2008. By comparison, the “Era of Uncertainty” saw moderate growth in business travel spending, roughly in the 3-5 percent range annually since 2012. The two-year period spanning 2017-2018 is projected to be the strongest two-year period for business travel since the initial recovery from the financial crisis in 2010 and 2011.

The fastest growing business travel markets are India and Indonesia followed by Scandinavia (in particular, Sweden and Norway) and then China. In terms of size, China remains the world’s largest business travel market and GBTA predicts that it will continue to distance itself from the rest of the world. On the flip side, the U.S. business travel market, formerly the world’s largest market, is projected to grow slightly below the global average over the next five years at 3.9 percent. This is consistent with all the other trends we’ve seen that speak to the rise of the Asian market for both business and leisure travel.

Here is a breakdown of the top markets for 2017.

2) Business travelers are happy to pay for own extras

Travelport, a travel commerce platform provider, also released last month the results of its survey of US business travelers, which we think are very relevant for and applicable to business travelers in the UK and Western Europe who typically have similar purchasing and decision-making habits.

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We were a bit surprised to read that 55 percent of business travelers will pay out of their own pocket for upgrades on items such as airline seats, hotel or hotel room, WI-FI and rental cars. However, with 22-37 year-olds comprising 57 percent of the those surveyed overall and with all that we know of Millenials and their spending behaviors, it’s then not as much of a surprise that this age group is happy to spend their own money on enhancing their on-the-job travel experience.

In today’s global business environment, you might think that travel is seen as a part of the job and that many business travelers would prefer to travel less and spend more time at home. But, a significant majority of US travelers (83 percent) actually sees it as a perk of the job, with 40 percent saying that they would like to work for a company that asks them to travel even more frequently than they already do.

Independent hoteliers will be thrilled to know that corporate travel budgets are on the up (which links back to the GBTA research on the increase in business travel spend). Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed by Travelport say their 2018 business travel budget is larger than their 2017 travel budget.

Another useful insight is that 70 percent of business travelers are willing to give up their personal data to sellers of products and services if that means they will receive personalized ads based on their previous online browsing history or their previous travel purchases. Again, this comes as no shock given the increased desire by consumers for more tailored and personalized communications.

Amistad Partners helps independent hotels understand their customers to craft sales and marketing strategies that deliver growth. Our friendly team is happy to speak with you about how we can help you attract more business travelers.

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