GetThere announced the results of the 11th annual GetThere Corporate Travel Benchmark Survey. The survey revealed that while business travel is increasing, corporations are still heavily focused on reducing travel expenses.
While 2010 saw signs of recovery for corporate travel programs, in 2011 the industry should see a greater increase in business travel, according to the survey results. The report reveals that 61 percent of respondents expect their travel budgets to increase up to ten percent in 2011 and nearly a third expect their travel budgets to increase up to five percent. Yet corporations continue to drive down travel costs by achieving higher adoption rates of online travel booking tools.
“Even though the economy is rebounding and business travel is growing, corporations are using the lessons learned during the recession to continue to push for cost savings in their travel programs,” explains Suzanne Neufang, general manager of GetThere.“Online adoption rates continue to rise in every region, representing significant savings for corporations.”
Average online adoption rates increased for the tenth consecutive year. In North America, responding companies reported an average of 78 percent online adoption in 2010, up one percentage point from 2009, and GetThere’s top 10 performing customers reported an average high of 95 percent online adoption. GetThere’s online adoption remains well above the industry average of 51 percent, according to PhoCusWright’s U.S. Travel Distribution 2009 Report.
As a result of higher online adoption rates, respondents reported the following savings:
– An average savings of 70 percent on agency fees
– An average savings of 18 percent and 24 percent on domestic and international airfares, respectively
– An average savings of 12 percent and 31 percent on domestic and international hotel rates, respectively.
– Average rental car rental savings were 4 percent domestically and 18 percent internationally
Corporations Wrap Ancillary Fees into Travel Policies
In 2011, more corporations are addressing ancillary fees in their travel policies as airlines continue to introduce extra fees. In general, most companies are reimbursing travelers for their first checked bag. However, the survey showed a 16 percentage point drop in companies that reimburse travelers for a second bag. Companies reimbursing for on-board food and beverage and Wi-Fi increased by 13 and 20 percentage points, respectively.
“Ancillary fees are here to stay and corporations are developing smart, thoughtful travel policies for these extras that maximize travel budgets and meet employees’ needs while on the road. On-board Wi-Fi is clearly viewed as a valuable productivity tool by more and more corporate travel managers,” said Neufang.
Mobile Space Continues Growth in Meeting Traveler Needs
As corporations continue looking for new technologies and methods to save time and money when it comes to travel programs, mobile tools are invaluable. The mobile space continues to be a growth space for the travel industry, and for the second straight year, respondents ranked obtaining flight information as the most important feature of a mobile solution, while booking flights and hotels ranked second and third, respectively.