New GBTA Study Finds Surprising Insights Into Booking Behaviors of Business Travelers
Baby-Boomer and Millennial Booking Habits Differ Greatly
ALEXANDRIA, VA – September 24, 2015 – Business travelers have diverse priorities when booking hotels and two of the top three rated factors focus on the outcome of the booking rather than the process, according to new research from the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). Surprisingly, 56 percent of business travelers rank “finding the right price” among their top three booking priorities showing they may be receptive to travel buyers’ efforts to convince them to book using methods that yield the greatest savings.
The study, Booking Behaviors: Helping Business Travelers Book Smarter, conducted in partnership with Carlson Wagonlit Travel, surveyed more than 500 North American business travelers. The study examined how travelers make bookings for business trips with a focus on hotel bookings revealing differences between types of travelers based on their age and the size of their organization.
Employees from large organizations were more likely to use a corporate online booking tool (OBT) than those at smaller organizations who are more likely not to have OBTs. When it comes tobooking through alternative channels for hotel accommodations, 54 percent used a direct channel, 41 percent used a third-party website and 5 percent used an event registration site. Interestingly, 42 percent who used an alternative channel said they are not required to share their travel information with their company. This hampers a travel buyers’ ability to monitor and enforce policy compliance and also means they may not be able to locate their traveler in an emergency.
“In identifying the booking habits of business travelers, the study revealed several ways companies can improve their travel policies,” said Joseph Bates, GBTA Foundation vice president of research. “By meeting traveler expectations with corporate booking tools, travel buyers can encourage travelers to stay within the system and not seek out alternative methods. Travel buyers also have an opportunity to influence what travel apps are downloaded and used bringing consistency to the use of travel apps within their travel programs.”
“CWT is pleased to sponsor the excellent research conducted by GBTA and this year’s ‘Buyer Behavior’s Study’ is a great example of the insightful, deeply researched content we have come to expect,” said Ben Scott, Vice President of Americas Marketing for CWT. “There are many surprises in the data. One of the major surprises in the research is adaption of technology. Another is the rate of direct booking.”
Additional Key Findings
• Four in ten (39 percent) business travelers have used a smart phone to book a hotel for a business trip in the past six months compared to 58 percent using laptops and 43 percent using desktop computers. Only 25 percent have used a tablet while almost half (47 percent) have booked hotel accommodations for a business trip using at least two of the devices listed.
• Millennials book their own trip less often than older travelers. When they did book their own trip, Millennials also communicated more often with others, such as a hotel representative or travel counselor, prior to booking. This is surprising given Millennials reputation as a tech-savvy generation accustomed to having choices, but may also reflect their inexperience traveling for business.
• While smart phones are practically universal among business travelers, adoption of travel apps is not. Less than half of the business travelers surveyed have downloaded airline, hotel, travel reservation or general travel apps. Both Millennials and Gen-X travelers are more likely than Baby Boomers to have downloaded each of four types of travel apps (hotel, travel reservation, general travel and review) on their smart phones. Millennials and Gen-X travelers have similar adoption rates with the exception of ground transportation apps, downloaded by Millennials at a higher rate
• When it comes to how the apps are used, Millennials are more likely than Baby Boomers to use apps for booking hotels, hotel check-in, booking car rentals, checking reviews and online translation. Gen-X travelers are more likely than Baby Boomers to use travel apps for navigation, hotel check-in, tracking expenses, booking car rentals and online translation.
This study is based on an online survey conducted of business travelers (including those from companies that both have and do not have managed travel programs) in the United States and Canada. The survey was conducted by the GBTA Foundation using a business travel panel from the company Lightspeed GMI. Fielding took place in April 2015. Respondents qualified if they were employed (full-time or part-time) and had traveled at least once for business in the past year. 521 respondents completed at least one question in the survey.
GBTA will be hosting a webinar on October 20 at 2pm (ET) to further discuss this study and its findings. Learn more and register now.
The study, Booking Behaviors: Helping Business Travelers Book Smarter, is available exclusively to GBTA members by clicking here and non-members may purchase the report through the GBTA Foundation by emailing [email protected]
CONTACT: Colleen Gallagher, +1 703-236-1133, [email protected]
CWT is a global leader specialized in managing business travel and meetings and events. CWT serves companies, government institutions and non-governmental organizations of all sizes in more than 150 countries and territories. By leveraging both the expertise of its people and leading-edge technology, CWT helps clients derive the greatest value from their travel program in terms of savings, service, security and sustainability. The company is also committed to providing best-in-class service and assistance to travelers. For more information about CWT, please visit our global website at www.carlsonwagonlit.com. Follow us on Twitter @CarlsonWagonlit.
About the GBTA Foundation
The GBTA Foundation is the education and research foundation of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the world’s premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. Collectively, GBTA’s 7,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA provides its growing network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts with world-class education, events, research, advocacy and media. The Foundation was established in 1997 to support GBTA’s members and the industry as a whole. As the leading education and research foundation in the business travel industry, the GBTA Foundation seeks to fund initiatives to advance the business travel profession. The GBTA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, see www.gbta.org and www.gbta.org/foundation.
About the Global Business Travel Association
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world’s premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. GBTA’s 9,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA and the GBTA Foundation deliver world-class education, events, research, advocacy and media to a growing global network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts. To learn how business travel drives lasting business growth, gbta.org