2017 Business Trends Survey from Travel Leaders Group Forecasts Steady Growth for Corporate Travel

Survey reveals business travelers concerned with flight delays, airplane seating

Plymouth, MN (December 21, 2016) – Today, Travel Leaders Group – North America’s largest traditional travel agency company with nearly $21 billion in annual sales volume – revealed the results of its 2017 Business Travel Trends Survey, which indicates that there is no slowing down for business travel. According to the survey, 86% of Travel Leaders Group’s business travel-focused agents are reporting that they expect bookings to remain as high or higher than the same time last year. The participating travel agents also noted that while business travelers’ top concerns are travel logistics, ranging from delayed or canceled flights to limited air seating, they have the expertise in mitigating them.

“Business travel is a vital engine not only for the travel industry, but particularly for the American economy. When business travel is up, it demonstrates a higher degree of confidence in our economic system,” said Ninan Chacko, CTC, Travel Leaders Group CEO. “The responses from the survey clearly show that although business travelers have well-founded concerns, including late and canceled flights, our exceptional agents are skilled at minimizing the impact their travelers face.”

Conducted from November 17 to December 9, 2016, the Business Travel Trends survey collected responses from 541 Travel Leaders Group travel agent experts throughout the United States whose portfolio consists of 50% or more business travel clients. (Travel Leaders Group’s 2017 Travel Trends Survey results may be viewed here.)

Anticipated Business Travel in 2017

When Travel Leaders Group’s business travel agents were asked “Comparing your overall 2017 business travel bookings so far to your 2016 business travel bookings at this time last year, which is true?” they said:

2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
Booking levels will increase 32.0% 36.6% 45.5% 38.4% 38.7% 34.5%
Booking levels will remain on par 54.0% 40.2% 34.0% 39.4% 40.8% 42.2%
Booking levels will decline 14.0% 6.6% 4.9% 5.7% 9.8% 4.7%

Top Business Travel Concerns

When asked, “What are the top 3 concerns for your business travelers?” agents said:

2017 2016 2015 2014
Delayed flights 73.2% 78.7% 68.5% 70.1%
Limited airline seat availability 43.8% 38.3% 42.0% 46.7%
Earning frequent flyer/loyalty points 41.0% 37.6% 32.9% 37.5%
Ease of passing through security 31.4% 33.8% 33.1% 28.3%

When asked, “Which concerns are you most able to address or mitigate for your business travelers?” the business travel agents were able to name up to three concerns. The top five are:

Delayed flights 48.6%
Making sure someone has their back 39.2%
Earning frequent flyer/loyalty points 32.3%
Limited airline seat availability 28.7%
Travel costs 25.1%

Ancillary Fees for Business Travelers
This year, travel professionals were asked “Which ancillary fees do you most consistently assist your clients in avoiding?” The top five were:
• Hotel fees for cancellations (53.2%)
• Airline fees for changing flights (41.4%)
• Airline fees for seat assignment (39.9%)
• Airline fees for baggage (21.8%)
• Hotel fees for early check-in/late check-in (16.6%)

“Now, more than ever, business travelers need a travel professional on their side,” said Gabe Rizzi, President of Travel Leaders Corporate. “Our travel agents are skilled at resolving issues business travelers routinely face, and they are equipped at alleviating concerns about fees, airline seating and more. Their expertise is crucial to their travelers, positively affecting everything from employee business traveler satisfaction to customer relationships.”

Travel Leaders Group is one of North America’s largest travel companies – encompassing nearly one-third of all travel agents – and generated gross travel sales of approximately $21 billion in 2015. Travel Leaders Group is a leader in  corporate travel, and it consistently ranks as one of the top travel companies nationwide.