Accenture Survey of German Business Travelers Predicts Near-Term Growth for Travel Industry

Better Insight into Customers is Critical for the Industry’s Success

FRANKFURT; Nov. 7, 2002 Business travel will likely increase over the coming months, according to an Accenture survey of more than 400 business travelers at Germany-based companies. The majority of the survey respondents (85 percent) said that they expect the amount of their business travel between now and the end of the first quarter of 2003 to equal or exceed that of the past six months. This is compared with 15 percent of respondents who said their business travel will drop.

In addition, the majority of respondents reported that their companies have placed few restrictions on travel. For example, more than half (60 percent) said their companies have not restricted reservation option changes such as business and first-class travel, and 68 percent reported that their companies have not restricted the use of some luxury hotels.

“Despite the fact that the industry is undergoing significant change and transition, we’re seeing some positive indicators that business travel is slowly making a return,” said Guido Haarmann, a partner in Accenture’s Transportation & Travel Services industry group. “However, the recovery in Germany may take longer than in other geographies due to the slow economy.”

Respondents indicated that over the coming months their companies will be evaluating travel options more carefully. The research points to several potential shifts that might alter the outlook of business travel for several industry sectors. For example:

The study also highlighted the importance of the travel industry interacting effectively with its customers. The findings revealed that almost one-half (45 percent) of respondents book their travel online or by calling an airline and/or hotel directly, and more than one-third (37 percent) use an internal travel agency/department at their companies. Only 18 percent use an outside booking agency.

“In the area of business travel, the only low-cost carriers likely to succeed are those that offer attractive point-to-point flights with locations that are easily accessible to business travelers,” said Haarman.

The survey, conducted in August 2002, entailed querying 420 business travelers at Germany-based companies. More than one third of the respondents were from companies with annual revenues of more than US $250 million. The multiple-choice survey was conducted entirely online and has a margin of error of +/- 4%.

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