Caitlin Storhaug
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September 12, 2006
Business Travelers Want to See Prices, View Accommodations and Redeem Miles When Booking Travel Online, Accenture Survey Finds

Business travelers willing to share personal information to get better service, perks

NEW YORK; Sept., 12, 2006 – Business travelers book more trips online than ever before and look for sites where they can easily determine the total price of travel booked, according to a survey released today by Accenture.

More than three-quarters (83 percent) of the nearly 800 U.S. business travelers surveyed said the most important feature an online travel site can provide is the ability to see the total price, including taxes and fees, at the time of purchase.

More than half (58 percent) of respondents said being able to redeem points or miles for travel was an important feature of a travel site, and 56 percent said they want to see pictures of hotel accommodations online, rather than simply read descriptions of them.

“Booking business travel has moved online and sites must provide capabilities beyond rate shopping and managing reservations, which are just the table stakes now,” said Paul Chiu, managing partner, Accenture’s Transportation & Travel Services practice. “While still relatively new, some sites are looking ahead and are deploying the next set of capabilities, including destination itinerary planning, additional customer preference capture and individualized promotions.”

Personal recognition
According to the survey, business travelers are willing to provide additional personal information in order to get better service from their travel suppliers. The survey found many respondents would be willing to provide hotels with personal information in return for better, more customized service. While 77 percent would be willing to share their smoking status, many are “very likely to extremely likely” to share information regarding age (48 percent), marital status (48 percent), number of children (47 percent), favorite foods (53 percent), favorite sports (49 percent) and leisure activities (56 percent).

In return for sharing such information, business travelers surveyed said they would like to receive several traditional perks, including preferred seating or upgrades, discounts and cash back from hotels and airlines. In addition, 63 percent of respondents indicated they would be willing to provide additional personal information in exchange for targeted promotions.

“Travelers are willing to share preference information but expect the airline, lodging company or rental car firm to use that information to improve service,” said Chiu. “Business travelers are also open to receiving promotions relevant to their hobbies, interests and lifestyle. To differentiate themselves from the generic promotion campaigns that typify the industry today, travel suppliers should consider teaming with complimentary vendors like local restaurants and attractions to create promotions targeted at the specific interests of the frequent traveler.”

Other business travel survey findings include:

Methodology
The web-based survey of 794 U.S. business travelers who traveled more than 300 miles in the last six months was fielded in July and August 2006.

About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With deep industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills and technologies to help clients improve their performance. With more than 133,000 people in 48 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$15.55 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2005. Its home page is www.accenture.com.

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