LONDON; 8 April 2005 – More than half of business travelers use the Internet as their primary means of arranging their business travel, according to results of a survey released today by Accenture.
The survey of more than 450 business travelers in the United Kingdom found that 53 percent book their business travel primarily online, compared to 47 percent who did so in 2003, when Accenture first fielded the survey. In contrast, only 27 percent of respondents reported that their preferred booking method is by telephone with a live agent, down from 41 percent in 2003. Additionally, 46 percent of respondents say they have used airport kiosks to check in, and almost three-quarters (72 percent) of those who have used kiosks said they did so largely for their convenience.
“We’re witnessing a rapid uptake of technology use among business travelers,” said Alex Christou, a partner in Accenture’s Transportation & Travel Services practice. “Since travelers clearly expect to use IT, travel and hospitality leaders are focusing on using these electronic channels as a means of enhancing both customer service and their bottom line.”
According to the survey, respondents continue to prefer major network carriers for business travel (cited by 55 percent), and they use both major network carriers and low-cost airlines for personal travel (cited by 48 percent and 46 percent, respectively). These numbers have remained constant since last year, when 54 percent said they used major network carriers for business travel and 47 cited low cost carriers as their personal travel preference.
At the same time, however, almost two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents said they expect their use of low-cost air carriers to increase or remain the same over the next six months. In addition, 46 percent said they would increase their usage of low-cost carriers if the carriers offered more of the flights into main airports.
“Major network carriers and hotel companies should be keenly aware that aspects beyond price, such as convenient schedules, are deciding factors for many business travelers,” said Christou. “We continue to see that service and convenience – from the website to the aisle seat to the hotel room – remain top concerns for travelers. Companies that provide convenience, good prices and quality service on a consistent basis can win the lucrative business traveler.”
Other key findings of the survey include:
- Maintenance-related delays are still a problem – More than a third (39 percent) of respondents say they have experienced such delays or cancellations in the past six months, approximately the same as last year, when 38 percent reported these events
- Autos remain the travel method of choice – More than half (52 percent) of business travelers use automobiles as their primary mode of transportation for trips greater than 300 miles. Airplanes, cited by 30 percent of respondents, are their second choice
- Mid-range hotels are making a comeback – More than half of respondents (54 percent) said they use mid-range hotels as their primary accommodation for business travel, compared to 43 percent last year. The use of budget chain hotels has remained relatively constant. This year, 28 percent of respondents identified budget chains as their top choice for accommodations compared with 26 percent of last year’s respondents.
- Location, location…..price for hotels – Respondents ranked a hotel’s price and its proximity to business activity as the top requirements in their choice of accommodation (cited by 42 percent and 31 percent, respectively). Only 19 percent cited the availability of high-speed or wireless internet as a criterion.
A Web-based survey of U.K. business travelers, who traveled more than 300 miles in the last six months, was fielded in February 2005.
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 110,000 people in 48 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$13.67 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2004. Its home page is www.accenture.com.