NEW YORK; March 30, 2005 – Almost three-quarters of U.S. 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 550 business travelers in the United States found that 71 percent book their business travel primarily online, a trend that has been increasing in the three years since Accenture began fielding the survey. In contrast, only 22 percent of respondents reported that their preferred booking method is by telephone with a live agent, down from 36 percent in 2003. Additionally, the vast majority (87 percent) of respondents said they have used airport kiosks to check in, and more than two-thirds (69 percent) of those who have used the kiosks said they did so largely for their convenience.
“We’re witnessing a rapid uptake of technology use among business travelers,” said Paul Chiu, 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 electonic channels as a means of enhancing both customer service and their bottom line.”
According to the survey results, over the past year there has been a significant shift away from low-cost carriers and back toward major network carriers for both business and personal travel. More than three-quarters (82 percent) of respondents said they primarily use major carriers for business travel, up from 72 percent last year. Similarly, more than two-thirds (69 percent) reported using major carriers for personal travel this year, compared with 53 percent last year.
At the same time, however, almost three-quarters of respondents (72 percent) said they expect their use of low-cost air carriers to increase or remain the same over the next six months. In addition, 77 percent said they would increase their use of low-cost carriers if the carriers offered more 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 Chiu. “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 still a problem. More than half (52 percent) of respondents said they have experienced maintenance-related delays or cancellations in the past six months, up slightly from 48 percent last year.
- Chicago is the top business destination. Chicago moved to the top of a list of U.S. cities to which business travelers plan to go over the next six months. The other most-frequently visited cities, in descending order are New York, Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Dallas.
- Mid-range hotels are making a comeback. More than three-quarters (81 percent) of respondents said they use mid-range hotels as their primary accommodation for business travel, up from 56 percent last year. In contrast, only 10 percent of respondents said they use budget chain hotels as their primary accommodation, down from 25 percent last year.
- Location, location, location. The greatest number of respondents, 33 percent, ranked proximity to meetings or office as the top requirement in their choice of hotel rooms. Only 15 percent cited the availability of high-speed or wireless internet as one of their main criterion.
A Web-based survey of 553 U.S. business travelers who traveled more than 300 miles in the last six months was fielded in March 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 100,000 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.