BTN's annual answer book for business travel managers.
Female business travelers spend less money on airfare—an
average of $17.30, or 2 percent of the average ticket price—according to a CWT
Solutions Group report. That's because they book an average of 1.9 days farther
in advance than men.
CWT examined 6.4 million air transactions that 1.8 million
business travelers booked through the travel management company in 2014. CWT
limited the data set to round-trip routes on which 100 tickets were issued, and
it corrected for city pairs, time of year, point of sale and the traveler's company,
his or her division within the company and the company's travel policy.
AirPlus International found a similar gender gap among its
British customers in 2015. On average, women booked 23.3 days in advance and
men 18.7 days. Almost half of women and 39 percent of men booked more than 14
days in advance. More men, though, flew business class—8.4 percent compared
with 7.4 percent of women—and buckled in for long-haul trips—16 percent
compared with 15.1 percent of women. That added up to an average ticket price of
£562 for female passengers and £623 for men.
According to CWT's report, Gender Differences in Booking
Business Travel, a company of 1,000 travelers would save $48,000 a year if men
booked as far in advance as women, and savings for a traveler base of 21,000
would top $1 million. Here's the math on that company with 1,000 travelers: 700
are likely men, based on the gender breakdown of CWT's sample. An average of
four business trips a year for those male travelers totals 2,800 trips.
Multiply that by the average $17.30 that women save on airfare, and the company
would pocket $48,400 a year.
The obvious culprit would be a greater tendency among women
to obey corporate policies for advance bookings, but CWT checked and found no
such connection. CWT did find that woman are more likely, by 5.4 percentage
points, to book at least two weeks in advance, the typical advance-booking
policy. However, they're also more likely than men to book even farther in
advance: by 4.4 percentage points for more than three weeks in advance and by
3.3 percentage points for more than four weeks.
CWT also noted that travelers' advance-booking windows
decrease the more often they fly. That means the gender gap for advanced
booking is largest among those who book just one or two trips per year, and it
pretty much disappears among road warriors.
Just Give It 40 Years
After four decades, business travelers book an average of
five days earlier, according to CWT: Women ages 25 to 30 booked 20 days in
advance, whereas those 65 to 70 booked 25 days in advance. Men start at 18 days
and finish at 23. "Employee behavior changes with age," said CWT
Solutions Group senior director for data and analytics Catalin Ciobanu.
"As you get more experience, you get better at booking earlier."
Considering, however, that a 65-year-old, all
female workforce isn't feasible, Ciobanu said travel managers should communicate
smart booking practices differently with different demographics.
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