U.S. business travelers
who work for organizations with managed travel programs but book outside of
policy on average spent $2,881 more per year than did "in-policy" travelers,
according to a survey conducted by Rockbridge Associates for the Global
Business Travel Association and Concur. The research was presented during an Aug. 22 webinar hosted by GBTA.
January and February 2013 surveyed 2,415 business travelers and 342 travel
managers in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany and
Australia. Qualified business travelers had to be employed full-time at a
company with at least 10 employees and a mandated or guideline-based travel
program, and had to have taken at least one business trip of at least 50 miles
in the prior three months and four business trips in the prior year.
The study defined "out-of-policy"
travelers as those who "did not use the company's preferred reservations
tool, chose a higher class or more expensive options that were out of policy
for their company." Of the 869 U.S. business travelers surveyed, about 59
percent met this criteria for at least one major expense on their most recent
trip, according to the presentation.
extrapolated the higher spending levels of these travelers—especially on hotels—across
their average travel time during a full year to generate the $2,881 annual
on their most recent trip spent an average of $232 more on lodging than did in-policy
travelers, based on an average four-night stay, a full day longer than the
average in-policy stay, according to the study. Per night, out-of-policy
travelers on their most recent trip on average spent $210, $58 more than
in-policy travelers. Extrapolated to a full year, this figure on average would
total $2,877 more per out-of-policy traveler than the average in-policy
According to the
survey, 14 percent of travelers who booked outside policy on their most recent
trip stayed at luxury hotels, while 5 percent of in-policy travelers did so.
Conversely, 33 percent of in-policy travelers stayed at what the GBTA
presentation called economy hotels, "such as Courtyard or Hampton Inn,"
while 20 percent of out-of-policy travelers did so.
travelers on average spent $28 more on car rentals on their most recent trip
than did in-policy travelers, which would average a total of $314 more per year,
according to the research.
out-of-policy travelers estimated that they spent $2 less on air and/or rail
tickets on their most recent trip than did in-policy travelers, or $26 less
annually. Yet, out-of-policy travelers more frequently reserved premium-class
seats (20 percent in first class and 48 percent in business class) than did
their in-policy brethren (6 percent in first class and 26 percent in business
class). Data was weighted to reflect similar proportions of domestic and
international travel, according to the presentation. GBTA did not explain why
in-policy travelers spent marginally more on air and rail tickets, but acknowledged
that further research into the matter was needed.
behaving almost the same in terms of cost implications," GBTA vice president
of research Joe Bates said during the webinar.
travelers tended to be "new recruits," "inexperienced travelers
who want to share their adventures," and "enthusiastic travelers who
take technology with them," according to the survey.
According to the presentation,
out-of-policy business travelers (58 percent) are more likely to use mobile
apps "related to business travel when they are on the road" than in-policy
travelers (37 percent). For this reason, GBTA recommended companies "focus
efforts on younger, more tech-savvy travelers" who "are also more
likely to use mobile apps for travel," while also looking for solutions
that reduce travelers' booking time and increase convenience.
tech-savvy travelers are "also the ones who will tell their buddies, 'I
have a new app.' They will help spread the word for the interesting solutions."
Last year, GBTA
conducted a survey comparing companies with and without a corporate travel
program. That research caused some concern because it suggested there were no
savings in managing travel. Bates said this year's survey was "completely
different" as it included only companies that managed travel programs.