Survey: Asia/Pacific Buyers Restricting Premium Class - Business Travel News

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Survey: Asia/Pacific Buyers Restricting Premium Class

September 27, 2011 - 02:10 PM ET

By Michael B. Baker

Asia/Pacific-based travel buyers are tightening premium-class travel policies and pushing advance-purchase requirements, but tracking ancillary fees remains a low priority in the region, according to a survey of 410 buyers conducted by Egencia and the Global Business Travel Association Foundation.

Comprised predominately of travel managers from Australia, China, Singapore and India, survey results indicated that more than half of travel buyers in the region completely disallow premium-class air travel in the region. Of the more than half of responding buyers who reviewed policies within the past two years, 72 percent made business-class restrictions more strict. That is opposite of recent GBTA-Egencia survey results among European travel buyers.

Buyers in Asia/Pacific also increasingly are restricting use of upper-tier hotels. Slightly more than half of the buyers who altered policies in the past two years indicated their organizations restricted hotel stays to certain tiers or service classes, according to the survey.

Many buyers in the region also encourage advance booking of airfares, according to survey results. Eight percent have a 21-day advance purchase policy, 12 percent have a 14-day policy and 16 percent have a seven-day policy.

Meanwhile, relatively few Asia/Pacific buyers are tracking airline and hotel ancillary fees through card or expense data, despite buyers in the region reporting that such fees account for 13 percent of all travel and expense spending. Thirty-one percent are tracking the fees, largely through expense tools, and of those who are not tracking them, 77 percent said they have no plans to do so within the next several years.

About half of surveyed buyers, however, require travelers to consider ancillary airline fees when calculating lowest logical airfare.

Mandates on preferred vendor use also are the exception rather than the rule in the region. Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed require travelers to use preferred airlines when available, and 32 percent require buyers to book preferred hotels.

Consistent with a panel discussion at a GBTA conference last month, the survey indicated that online booking use remains low in Asia/Pacific when compared to other regions. Forty-four percent of buyers surveyed indicated their organizations have not deployed an online booking tool, and 19 percent said their organizations have deployed one but do not require travelers to use it. Twenty-one percent of buyers said that travelers should book through online booking tools whenever possible.

According to survey results, online booking tools in the region are most widely used among Australian organizations. 

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