10 Jan 2014
January 10, 2014

Top Business Travel Trends for 2014

Biggest concern is delayed flights; year-over-year booking trends remain nearly unchanged; and airline change fees top ancillary fees. 

Plymouth, MN (January 10, 2014) — Nearly 40% of Travel Leaders Group’s business-focused travel agents have indicated that business clients will be traveling more in 2014 than last year and nearly another 40% state client bookings will be the same as in 2013, according to the results of the top business travel trends survey from Travel Leaders Group that was released today. The findings are fairly consistent with 2013 findings in a year-over-year comparison.  In addition, the survey revealed that delayed flights are the top concern for business travel clients, and found that there is an ever-growing demand for access to Wi-Fi inflight and virtually everywhere else. Conducted November 11 – December 14, 2013, these business travel trends are based on responses from 424 Travel Leaders Group owners, managers and frontline travel experts throughout the United States who identified that 50% or more of their portfolio consists of business travel clients.

“While a very slight plurality of our agents tell us booking levels for business travel are at least on par with the start of last year, we are very encouraged that nearly as many are telling us that they’re actually seeing higher booking levels than a year ago,” stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben.  “Our corporate travel agents are in-tune with clients’ needs for advanced travel planning and adherence to travel policies for maximum return on their investment.  Our individual business clients have the peace of mind in knowing we have their back, especially when problems arise. For example, our agents excel at reacting nimbly and quickly to deal with issues such as delayed and canceled flights – re-protecting clients by securing a seat on another flight.”

“In Travel Leaders Corporate, we’re cautiously optimistic about 2014,” noted Travel Leaders Corporate President David Holyoke. “That’s because while many clients are showing solid growth, others are still struggling with ongoing economic concerns in their individual segments. We’re working will all of our clients to better leverage our tools and service to ultimately maximize each dollar spent.”

Anticipated Level of Business Travel in 2014

When Travel Leaders Group business travel experts were asked, “What have your business travel clients indicated in terms of either actual bookings and/or client feedback as to the amount of travel they anticipate for 2014 compared to 2013?” the results were:





Booking levels will increase compared to last year





Booking levels will remain on par with last year





Booking levels will decline compared to last year





*The totals do not add up to 100%. The remaining experts polled stated “unknown.”

Top Business Travel Concerns

When asked, “What are the top three concerns for your business travelers?”  Travel Leaders Group’s survey participants provided the following insights:


Delayed flights



Limited airline seat availability



Earning frequent flyer/loyalty points



Travel costs



Ease of passing through security



Most Valuable Services

Based on concerns about delayed flights and limited airline seat availability, it naturally follows suit that business travel agents believe that “access to an experienced agents” is critically essential for their business travel clients in the coming year.  When asked for the single most valuable service business travel clients need to ensure smooth travels in 2014, the following were identified as the top three:


Access to an experience agent



24-hour service



Waivers and favors



Ancillary Fees for Business Travelers

Travel Leaders Group business travel experts were asked, “Please choose the most frequently charged Ancillary Fees your business travel clients encounter.” Agents could select multiple answers.  Here are the Top 10 responses:


Airline fees for changing flights



Airline fees for baggage



Airline fees for seat assignments (upgrade   and/or premium seat)



Hotel fee for Internet



Hotel “resort” fee



Hotel fees for parking



Car rental fees for one-way rental drop-offs



Airline fees for Internet



Airline fees for food



Hotel fees for early check-in/late check-out


The top three responses in 2014 are identical to last year.  In 2013 the top five was rounded out by “Hotel fees for parking” and “Hotel fees for Internet.”

Other notable business travel trends:

Inflight Wi-Fi:

  • While it has only been in the past few years that Wi-Fi has been made available on flights and only on some carriers, over half (59.7%) of agents surveyed indicate Wi-Fi is either “very important” or “an absolute must have” for their business travel clients.  Only 4.2% indicate it is “not at all important” for their clients when flying.

Hotel Wi-Fi

  • When asked, “How vital is it for your business travel clients to have access to Wi-Fi in their hotel room?” more than nine out of every ten agents (95.1%) state it is either an “absolute necessity” or “very vital.”  Only 1% indicate that Wi-Fi in their business travelers’ hotel rooms are “not all that vital.”
  • When asked, “If your business travel clients have to pay for Internet access in their hotel room, what would you say is their limit in terms of daily cost?” the top response from Travel Leaders Group’s business travel specialists was: “Only if it is $10.99 or less per day” (37.10%), followed by “$11 – $15 per day” (29.1%).

These business trends are part of a comprehensive travel trends survey which included responses from 1,358 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers and frontline travel agents from the flagship Travel Leaders brand, along with those affiliated with Travel Leaders Group’s Luxury Travel Network, Nexion, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders Corporate, Tzell Travel Group and Vacation.com units. To view the results from the Travel Leaders Group 2014 Travel Trends Survey, click here.

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About Travel Leaders Group
Travel Leaders Group (www.travelleadersgroup.com) is transforming travel with a commitment to our vacation and business travel clients via our progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Having already assisted millions of travelers – through our beginnings as Carlson Leisure Group, a division of Carlson Companies, TraveLeaders and Tzell Travel Group and through the additions of Nexion, Vacation.com and Protravel International – Travel Leaders Group manages leisure, business and franchise travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands. With annual sales of approximately $18 billion, Travel Leaders Group not only ranks as the #1 corporate travel management company by Business Travel News, but it is also among the top ten travel companies on the 2013 Travel Weekly Power List and the 2014 “Franchise 500” list by Entrepreneur ranks a Travel Leaders Franchise Brand #1 in the category of “Travel Agencies-Miscellaneous.”