U.S. Business Traveler: Managed, Unmanaged and Rogue

U.S. Business Traveler: Managed, Unmanaged and Rogue Published February 2012 Analysts: Carroll Rheem, Marcello Gasdia


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Demand for business travel has recovered substantially after its 2009 plummet, but driving growth in the years ahead will prove more challenging for travel companies than in the past. Effectively catering to the wants and needs of business travelers will be increasingly important for industry players hoping to grow their share in this lucrative segment.

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Carroll Rheem, Director, Research

Phocuswright’s U.S. Business Traveler: Managed, Unmanaged and Rogue helps travel companies gain holistic perspective from the range of business travelers in the U.S., including both those who are managed by a corporate travel policy and those who are not. Unmanaged business travelers represent tremendous opportunity and command billions of travel dollars – but they can be elusive targets. And with unprecedented marketplace transparency and robust travel planning tools available to all, there are more enticements than ever for managed travelers to go rogue. This in-depth study of business travelers explores these issues and more, uncovering key trends impacting the business travel marketplace.

Report topics include:

  • Differences among managed (compliant and non-compliant) and unmanaged travelers
  • General travel behaviors, including number of trips, expenditure and travel products purchased
  • Purpose of trips and the impact of virtual meeting technology by trip purpose
  • Travel policy reach, policy elements and structure
  • Managed travel compliance factors and drivers of rogue behavior
  • The travel planning process, with detailed analysis of shopping and booking channels

Purchase Phocuswright’s U.S. Business Traveler: Managed, Unmanaged and Rogue to gain rich, actionable insights into how best to serve the needs and wants of unmanaged and managed business travelers.

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  • Overview, Methodology and Research Highlights
    • Overview
    • Methodology
    • Research Highlights
      • There are over twice as many unmanaged travelers as managed travelers
      • Unmanaged travelers more likely to mix business with leisure
      • Virtual technology options impact the need for travel, but not dramatically
      • Compliance is strongest with booking channel policies, while hotel choices are the most common rogue element
      • Lower level employees are more likely to stick to the rules
      • Prioritizing convenience is the top reason for non-compliance
      • Business travelers are savvy shoppers
      • Travelers prefer using online booking tools over calling agencies
      • Prioritization of schedule and location is the main difference between business and leisure trip planning
  • General Business Travel Behavior
    • Quick Stats
    • Incidence of Travel Policy
    • Business/Leisure Crossover
    • Trip Frequency and Duration
    • Purpose of Trips and the Impact of Video Conferencing
    • Travel Components
    • Travel Expenditure
    • Off-Hours Activities
  • Formal and Informal Business Travel Policies
    • Quick Stats
    • Flexibility of Travel Policies
    • Policy Compliance
    • Reasons for Going Rogue
    • Managed Traveler Program Sentiment
    • Additional Travel Policies
  • Travel Planning
    • Quick Stats
    • Travel Booking Decision Factors
    • Shopping Channels
    • Booking Channels
    • Ease of Business Travel Processes
    • Differentiation from Leisure Travel Planning
  • Demographics
  • Sponsors

Phocuswright fielded an online consumer survey September 2-10, 2011 through Global Market Insite, Inc. The survey targeted the general U.S. population that travels for business. To qualify for participation in the study, respondents were required to have taken at least one business trip in the past 12 months that included a flight and/or paid lodging.

For the purposes of this study, Phocuswright defined managed travelers as those whose business trips are governed by a policy that covers which suppliers they use and/or what channel(s) they use to book. Because the natural incidence of managed travel is low relative to the unmanaged group, Phocuswright established a quota during data collection in order to ensure a minimum of 800 managed respondents. With quota, the ratio of managed to unmanaged business traveler respondents was 38% to 62%, respectively. The study results are weighted to reflect the ratio that would have occurred had the quota not been implemented (30% managed to 70% unmanaged).

Phocuswright received a total of 2,053 qualified responses, and the respondent pool can be projected with confidence onto the U.S. online business traveler population. The error interval for analysis is +/-2.2% at a 95% confidence level.

Based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and PEW Research, Phocuswright projects the number of U.S. adults with Internet access who have taken at least one business trip (as previously defined) to be 30.7 million people in 2011 (see Figure 1). These travelers represent 13% of the total U.S. adult population.

US $995 
CA $1,310 • £777 • €901
FREE for Open Access Subscribers
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