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The Changing Face of Elite Travelers

The Changing Face of Elite Travelers

Asia is the new frontier for Elite Travelers according to a recent study from the Global Business Travel Association. The GBTA is an industry group of 5,000-plus members who manage over $340 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually, so they know what they’re talking about when it comes to elite travel.

According to their study “Consumer Choice in Premium Air Travel”, Asia will lead the industry this year and next as 42{5ca2eb384d09d98d15e1efd1e27b66aae779e3e721a4a8d35c0ac7b222cb3660} of premium travelers in that region plan to fly business or first class more over the next twelve months, with another 40{5ca2eb384d09d98d15e1efd1e27b66aae779e3e721a4a8d35c0ac7b222cb3660} planning to fly the same amount as last year.  In Europe, 83{5ca2eb384d09d98d15e1efd1e27b66aae779e3e721a4a8d35c0ac7b222cb3660} of respondents plan to fly premium the same or more over the next twelve months (with 27{5ca2eb384d09d98d15e1efd1e27b66aae779e3e721a4a8d35c0ac7b222cb3660} planning to fly more) and in the U.S., 81{5ca2eb384d09d98d15e1efd1e27b66aae779e3e721a4a8d35c0ac7b222cb3660} plan to fly premium the same or more (with 21{5ca2eb384d09d98d15e1efd1e27b66aae779e3e721a4a8d35c0ac7b222cb3660} planning to fly more).

The study which examined the flying habits and preferences of 1,650 travelers from the U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific that have flown international long-haul travel in premium class over the last 12 months provides an interesting insight into the changing face of Elite Travelers, the group our TV series Going Global is designed for.

Business travelers vote with their pocketbook:

  • 84{5ca2eb384d09d98d15e1efd1e27b66aae779e3e721a4a8d35c0ac7b222cb3660} of premium travelers rank an airline’s reputation and safety record as the most important motivating factor for choosing an airline.
  • Two-thirds (67{5ca2eb384d09d98d15e1efd1e27b66aae779e3e721a4a8d35c0ac7b222cb3660}) rank the availability of lie flat seats as being an important factor.
  • Only half (51{5ca2eb384d09d98d15e1efd1e27b66aae779e3e721a4a8d35c0ac7b222cb3660}) say that the availability of a pre-flight lounge is a determining factor.
  • Less than half (47{5ca2eb384d09d98d15e1efd1e27b66aae779e3e721a4a8d35c0ac7b222cb3660}) are motivated by the quality or selection of in-flight entertainment.
  • And technology matters, 51{5ca2eb384d09d98d15e1efd1e27b66aae779e3e721a4a8d35c0ac7b222cb3660} of Elite Travelers want Wi-Fi, 48{5ca2eb384d09d98d15e1efd1e27b66aae779e3e721a4a8d35c0ac7b222cb3660} cited AC power as being important and 45{5ca2eb384d09d98d15e1efd1e27b66aae779e3e721a4a8d35c0ac7b222cb3660} mentioned audio/visual capacity when making buying decisions.

Interestingly the study also highlighted regional differences between Asian, European and American travelers. Notably, the study found that premium travelers based in Asia tended to be younger, which will likely lead to continued growth in the premium long-haul sector.  In addition, their employers’ travel management policies are more lenient. Finally, the Asian travelers are more technologically savvy, being more likely to use social media in planning and booking travel (48{5ca2eb384d09d98d15e1efd1e27b66aae779e3e721a4a8d35c0ac7b222cb3660}), compared to about 10{5ca2eb384d09d98d15e1efd1e27b66aae779e3e721a4a8d35c0ac7b222cb3660} of U.S. travelers. What this means is like so many other industries, the business travel sector must look eastward.

Elite Travelers are the most preferred customers for the global travel industry but as study after study has proven it is a dynamic and ever changing landscape. So keep up with all the trends with our TV series Going Global.

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