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Businesses Hit the Web for Travel

Calling the airline is a thing of the past.

November 7, 2008

The Internet is the travel booking channel of choice for businesspeople. That is according to a September 2008 Business Travel News-sponsored study conducted by Equation Research and cited by Hospitality Net.

US business travelers surveyed who flew more than six times during the previous 12 months preferred to book their trips online instead of by phone or e-mail. That held true whether the travelers booked directly with suppliers or had their corporate travel departments handle the bookings.

“Travelers like the option of booking business trips online because it allows them to manage their itineraries from any location at any time, using their laptop or mobile device,” said Jeffrey Grau, senior analyst at eMarketer.

Preferred Method for Booking Travel According to US Business Travelers, by Segment, September 2008 (% of respondents)

As appealing as it might be for business travelers to book through public Websites, corporate travel management companies hold the edge on pricing, judging by data from Topaz International.

The difference between average fares booked through public Websites and corporate travel management companies from 2003 to 2007 remained steady at around 13%. Moreover, average business fares fell overall in 2007 from 2006.

Average US Online Business Travel Fare Booked via Public Websites vs. Corporate Travel Management Companies, 2003-2007

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