Business and convention travel is finally showing signs of recovery, although greater emphasis on travel policies and the increasing use of technology has caused the business travel landscape to shift, according to a new report from the Travel Industry Association of America, the National Business Travel Association and the Institute of Business Travel Management. The 2004 Business and Convention Travelers Report shows that between 1998 and 2003, business and convention travel volume declined more than 14 percent. However, business travel volume grew more than four percent in 2004 and strong growth is expected over the next few years.
The report found that the majority of business travelers work at companies with one or more travel policies in place, including restrictions on airfare class, limits on travel per diem, restrictions on hotel class or requirements that travel be approved by upper management.
Despite these challenges, business travel remains big business in the U.S. More than 38 million business travelers generated 210.5 million person-trips in 2003. And although business travel comprises 18 percent of total travel volume, these travelers generate 31 percent, or $153 billion, of all domestic traveler spending.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the report found that frequent traveler programs are popular with business travelers, with nearly half (47 percent) participating in one or more frequent flyer programs and over a third (36 percent) participating in frequent hotel guest programs.
In addition, it turns out that a majority (57 percent) of business travelers are men; four in ten (43 percent) are women. Business travelers are an average age of 47 years, with 45 percent being Baby Boomers.
And the road warriors are an exclusive club after all: Frequent business travelers (10+ trips per year) make up 17 percent of all business travelers, yet they take nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of all business trips.