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The Business Traveler - US - June 2013

“The most successful travel providers will provide travelers with cost incentives and tools that give them home-like comfort while on the road. Nowadays, many travelers are on the road primarily for short-stay conferences and seminars. However, there are still more engaged travelers who not only take business trips for a wider variety of reasons, but also depend on travel for their livelihood. The industry should look to the needs and preferences of these individuals to determine how to better service all types of business travelers.”

– Gretchen Grabowski, Travel & Leisure Analyst

 Some questions answered in this report include:

  • Who travels for business, and why
  • How business travelers book their trips
  • What business travelers want from an airline
  • What business travelers want from hotels
  • What business travelers want from restaurants
  • What business travelers want from car rentals

The extent to which Americans engage in business travel depends on a variety of factors—type of employment, as well as demographic characteristics such as gender and age. However, when they do travel for work, businessmen and women want their trips to be easy and convenient. Business travelers also want their time on the road to offer some of the comforts of home.

This report explores the reasons U.S. professionals travel for business purposes, as well as who typically makes travel arrangements, and whether preferred providers are used. It also includes opinions about what options airlines, hotels, car rental companies, and restaurants may give travel providers an advantage in attracting business travelers.


For the purposes of this report, business travel is defined as travel of at least 50 miles from the workplace for business purposes.

Business travel purposes considered include client meetings, meetings with co-workers in other offices, attending conferences, a trade show or convention, a professional class or seminar, offsite physical labor or service work, and company-sponsored reward trips. Business day trips as well as overnight trips are considered.

In this report, Mintel categorizes four types of business travelers based on the number of reasons for business travel in the last three years. Those traveling for five or more reasons are defined as “Multi- Purpose Business Travelers,” and those traveling for three to four reasons are defined as “Moderate Business Travelers.” Respondents who have traveled for one or two of the above-listed reasons are defined as “Limited Business Travelers” and those who have not traveled for any are “Non-Travelers.”

Survey questions pertaining to offerings that drive business travelers’ selection of airlines, hotels, car rental companies, and restaurants ask that they consider factors other than price and lower cost-options. This limitation is included due to previous Mintel research, which shows price discounts are a primary consideration in choosing travel options.

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Sales data
            • Consumer survey data
              • Advertising creative
                • Abbreviations
                  • Terms
                  • Executive Summary

                      • The market
                        • Domestic business travel expected to pick up 2015-17
                          • Figure 1: Total U.S. domestic business travel spending, at current prices with best- and worst-case scenarios, 2007-17
                        • The consumer
                          • Business travelers most likely to attend conferences and seminars
                            • Figure 2: Reasons for business travel in the last three years, March-April 2013
                          • Restaurant and hotel employees the most likely to influence business travel choices
                            • Figure 3: How customer service impacts airline, hotel, car rental, and restaurant choices, March-April 2013
                          • Business travelers want the comforts of home, the tech-savvy way
                            • Yet, many business travelers still see the benefits of “switching off”
                              • Figure 4: Opinions about taking a break from the internet, business flyers vs. all, October 2011-November 2012
                            • What we think
                            • Issues and Insights

                                • Who travels for business, and why
                                  • The issues
                                    • The implications
                                      • How business travelers book their trips
                                        • The issues
                                          • The implications
                                            • What business travelers want from an airline
                                              • The issue
                                                • The implications
                                                  • What business travelers want from hotels
                                                    • The issues
                                                      • The implications
                                                        • What business travelers want from restaurants
                                                          • The issue
                                                            • The implications
                                                              • What business travelers want from car rentals
                                                                • The issue
                                                                  • The implications
                                                                  • Trend Application

                                                                      • Inspire trend: Life Hacking
                                                                        • Inspire trend: Creative Class
                                                                          • Mintel Futures: Human
                                                                          • Market Size and Forecast—Business Travel

                                                                            • Key points
                                                                              • Domestic business travel spending to increase through 2017
                                                                                • Figure 5: Total U.S. domestic business travel spending, at current prices, 2007-17
                                                                                • Figure 6: Total U.S. domestic business travel spending, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2007-17
                                                                              • International business travel spending also rising, but to lesser extent
                                                                                • Figure 7: Total U.S. international business travel spending, at current prices, 2007-17
                                                                                • Figure 8: Total U.S. international business travel spending, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2007-17
                                                                              • Fan chart forecasts
                                                                                  • Figure 9: Total U.S. domestic business travel spending, at current prices with best- and worst-case scenarios, 2007-17
                                                                                  • Figure 10: Total U.S. international business travel spending, at current prices with best- and worst-case scenarios, 2007-17
                                                                              • Factors Influencing Business Travel

                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                  • Daily cost of business travel has increased, driven by higher hotel rates
                                                                                    • Figure 11: Average per diem cost of business travel in the U.S. and percent change year over year, by travel segment, March 2013
                                                                                  • Business travel more likely as more time spent working
                                                                                    • Figure 12: Difference in hours spent working and on work-related activities each day, men vs. women, 2003-10
                                                                                  • Remote relationships dangerous for business
                                                                                    • Figure 13: Impacts of having less face time with clients, April 2011
                                                                                • Domestic Business Travel Segment Performance

                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                    • Accommodations account for most of domestic business travel spend
                                                                                      • Figure 14: Total U.S. spending on domestic business travel, by segment, 2010 and 2012
                                                                                      • Figure 15: Total U.S. spending on domestic business travel, by segment, 2007-17
                                                                                  • Innovations and Innovators

                                                                                    • Overview
                                                                                      • FlightCar provides alternative to traditional car rentals during travel
                                                                                        • Figure 16: FlightCar “How FlightCar Works” video, April 2013
                                                                                      • Hotels enticing business travelers with local food options
                                                                                        • New technology makes business travel more convenient
                                                                                        • Marketing Strategies and Initiatives

                                                                                          • Overview
                                                                                            • Providers position themselves as caretakers for business travelers
                                                                                              • Southwest Airlines
                                                                                                • Figure 17: Southwest Airlines “No Penalties” TV ad, May 2013
                                                                                              • La Quinta Inns & Suites
                                                                                                • Figure 18: La Quinta Inns & Suites “Out of the Park” TV ad, April 2013
                                                                                              • Avis
                                                                                                • Figure 19: Avis “They Just Get Me” TV ad, April 2013
                                                                                              • Providers showing that they have something for all business travelers
                                                                                                • Air Canada
                                                                                                  • Figure 20: Air Canada “For the Big Picture Thinker” print ad, December 2012-January 2013
                                                                                                • National Car Rental
                                                                                                  • Figure 21: National Car Rental “Thank You For Choosing Choice” print ad, December 2012-January 2013
                                                                                                • Amtrak/Acela Express
                                                                                                  • Figure 22: Acela Express “Take Off with Acela” TV ad, February 2013
                                                                                                  • Figure 23: Acela Express “Please Continue to Use All Electronic Devices” print ad, February 2013
                                                                                                • Marriott promotes racial and cultural diversity in business travel
                                                                                                  • Figure 24: Marriott “For You, We’re Marriott” ads, October 2012
                                                                                              • Mintel Categorizes Four Types of Business Travelers

                                                                                                • Segmentation definitions and overview
                                                                                                    • Figure 25: Business traveler segments, March-April, 2013
                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                    • More men traveling for business, and for more reasons
                                                                                                      • Figure 26: Business traveler segments, by gender, March-April, 2013
                                                                                                      • Figure 27: Average number of work-related business trips taken by vehicle, by gender, 1990-2009
                                                                                                    • Young adults may be the most likely to travel for business
                                                                                                      • Figure 28: Business traveler segments, by age, March-April, 2013
                                                                                                      • Figure 29: Share of global business travelers, Millennials vs. older generations, 2013
                                                                                                    • Travel marketers have an opportunity with self-employed workers
                                                                                                      • Figure 30: Business traveler segments, by employment status, March-April, 2013
                                                                                                      • Figure 31: Share of unincorporated self-employment, by industry, 2009
                                                                                                  • Reasons for Business Travel

                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                      • Daytime conferences, classes the most common in business travel
                                                                                                        • Figure 32: Reasons for business travel in the last three years, March-April 2013
                                                                                                        • Figure 33: Benefits of attending external business conferences, September 2009
                                                                                                      • More men traveling for business, but young women still active
                                                                                                          • Figure 34: Reasons for business travel in the last three years, by gender and age, March-April 2013
                                                                                                        • More self-employed workers traveling to visit clients, do service work
                                                                                                          • Figure 35: Reasons for business travel in the last three years, by employment status, March-April 2013
                                                                                                          • Figure 36: Purpose of attending external trade shows, September 2009
                                                                                                        • Most multi-purpose business travelers getting company rewards
                                                                                                          • Figure 37: Reasons for business travel in the last three years, by business traveler segments, March-April 2013
                                                                                                          • Figure 38: Cancellations of and spending on corporate travel incentive programs, 2009-11
                                                                                                      • Booking Business Travel

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • More than six in 10 booking their own business travel
                                                                                                            • Figure 39: Who books business travel, March-April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 40: Incidence of managed travel programs, by company size, Sept. 2-11, 2011
                                                                                                          • Youngest adults may have less of a say in their business travel bookings
                                                                                                            • Figure 41: Who books business travel, by age, March-April 2013
                                                                                                        • Preferred Vendors for Business Travel

                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                            • Most companies don’t have preferred business travel providers
                                                                                                                • Figure 42: Preferred vendors for business travel, March-April 2013
                                                                                                              • More multi-purpose business travelers have preferred airlines, hotels
                                                                                                                • Figure 43: Preferred vendors for business travel, by business travel segments, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                • Figure 44: Corporate travel buyers’ average airline rankings, by airline, June 28-Sept. 24, 2012
                                                                                                            • Influences on Airline Choice for Business Travel

                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                • More than one third of business travelers drawn to free baggage checks
                                                                                                                  • Figure 45: Influences on airline choice for business travel, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                  • Figure 46: Southwest “Bags Fly Free” website promotion, May 2013
                                                                                                                  • Figure 47: United Airlines MileagePlus free bag check billboard, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, April 2013
                                                                                                                • Younger business travelers more focused on in-flight connectivity
                                                                                                                  • Figure 48: Influences on airline choice for business travel, by generation, March-April 2013
                                                                                                              • Influences on Hotel Choice for Business Travel

                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                  • Internet access the most influential factor in choosing hotels
                                                                                                                      • Figure 49: Influences on hotel choice for business travel, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Young business travelers drawn to inclusive service, customization
                                                                                                                      • Figure 50: Influences on hotel choice for business travel, by age, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                  • Influences on Car Rental Choice for Business Travel

                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                      • GPS-inclusive car rentals the most popular among business travelers
                                                                                                                        • Figure 51: Influences on car rental choice for business travel, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                      • More young business travelers look for directional, on-road assistance
                                                                                                                        • Figure 52: Influences on car rental choice for business travel, by age, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Influences on Restaurant Choice for Business Travel

                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                        • Business travelers drawn to around-the-clock meal service
                                                                                                                            • Figure 53: Influences on restaurant choice for business travel, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                          • More women motivated by alternative menus during business travel
                                                                                                                            • Figure 54: Influences on restaurant choice for business travel, by gender, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                        • Customer Service Impact on Business Travel Choices

                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                            • Restaurant, hotel staff may have most impact on business travel choices
                                                                                                                              • Figure 55: How customer service impacts airline, hotel, car rental, and restaurant choices, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                              • Figure 56: Factors for creating consistently high levels of restaurant customer service, 2009
                                                                                                                            • Service may be a bigger priority for those who travel more
                                                                                                                              • Figure 57: Service providers’ impact on business travel choices, by business travel segments, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                          • Business Travelers and Technology

                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                              • More business travelers reliant on technology, but need to disconnect
                                                                                                                                • Figure 58: Opinions about the internet and mobile devices, business flyers vs. all, October 2011-November 2012
                                                                                                                              • Business travelers like to stay up to date with technology
                                                                                                                                • Figure 59: Opinions about developments in technology, business flyers vs. all, October 2011-November 2012
                                                                                                                            • Impact of Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                • Asians the most engaged in business travel
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 60: Business traveler segments, by generation, March-April, 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 61: U.S. unemployment, by race and Hispanic origin, 2000-11
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 62: Occupations by, gender, race, and Hispanic origin, 2010
                                                                                                                                • More Hispanic business travelers want to log on in-flight
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 63: Influences on airline choice for business travel, by race/Hispanic origin, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                • More black business travelers drawn to hotel-provided transportation
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 64: Influences on hotel choice for business travel, by race/Hispanic origin, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                • Mintel categorizes four types of business travelers
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 65: Business traveler segments, by gender and age, March-April, 2013
                                                                                                                                • Reasons for business travel
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 66: Reasons for business day trips in the last three years, by recency of trip, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 67: Reasons for business overnight trips in the last three years, by recency of trip, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 68: Reasons for business travel in the last three years, by gender, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 69: Reasons for business travel in the last three years, by age, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 70: Reasons for business travel in the last three years, by race/Hispanic origin, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 71: Reasons for business travel in the last three years, by generation, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                • Booking business travel
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 72: Who books business travel, by gender, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                • Source: Mintel
                                                                                                                                  • Source: Mintel
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 74: Who books business travel, by employment status, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 75: Who books business travel, by generation, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 76: Who books business travel, Millennials vs. non-Millennials, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 77: Who books business travel, by business traveler segments, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                • Preferred vendors for business travel
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 78: Preferred vendors for business travel, by gender, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 79: Preferred vendors for business travel, by age, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 80: Preferred vendors for business travel, by race/Hispanic origin, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 81: Preferred vendors for business travel, by employment status, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 82: Preferred vendors for business travel, by generation, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 83: Preferred vendors for business travel, Millennials vs. non-Millennials, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                • Influences on airline choice for business travel
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 84: Influences on airline choice for business travel, by gender, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 85: Influences on airline choice for business travel, by employment status, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 86: Influences on airline choice for business travel, Millennials vs. non-Millennials, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 87: Influences on airline choice for business travel, by business traveler segments, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                • Influences on hotel choice for business travel
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 88: Influences on hotel choice for business travel, by gender, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 89: Influences on hotel choice for business travel, by employment status, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 90: Influences on hotel choice for business travel, by generation, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 91: Influences on hotel choice for business travel, Millennials vs. non-Millennials, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                • Influences on car rental choice for business travel
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 92: Influences on car rental choice for business travel, by gender, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 93: Influences on car rental choice for business travel, by race/Hispanic origin, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 94: Influences on car rental choice for business travel, by generation, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 95: Influences on car rental choice for business travel, Millennials vs. non-Millennials, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 96: Influences on car rental choice for business travel, by business traveler segments, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                • Influences on restaurant choice for business travel
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 97: Influences on restaurant choice for business travel, by age, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 98: Influences on restaurant choice for business travel, by race/Hispanic origin, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 99: Influences on restaurant choice for business travel, by generation, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 100: Influences on restaurant choice for business travel, Millennials vs. non-Millennials, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 101: Influences on restaurant choice for business travel, by business traveler segments, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                • Customer service impact on business travel choices
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 102: How customer service impacts airline, hotel, car rental, and restaurant choices, by gender, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 103: How customer service impacts airline, hotel, car rental, and restaurant choices, by age, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 104: How customer service impacts airline, hotel, car rental, and restaurant choices, by employment status, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 105: How customer service impacts airline, hotel, car rental, and restaurant choices, by race/Hispanic origin, March-April 2013
                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                • AirTran Holdings Inc.
                                                                                                                                • Continental Airlines Inc.
                                                                                                                                • Delta Air Lines, Inc.
                                                                                                                                • Hewlett-Packard Company
                                                                                                                                • Southwest Airlines Co.
                                                                                                                                • UAL Corporation (United Airlines)

                                                                                                                                The Business Traveler - US - June 2013

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