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US Frequent Travel Programs market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Frequent Travel Programs market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

What you need to know

A strong economy encourages people to spend on travel. With many tools available to help consumers find the lowest prices, travel providers lean on their loyalty programs to build crucial brand loyalty. These programs must innovate in order to maximize their effectiveness in the face of changing traveler habits and desires.

Definition

For the purposes of this Report, Mintel uses the terms “frequent travel program (FTP)” and “travel loyalty program” interchangeably and defines them as programs through which members can accrue rewards for travel with participating providers and redeem these for future benefits. Programs considered include:

  • Airline frequent flyer programs
  • Hotel loyalty rewards programs
  • Car rental rewards programs
  • The above are sometimes collectively referred to as “traditional FTPs/loyalty programs.” That term does not include the following programs that are also covered in the scope of this Report, unless otherwise specified:
    • Online travel agency (OTA) loyalty programs
    • Credit card rewards programs, where points accrued can be redeemed for travel rewards

Key Consumer Questions Topics

  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know
  • Opinions of Loyalty Programs
  • Who Signs Up and Why
  • What FTP Members Want
  • What FTP Members Want to Hear
  • Leveraging Bonus Opportunities

Key Companies featured

Airlines

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • JetBlue Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines

Vehicle rental brands

  • Alamo
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Enterprise
  • Hertz
  • National

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Mike Gallinari, a leading analyst in the Travel sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

A strong economy encourages people to spend on travel. With many tools available to help consumers find the lowest prices, travel providers lean on their loyalty programs to build crucial brand loyalty. These programs must innovate in order to maximize their effectiveness in the face of changing traveler habits and desires. Mike Gallinari
Travel & Leisure Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • Overview
            • Figure 1: Business traveler segments, November 2018
          • The issues
            • Familiarity with sharing economy gives companies travel options
              • Figure 2: Usage of ridesharing and homesharing, by age group, November 2018
            • Amenities should address efficiency, instead of luxury
              • Figure 3: Attitudes toward airplane/airport business amenities, November 2018
            • Safety concerns mean travelers miss opportunities
              • Figure 4: Avoidance tactics to ensure safety, by gender and age group, November 2018
            • The opportunities
              • More business travel results in more activity
                • Figure 5: Business traveler segments and travel frequency, November 2018
              • Business trips aren’t all business
                • Figure 6: Leisure activities done on business trips, by age group, November 2018
              • Parents get vacation where they can get it
                • Figure 7: Behaviors and attitudes around business travel, parents vs. non-parents, November 2018
              • What it means
              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                • The business travel market poised for small but steady growth
                  • Companies are swimming in cash
                    • Millennials are moving the market
                      • Rideshare loyalty expands the business travel market
                        • Consumer apps cater to business travelers
                          • Business travel will feel the hit from the shutdown
                          • Market Size and Forecast

                            • Business spending continues slow and steady growth
                              • Figure 8: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of business travel, at current prices, 2011-21
                              • Figure 9: Total US business travel spending, at current prices, 2013-23
                          • Market Factors

                            • Strong GDP enables increased business travel
                              • Figure 10: GDP change from previous period, Q1 2007-Q3 2018
                            • Record corporate profits
                              • Figure 11: Corporate profits after tax, seasonally adjusted annual rate, in billions, January 2007 – July 2018
                            • Strength of the dollar
                              • Figure 12: Trade Weighted U.S. Dollar Index: Broad, Quarterly, Not Seasonally Adjusted
                            • Trade wars cast economy into question
                              • The longest shutdown will have the longest tail
                              • Market Perspective

                                • Millennials preferences dictate travel
                                  • Figure 13: US workforce participation by generation, 2017
                                  • Figure 14: Attitudes toward travel (net agree), by age, February 2018
                                • Rideshare companies introduce loyalty
                                  • Hotel occupancy and revenue continue to stay high
                                    • SpotHero expands into business travel
                                      • Figure 15: Hertz email, November 2018
                                  • Key Trends – What You Need to Know

                                    • Millennials are on the go, bleisure is here to stay
                                      • Wellness hits business travel just in time
                                        • Travelers want seamless convenience
                                          • Women are getting the cold shoulder at work
                                            • Labor issues can turn away conscious travelers
                                              • Airbnb testing ownership
                                                • Rollout of 5G will bring changes
                                                • What’s Happening?

                                                  • Business travel is popular
                                                    • Wellness extends into business travel
                                                      • Seamlessness and safety are top priorities for business travel providers
                                                        • Figure 16: Uber email “Be anyone. Go anywhere,” October 2018
                                                    • What’s Struggling?

                                                      • Fear may jeopardize women’s careers and travel
                                                        • Hotel strikes can drive away businesses and travelers
                                                          • Figure 17: Areas of focus for companies, May 2018
                                                        • Frequent business travel is stressful
                                                        • What’s Next?

                                                          • Airbnb testing property management
                                                            • Startup solutions for scheduling problems
                                                              • 5G could temper in-person meetings, or bring new possibilities
                                                              • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                • Business traveler psychographics are more important than demographics
                                                                  • Three quarters of business travelers are eager travelers
                                                                    • Sharing economy has better long-term outlook than short-term
                                                                      • Personal enrichment gaining on professional advancement
                                                                        • Airlines and hotels should help get the job done
                                                                          • Attractions are attractive
                                                                            • Parents treat business trips as personal mini-vacations
                                                                              • Women and young professionals guard by distance
                                                                                • Experience breeds security
                                                                                • The Business Traveler

                                                                                  • Business travelers tend to be young men
                                                                                    • Figure 18: Business traveler demographics, November 2018
                                                                                  • Most business travelers take fewer than five trips per year
                                                                                    • Figure 19: Frequency of business trips, November 2018
                                                                                  • Business traveler segmentation
                                                                                    • Factors
                                                                                      • Figure 20: Business traveler segments and travel frequency, November 2018
                                                                                    • Experienced & Experiential (E&Es) (42%)
                                                                                      • Intense Business Travelers (IBTs) (33%)
                                                                                        • Reluctant But Dutiful (RBDs) (25%)
                                                                                          • Demographically, RBDs tend to be women and adults without kids.
                                                                                            • Figure 21: Attitudes toward business travel, by business traveler segments, November 2018
                                                                                        • Modes of Business Travel

                                                                                          • A “business trip” tends to involve a flight and hotel
                                                                                            • Figure 22: Travel modes used for business travel, November 2018
                                                                                          • Overnight domestic trips are most common
                                                                                            • Figure 23: Types of business trips taken, November 2018
                                                                                          • Sharing won’t take over traditional outlets in the near term…
                                                                                            • Figure 24: Usage of travel services, by trip purpose, November 2018
                                                                                          • …but young professionals have been taught how to share
                                                                                            • Figure 25: Usage of ridesharing and homesharing, by age group, November 2018
                                                                                        • The Purpose of Business Travel

                                                                                          • Finding the sweet spot between efficient, accommodating, and experiential
                                                                                            • Figure 26: Goals of business travel, November 2018
                                                                                          • Business travel preferences, by traveler segment
                                                                                            • Experienced & Experiential travelers are focused but easygoing
                                                                                              • Intense Business Travelers put the pedal to the metal
                                                                                                • Reluctant But Dutiful travelers get the job done and get out
                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Goals of business travel, by cluster segment, November 2018
                                                                                              • Business Travel Amenities

                                                                                                • Business travelers like short, efficient trips
                                                                                                  • Figure 28: Attitudes towards business travel, November 2018
                                                                                                • Business flights are about efficiency over comfort
                                                                                                  • Figure 29: TURF analysis – Opinons of flight amenities, November 2018
                                                                                                • Hotels are a place to work, then work out
                                                                                                  • Figure 30: TURF analysis – Opinons of hotel amenities, November 2018
                                                                                                • Amenity preferences by segment
                                                                                                  • Experienced & Experientials enjoy casual leisure
                                                                                                    • Intense Business Travelers prefer niceties to speed
                                                                                                      • Reluctant But Dutifuls hit the gym
                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Useful travel amenities, by cluster segment, November 2018
                                                                                                    • Experiential Business Travel

                                                                                                      • Restaurants and attractions are most popular for business travelers
                                                                                                        • Figure 32: Activities done on business trips, November 2018
                                                                                                        • Figure 33: Types of restaurant visited on business trips, by age group, November 2018
                                                                                                      • Young travelers to unwind
                                                                                                        • Figure 34: Spa visitation on business trips, by age and gender, November 2018
                                                                                                      • Attractions attract everyone
                                                                                                        • Figure 35: Leisure activities done on business trips, by age group, November 2018
                                                                                                      • Hotel bars losing share to local bars
                                                                                                        • Figure 36: types of bars visited on business trips, by age group and gender, November 2018
                                                                                                        • Figure 37: TURF analysis AFH drink interest, January 2018
                                                                                                      • Business trips are a brief, welcome respite from parenting
                                                                                                        • Figure 38: Behavors and attitudes around business travel, parents vs. non-parents, November 2018
                                                                                                      • Business travel experiences by segment
                                                                                                        • Experienced & Experientials can be moved around
                                                                                                          • Intense Business Travelers want it all
                                                                                                            • Reluctant But Dutifuls like a slower pace
                                                                                                              • Figure 39: Leisure activities done on business trips, by cluster segment, November 2018
                                                                                                          • Safety

                                                                                                            • Safety is up to the traveler
                                                                                                              • Figure 40: Attitudes and practices around business travel safety, November 2018
                                                                                                            • Women guard themselves through avoidance
                                                                                                              • Figure 41: Safety precautions taken on business trips, by gender, November 2018
                                                                                                            • Avoidance limits the experience of young professionals
                                                                                                              • Figure 42: Avoidance tactics to ensure safety, by age group, November 2018
                                                                                                            • More travel means more prep
                                                                                                              • Figure 43: Safety precautions taken for business travel, by number of trips per year, November 2018
                                                                                                            • Safety precautions by segment
                                                                                                              • Experienced & Experientials take reasonable measures
                                                                                                                • Intense Business Travelers are the most safety-conscious
                                                                                                                  • Reluctant But Dutifuls are the most avoidant, but also the least prepared
                                                                                                                    • Figure 44: Safety precautions taken on business trips, by cluster segments, November 2018
                                                                                                                • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                                  • Data sources
                                                                                                                    • Fan chart forecast
                                                                                                                      • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                                        • Direct marketing creative
                                                                                                                          • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                              • Terms
                                                                                                                              • Appendix – The Market

                                                                                                                                  • Figure 45: Total US business travel spending, at current prices, 2013-23
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 46: Total domestic business travel expenditures and forecast, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2013-23