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Business travel on rise in India

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Business travel in India is on a rise according to the latest report of British Airways Business Traveller Report 2011. Surprisingly a huge 68 per cent of Indian business travellers have reportedly increased business related travel financial meltdown and stock market recession around 18 months ago. Of this figure, over 20 per cent of Indian business travellers claim to have doubled their travel, while nearly half have moderately increased their travel (by 25 to 40 per cent).

The Report which was based on responses of 100 business travellers across India, also found that business travellers in India are much more optimistic than in other markets. 82 per cent of respondents believe that their business related travel will increase in the next 12 months and only 3 percent expect to fly less next year. One of the reasons for the rise in business travel is the belief by a majority of Indian business travellers that business travel is increasingly seen as an investment in client relationships (67%) or necessary for securing new clients (59%).

Other analysis of the report says Travel for business from India is on the rise across all sectors and all classes. While the larger companies are increasing travel in business classes, the rise in economy, premium economy and business class travel from the SME sector seems to be equally strong. The report clearly points to India as one of the greatest business travel markets in the world.

Few other findings of the Report are:

  • Indian business travellers are prudent fliers (economy conscious) – they pick economy class when taking short, domestic trips, but opt for business class when flying abroad.
  • SMEs are the most flexible: They consider both business and premium economy when flying abroad and price is their most important determining factor.
  • Larger businesses tend to be more set in their flying patterns and flying business class on business trips abroad seems to be de-rigueur for their executives.
  • 25% of the businesses surveyed said that they undertake more than 25 domestic trips in a year; and 34% undertook between five to ten international business trips in 2010.
  • CEOs, Chairmen and MDs are frequent fliers domestically in premium class.
  • Frequent flyer programmes are important to business travellers and 97% of them belong to at least one. Respondents commented that accrued points and rewards are used for non-business travel as well and seen as an added perk with benefits outside the work environment.
  • The majority holds gold or silver status of at least one domestic points schemes; however, gold status with international programmes is enjoyed by less than 20 per cent of business travellers. The majority fall into the silver tier.

Direct connectivity (20%), price (20%) and comfort during travel (19%) feature as the top three factors that shape an Indian business traveller’s choice of an airline. This is followed by a business friendly schedule (17%) and a business friendly airline that offers facilities such as lounges and in flight charging points (16%).

The greatest bugbear amongst business travellers is the cost of taxes/surcharges when flying. This seems to be more acute with domestic travel with these costs sometimes being higher than the cost of the flight. Travel has been major fallout of the financial meltdown. 67% of respondents agreed with the notion that, when times are hard, travel is one of the first and easiest cuts to make. However things seem to have tracked back with business travel becoming a part of corporate need.

Source: TravelBizMonitor

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