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Identifying global traveler tribes.
Wednesday, 29th October 2008
Source : Egencia, an Expedia, Inc. Company
US business travelers are 'Hyper-Connected' while French are most 'Experience-Hungry' and Brits watch their company's bottom-line.

Egencia™, an Expedia, Inc. company, today announced the results of its most comprehensive research study into business travel and travelers to date.

With more than 2,400 respondents across France, Germany, the UK, the U.S. and Canada, the survey compares psychographic and demographic groups to provide an unprecedented view of today's business traveler.

More than two out of three surveyed enjoy business trips and 85 percent state that traveling is a key reason why they like their current job. However, priorities for business travelers are very different and the research identified six key demographic or psychographic groups or 'tribes' that unite corporate travelers globally.

Identifying Global Corporate Traveler Tribes:

The largest group, made up of 39 percent of those surveyed, is the 'experience-hungry' travelers. These people try to balance business travel with personal interests, scheduling in as much free time as possible so they can explore new destinations. In their briefcase, the experience-hungry traveler is most likely to carry a camera, a city map and, most importantly, a shopping list.

This group was well represented by all countries surveyed, peaking with 44 percent of French business travelers, it also illustrates that corporate travel now often incorporates personal priorities as well as business. In terms of position in the company, there are interesting differences: 41 percent of employees are experience-hungry, but this drops to 29 percent when it comes to top management.

The 'hyper-connected' tribe comprises of 23 percent of corporate travelers. This group is most often married and although they don't necessarily enjoy traveling for work, they like the opportunity to develop business networks. Top managers are more likely to fall into this tribe than employees (30 percent of top management vs. 19 percent of employees).

Not surprisingly this 'hyper-connected' tribe tends to carry a BlackBerry and a WiFi-ready laptop, and they are very focused on their business objectives. At the highest, more than one in four (28 percent) of U.S. corporate travelers belong to this tribe. In other countries the rate declines with the lowest being Canada (19 percent).

The third largest group is the 'cost-conscious' travelers. Making up 14 percent of travelers, this group is most likely to work for a company with less than 50 employees and they make sure that value for money is the key priority in every business trip. 17 percent of UK corporate travelers belong to this tribe; more than in any other country. The least cost conscious being the French, with only 9 percent in this tribe.

In the remaining 24 percent of travelers, three smaller tribes have been identified. Seven percent make up the home-focused group who enjoy traveling the least. 36 to 45 year-old corporate travelers are more likely to be in this tribe than any other age group.

People with young children are also more likely to find themselves in this tribe. Seasoned travelers (6 percent) are the most frequent travelers, making around 25 business trips a year. For these people, travel is a core part of their work routine and half of them have assistants to help them organize trips.

Finally, the smallest, yet potentially the fastest growing tribe is the green travelers. At just 4 percent of those surveyed, this group only travel by plane if there is no other option and have frequently considered investing in projects to reduce CO2 emissions to offset their travel.

Commenting on the research results, Jean-Pierre Remy, President of Egencia said, "Today's corporate traveler has more demands placed on them than ever before. As a result, the lines between business and leisure travel are blurring as business travelers are driven by balancing personal and professional needs. Egencia's vast hotel content offers not only important amenities such as free WiFi and enhanced check-in for those hyper-connected or seasoned travelers but also the integration of user-generated content so travelers can find ways to enjoy downtime after work. As a result, we have taken action and improved our offering based on the feedback from our travel managers and travellers."

The United States corporate traveler psyche:

Most (76 percent) American respondents to the survey mention that they enjoy traveling for business more than those in other countries (66 percent) on average, even though 39 percent think that a day of business travel is much more tiring than a day of normal work.

In addition, Americans are more sensitive to jetlag but deal better with the weariness of travel as compared to respondents in other countries. This is due in part to the multiple time zones within the U.S. itself. When asked which cities they most enjoyed traveling to, American travelers mentioned London (67 percent) and Paris (46 percent) while other cities averaged 20 percent.

While on the road, Americans are the leading hyper-connected tribe. Seventy eight percent of American respondents want to stay at a functional hotel with WiFi rather than a charming one without. The top three items that Americans carry with them are a WiFi ready laptop (78 percent), books (63 percent) and a Blackberry (58 percent).

"Americans' ability to take advantage of technology helps them stay in touch with work as well as with friends and family while on the road," explains Rob Greyber, senior vice president of North America for Egencia. "Based on these results, this indicates that Americans may enjoy business travel more because they are able to stay connected, balancing work and personal obligations."

Survey conclusions:

The vast majority of people enjoy their business travel experience, however, it is clear that needs are changing rapidly as corporate travelers take a more holistic view on what they expect from working away from home. In short, corporate travelers are curious and eager not just to go through the places they visit but actually enjoy them as much as business needs would allow. The industry as a whole must keep ahead of this behavioral curve to provide the service customers are now looking for.

Egencia currently offers a range of award-winning products and services that benefit travel bookers, business travelers and travel managers and will be using the insights from this research to build on its extensive portfolio of tailor-made products and services that help customers maximize their travel experience.

Research methodology:

The research was conducted by Strategy One between May and July 2008 across 5 markets: USA, Canada, France, Germany and England with a sample of 2400 respondents in total. 40 percent of this sample were existing Egencia customers with 60% being random business travelers. For the purposes of this survey, business travelers were defined as people who work for a company, travel at least three times a year for business and slept at least once outside home.
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