Avis Rent a Car today released the findings from its annual business traveller research, Corporate Connections. Surveying 2,500 business personnel from across Europe, it revealed an optimistic outlook for the sector and despite a challenging 2012, predicts UK business travel will see a 27% increase during the coming year – up from a 20% growth between 2011-2012.
The research revealed just how integral a role travel plays in modern business, with 50% of respondents already travelling for work (not commuting) at least once a month over the last 12 months, 15% travelling weekly and 7% on a daily basis.
Significantly, the findings revealed a growing demand from business travellers to maximise business opportunities in emerging markets, such as Asia and Latin America, with travel from the UK to these new destinations rocketing 21% between 2011 and 2013.
Kaye Ceille, Managing Director at Avis UK, said of the findings: “Understanding the needs of our customers and evolving our service in line with their requirements is what drives our business. Business travel is not limited to just one location – in today’s turbulent environment, businesses need to be flexible enough to follow new opportunities in emerging markets. At Avis, we’re equipped to handle this need, internationally and locally, with our network of over 5,200 locations operating in 165 countries.”
Service over price
The research also discovered that despite businesses tightening their purse strings, service, not price, was the main factor for business travellers when determining a travel provider, with 20% choosing quality and 17% speed of service with the remainder of respondents choosing:
· Online booking solutions (14%)
· Loyalty offers (5%)
· Exclusive incentives (4%)
The strong affinity with service helps to explain the high levels of loyalty amongst business travellers to a particular travel provider, with 88% saying that they will often or always use the same brand, 12% higher than the European average, placing business travellers in the UK amongst the most loyal.
Kaye Ceille added: “Despite economic pressures, it’s reassuring that British businesses still value quality over cost. We recognise that for our business travellers, speed and customer service is a priority and as such we offer innovative products such as online check-in and Avis Preferred, the fastest and most convenient way to rent cars.”
Convenience is key
Car travel remains the most popular method of transport amongst business travellers with 64% of responses stating they travel by car, compared to 24% for public transport and 11% for air travel. The motivation for choosing car travels is convenience according to 81% of respondents, significantly ahead of cost, which was only ranked as the most important factor by 32% of travellers.
The importance of convenience was further demonstrated when respondents were asked to consider the top three factors which would influence their choice of business vehicle. 27% of respondents believed vehicle delivery and collection was important, followed by road side assistance (25%) and GPS (19%).