March 09, 2009
Economy Means Barebones Biz Travel or None at all
Asks USA Today last week in a piece they did on business travel trends, what will the impact of the global economic meltdown mean for business travel this year?
Ten trend recap below:
1. Air travel on sale. From 2007 through to the middle of 2008, fares were raised 32 times, according to FareCompare.com. We're now back to pre-2007 levels.
2. Capacity cuts continue. Schedules continue to lighten meaning fewer seats available.
3. Ancillary fees proliferate. We're now seeing annoying ancillary fees for pretty much everything. So before you think you're getting a good deal, you may end up paying half the ticket price for checked luggage, meals and snacks, in-flight entertainment, seat selection and more. It's stressful enough as it is to travel today - why add more things to think about? It's like having your cell phone bill go up by 50% because you're suddenly paying for voice mail and accessing your address book.
4. Trimming and downgrading travel spending. Travel cut 10-20% by corporations.
5. Pursuing the business traveler. The article says airlines are making an attempt at giving their best travelers additional services, but I'm not seeing it.
6. International bargains abound. International fares are coming down? Anyone need a housesitter for a month in their second homes? Hawaii, Mexico, the Virgin Islands, I'll even take Brazil baby.
7. Empty hotel rooms and rental cars. Hotels are hurting they say. If hotels would drop the ancillary fees and up the service, it may not be so grim. When times were good, they forgot about service. Time to turn that around.
8. Decline in meetings and attendance. Companies I'm dealing with are cancelling shows, road trips and meetings so my experience matches up with their stats.
9. Right-sizing the regional jet (RJ). Apparently airlines continue to downsize and deploy RJs on routes formerly served by larger Airbus and Boeing aircraft.
10. Resurgence of Internet fares. With the industry in economic turmoil, distressed inventory is out there for the taking.
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