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TRAVEL PROFESSIONALS EXPERT 1993 TO BE INDUSTRY'S STRONGEST IN THREE YEARS, SURVEY REPORTS

 LISLE, Ill., Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time in three years, travel professionals are predicting a strong upsurge in travel during 1993 as a result of increased consumer confidence in a U.S. economic recovery stemming from the recent election of Bill Clinton as U.S. president, according to the Budget Rent a Car 1993 Travel Barometer Survey released today.
 Budget's annual survey of travel agents and corporate travel managers also found that travel professionals are concerned that last summer's airfare wars will hurt, rather than help, the travel industry in the long term. Over 75 percent of travel professionals surveyed said the airfare wars fostered a "sale" mentality, with consumers continuing to seek the lowest rates possible that are comparable to the summer's super saver rates. More than half of those surveyed believed that the discounting further destabilized the airline industry, which will ultimately drive up prices. Less than 20 percent of those surveyed felt that the airfare wars stimulated travel over the long term.
 "The upcoming change in administration at the White House has certainly improved consumer confidence, which is a welcomed boost for the entire travel industry," said David Sparks, Budget's senior vice president of marketing and sales. "However, our survey also confirmed the fact that today's travel consumer is more discriminating than ever before -- seeking higher value and service -- and that the travel companies will have to adjust significantly to compete effectively in the current travel market."
 Business Travel Growth Expected
 According to the '93 Travel Barometer, 62 percent of travel agents surveyed said they expect to see an increase in domestic business travel in 1993, while 53 percent anticipate increases in international business travel.
 Corporate travel managers were slightly less optimistic than travel agents. Forty-seven percent of the corporate travel managers polled said they expect an increase in business travel in 1993.
 In-Person Meeting Preferred
 Despite the increasingly aggressive steps by corporate travel managers to control business travel costs, face-to-face contact continues to be a critical aspect of doing business, according to the Budget survey. More than two-thirds of corporate travel managers indicated that their companies would probably not use teleconferencing or video conferencing to replace in-person meetings.
 "There have been numerous predictions that these new communication technologies would replace business travel, but the 93 Travel Barometer clearly demonstrates the continuing importance of meeting with customers and colleagues in person," said Sparks.
 Leisure Travel On The Upswing
 The 93 Travel Barometer also found a very positive outlook for leisure travel, with 63 percent of travel agents expecting increases over the next six months as the economy rebounds. The percentage of agents who said they foresee an increase in international leisure travel in 1993 went up by 11 points over last year, from 46 to 57, with the most positive response from travel agents in the West. On the domestic front, only 8 percent reported they expect a travel decline in 1993.
 Rental Car Usage Increases
 As a possible result of the recent trend of Americans traveling closer to their homes and business, the 93 Barometer found that the use of rental cars had increased substantially last year over 1991. Thirty- five percent of corporate travel managers said their companies' use of rental cars had increased over the last six months, representing a 150 percent jump over the same period a year ago. In addition, 23 percent of corporate travel managers and 19 percent of travel agents indicated that the duration of the car rentals for business travel increased during the past six months. For corporate travel managers, that figure represents a 270 percent increase over last year. Some 12 percent of corporate travel managers reported increases in the number of category upgrades. Travel agents, on the other hand, reported business renters in the South were more likely to upgrade the size of their cars than renters from other parts of the country.
 Leisure travel car rentals are also on the rise, according to the survey. Twenty-nine percent of travel agents reported increases during the past six months while 20 percent noted an increase in the duration of leisure rentals.
 Value Grows As Travel Marketing Tool
 While price remains the leading factor when booking business travel, 78 percent of travel professionals surveyed said that getting value for their client's money was the second most important variable, followed by customer service and convenience. In fact, the percentage of respondents indicating that customer service was important increased 36 percent over last year, while convenience jumped by 43 percent from 42 to 60 percent.
 When asked to define value associated with the rental car process, 56 percent of travel professionals said price was the most important factor, followed by convenient locations (21 percent); quick, efficient, friendly service (15 percent), and clean, well maintained cars (7 percent).
 "Clearly we're seeing a shift in expectations on the part of business travelers as the overall concept of value assumes greater importance in the purchase decision process," said Sparks. "To be successful in the 90s, travel companies need to compete effectively on service and value, and not just emphasize price."
 The Budget Rent a Car 1993 Travel Barometer surveyed over 500 travel agents and corporate managers from Nov. 23 to Dec. 1, 1992. The research was conducted by Maritz Marketing Research, Inc., a St. Louis- based independent research firm.
 Budget Rent a Car is the world's third-largest car and truck rental company with nearly 3,400 locations including more than 740 airport locations in over 110 countries and territories. Budget has more than 1,100 locations in the United States, including nearly 310 airport locations.
 -0- 1/13/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Graphs and illustrations reflecting the results of Budget Rent a Car 1993 Travel Barometer Survey are available by calling Norman Bimbach at 212-536-8722./
 /CONTACT: Sandra Allen, 708-955-7058, or Heidi Yeranossian, 212-536-8712, for Budget Rent a Car/


CO: Budget Rent a Car ST: Illinois IN: LEI SU: ECO

SM -- NY048 -- 4478 01/13/93 14:04 EST
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