Clear Skies Ahead: New Tool Will Forecast Business Travel
The first-ever Business Traveler Sentiment Index, developed by the Global Business Travel Association Foundation, will predict the current and future climate for business travel in the United States and abroad.
The Global Business Travel Association has moved into the forecasting business. This week, the GBTA Foundation announced a new Business Traveler Sentiment Index that will measure the amount of business travel, both current and expected, in the United States and around the world.
The index is intended to help GBTA supplier members forecast business travel demand and to help buyers, or corporate travel managers, better understand the market, said Joseph Bates, vice president of research at the GBTA Foundation.
“Essentially, we’ll be looking at a survey of business travelers and asking them over various periods of time about their recent experiences, as well as their forward-looking view in the near-term regarding business travel,” Bates said. “We’re trying to gather another piece of information that we don’t currently have that will help us understand the direction of business travel going forward.”
The foundation developed the tool in partnership with American Express.
To calculate the benchmark, researchers will randomly survey, via an online questionnaire, business travelers throughout the United States and other countries, including Brazil, Germany, Australia, and Japan.
“The questions that we might be asking on a regular basis will have to do with how much travel they’re doing and how much travel they expect to do going forward,” Bates said. “It may also entail specific use of air, hotel, cars, rail, etc., but it’s really looking at the amount of travel they anticipate rather than their satisfaction levels.”
In addition to a set of standard, routine questions, the survey will ask questions that are more topical at the moment. The fist report is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2015, with follow-up reports produced every quarter for the United States and annually for other regions of the globe.
The index “has never been done before,” said Bates, “so it will give us and our members another piece of information that can help them plan their budgets going forward and also understand what is happening in the business travel space.”