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New premium traveller study shows strong growth in Asian region

11-Aug-2011 9:04 AM

Global Business Travel Association released (10-Aug-2011) a new study on premium traveller growth, preferences and profiles conducted by its GBTA Foundation education and research arm, with support from Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The Consumer Choice in Premium Air Travel study found 42% of Asian region premium travelers plan to fly premium more over the next twelve months, with 40% planning to fly the same amount as last year. In Europe, 83% of respondents plan to fly premium the same or more over the next 12 months (with 27% planning to fly more) and in the US, 81% plan to fly premium the same or more (with 21% planning to fly more). Data shows that travelers who make purchasing decisions based on aircraft type prefer Boeing aircraft nearly two to one over its competition in the long-haul segment. The study identified three categories of premium air travellers:

  • Safe and Sounders – Travellers who are risk averse and want airlines with a strong safety record and a history of financial stability. They prefer airlines that provide high quality in-flight products and services.
  • Experiencers - Slightly younger, excited about travel and look for airlines to enhance the experience. They are likely to change airlines frequently and enjoy flying the flagship airline of their destinations. Experiencers also seek value and are likely to book based on price.
  • Loyalists - Travellers who enjoy the treatment that comes with frequently flying the same airline. They like to build frequent flyer points, enjoy flying their national airline and want to be recognised with upgrades and special treatments. In general, Loyalists are less motivated to choose an airline based on amenities and safety record.

Selection of airline:

  • 84% of premium travelers rank an airline's reputation and safety record as the most important factor;
  • 67% rank the availability of lie flat seats as being an important factor.
  • 51% say that the availability of a pre-flight lounge is a determining factor.
  • 47% are motivated by the quality or selection of in-flight entertainment.

The study found significant regional differences, with premium travelers based in Asia notably different from their European and American counterparts. Asian premium travellers are typically younger, more technologically savy and their employers' travel management policies are more lenient. The study also found a number of  differences among premium travelers in terms of the main factors that drive their airline choice:

  • Asian travelers: Superior food and beverage options and high-tech amenities.
  • US travelers: Availability of a premium class of service.
  • European travelers: Availability of a pre-flight lounge as well as new/modernized aircraft.