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Wednesday, 08 August, 2018, 12 : 37 PM [IST]

Broad gap between corporate & retail airfares in India: Tripeur report

Gorporate travel in India is a USD 40 billion industry. And, there hardly exists any structured document that captures the data, trends, patterns and insights of this industry. Tripeur, the 3rd generation digital platform that automates and manages end-to-end activities of corporate travel from pre-booking to policy adherence and expense report management, being adopted by over 50 medium and large enterprises all across India is uniquely positioned to derive trends and insights in the Indian corporate travel industry, supported by data.

This report highlights the key trends in the Indian corporate travel industry based on a sample of 21,397 tickets booked through the Tripeur platform. This is the first report of the series and Tripeur intends to release updated versions of it, periodically, with expanded scope.

What are the average differences in Corporate & Retail Fares, and what benefits to corporate fares entail?

The price difference between Corporate and Retail fares usually ranges from 0 to 50%. With free seat selection, meal and zero cancellation, the corporate fares make a lot of sense when it comes to business travel. What we observe is that the larger a company is, the more they book corporate fares.

Large enterprises book all their tickets on corporate fares, while the smallest of corporates book only the cheapest fares (usually retail fares). In the segment we serve, we are noticing a trend whereby companies are booking more and more of corporate fares. While we averaged 43.8% corporate fares in 2017, we have seen this go up to 64.1% so far in 2018. Airlines are introducing a product in between corporate and retail fares called “SME Fares” that offer free meal, paid seats and zero change fee (but a small cancellation charge). We expect these fares to lead to increased adoption in the SME segment.

Are there emerging patterns to advance bookings made by Corporates and Businesses across the spectrum?

Based on Tripeur’s booking data, the average length of a business trip is 1.8 days, with majority of them (close to 57%) being short, 1-day trips. Corporate executives, while travelling on business domestically, tend to travel only during weekdays and return to home base for the weekends.

Whereas while on international travel, they tend to include weekends as a part of their trip as well.

What kind of cancellation and re-scheduling patterns are emerging, and what kinds of companies are more volatile when it comes business travel?

19.4% of the tickets booked by corporate travellers are cancelled or rescheduled. Interestingly, tickets booked on corporate fares get cancelled much more (27.8%) than those booked on retail fares (8.7%). There is no particular pattern to cancellations. However, since larger corporates book disproportionately large number of tickets on corporate fare, they tend to cancel more compared to SMEs.

How well does the corporate sector plan their travel, and are there any emergent patterns with regards to advance bookings and time/money saved?

Based on our data, corporate travellers book their travel 2 to 3 days in advance on average (mean) and the median is around 1 to 7 days. While some travellers book their tickets on the same day, most of them book one or two days in advance. The tickets are book in advance (this is mainly for attending events or a fixed schedule travel).

What kind of trends are emerging in the Group Travel sector? Is it streamlined, or do corporates still struggle, and what does the future look like?

Most corporates have regular group bookings - e.g. for their sales planning meetings, employee reward trips or attending industry events or trade shows. Arranging their travel tends to be a nightmare for the travel desk as the logistics for the travel need to be synchronised, and as each traveller provides his/her preferences, the task becomes even more complex. To add to the woes, the air fare keeps jumping for every few seats, thus if several employees are travelling on the same flight, the fares tend to be different for different employees even though the tickets are booked around the same time. Airlines offer group booking services, but only offline. This is one area that is likely to be transformed with the use of technology.

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