The ‘TNS Indian Travel Dossier 2005’ on travel patterns and habits of the urban business and leisure travellers throw up some interesting information. Air travellers from small and medium enterprises and self-employed persons extensively search the Net for information on the destination, travel deals, etc, unlike those from the corporate segment.
While travellers cheques are now passé, credit card usage for overseas travel has gone up compared to domestic travel.
According to the TNS report, meetings and conferences are significant amongst corporates and to some extent among the self-employed segments. While trains still dominate the mode of travel, air travel is catching up and now accounts for 27 per cent of all local business travel. The choice is still dictated to a large extent by company policies, with the average trip duration being three to four days.
North India leads the way with a significantly higher travel incidence. While domestic business and leisure travel accounted for 11 per cent each of the travel incidence, overseas travel was 3 per cent each for business and domestic travel. While the overall overseas travel incidence may seem low, this figure represents a significant 25 per cent of all travel. Most travel was undertaken by people in the 26-40 age group, however, the average age was somewhat lower in the case of salaried employees.
“TNS has decided to track this sector closely over the coming years. With age profiles getting younger and travel intensity on the rise, all service providers to this boom sector, be they airlines, hotels or travel agents will need to focus a lot on building and differentiating their brands,” said Ganapathy Subramanian, Director, TNS India.
The average age is marginally lower in the case of the corporate segment and also among travellers from the metros. A significant proportion of such travellers come from the IT and financial sectors. While cellphones are a near universal phenomenon, ownership/ usage of the Internet and credit cards is much higher in metros compared to other cities, though the share of travel from such cities is significant.
20 per cent of all air travel is now in business class, while the use of discount fare options is largely restricted to the corporate segment. This represents a business opportunity in the other segments.
While second AC is the predominant choice in rail travel, the self-employed segment uses first AC to a significant extent. Overall mode of travel seems to be more driven by network (air connections) and company policy rather than preference.
As in business travel, South East Asia is by far the most travelled destination for overseas leisure travellers, followed by the UK and the US. There is a relatively higher proportion of first-time travellers. Most trips are planned and package tours account for about a third of all such trips.
The study was conducted amongst 6,433 males from SEC A & B households up to the age of 55 years, working full time. The study also looked at involvement and commitment levels of customer to various airline and hotel brands using the Conversion Model (TNS business solution).