The European business travel market
This paper contains a discussion of the methods by which the value of the European business travel market is estimated and reviews the types of research undertaken in the business travel sector. The basic shortcomings of using market research to estimate market value are also discussed. The central argument behind the paper is that research data without relevant market knowledge is highly misleading. In order to provide comprehensive market analysis it is important to focus on both company policy and traveller preferences. To date much of the research undertaken has focused on the traveller. In terms of available market research data the business travel sector is poorly served with information and what information is available is expensive to obtain. As a result only travel operators with large marketing budgets can afford to research market opportunities properly. However, from a methodological perspective the key issues affecting travel demand are more efficiently researched by combining quantitative traveller research with more detailed qualitative interviews with company decision makers. It is thus possible to relate corporate financial planning to travel propensity. The operating environment for research services is changing. Greater attention is being placed by travel companies on database marketing and this should reduce the associated research costs for identifying in-scope travellers. Research agencies which tended to offer travel clients a field and tab approach are now looking to add value to their research product by offering a more comprehensive research product.
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