Press release – 11 August 2008 – Amadeus
Amadeus, a global leader in technology and distribution solutions for the travel and tourism industry, has today revealed the results of a recent online poll among UK business and leisure travel agents.
The poll looked at how travel bookings have been affected by the soaring oil/fuel prices, and the impact this is having on rail bookings in particular as customers look to source cheaper travel alternatives.
Following a previous poll in May, there appears to be a continued optimism within the industry as both leisure and business agents are experiencing an increase in travel bookings during the first six months of 2008, compared to the same period last year.
Business agents saw the most dramatic rise, with 61% experiencing an increase in travel booking activity, with over 45% of leisure agents echoing this. However, 85% of leisure agents believe the increase in the cost of oil/fuel is having an impact on demand for flight bookings, as did 51% of business agents, with rail bookings benefiting from this.
Of the leisure agents polled:
Over 40% of respondents noted an increase in rail bookings this year
Of those experiencing an increase in rail bookings, the majority attributed this to the credit crunch
Nearly 65% believe the number of overall bookings will be maintained or increase over the next six months, compared with the same period in 2007
Of the business agents polled:
- 51% said the increase in oil/fuel prices has had an impact on demand for flight bookings
- Nearly 30% foresee no change in business over the next six months, with a further 58% predicting that bookings will increase between 5% and 20% compared with the same period in 2007
- 58% of responding agents experienced an increase in rail bookings, with the majority believing that the credit crunch is the main factor driving this increase
Elaine Seeto, director of marketing for Amadeus UK and Ireland, said: “With both leisure and business travel agents reporting an increase in bookings during the first half of 2008 compared to the same period last year, confidence remains high among agents taking part in our survey.
“It was interesting to note an upsurge in interest for rail travel, which validates Amadeus’ focus on deploying easier ways to book non-air services including rail, car, hotel, cruise holidays and add-ons like transfers and sightseeing tours.
“The recent acquisition of a controlling interest in Onerail, which provides a suite of technology solutions to the rail industry, will no doubt deliver further advances in this area. Regardless of what the economic outlook is likely to be in the short- to mid-term, Amadeus UK remains committed to helping our travel agency partners compete effectively and deliver value to their customers.”
The majority of leisure travel respondents (52%) felt that current UK economic conditions are having a moderate negative impact on traditional network carriers, and 24% felt that demand for first class travel was being severely impacted. But 47% of leisure travel agents reported little or no change in demand for UK domestic flights, compared to European and transatlantic flights which are being moderately impacted.
Not surprisingly, most business travel professionals surveyed (59%) felt that business class airlines are experiencing a moderate to severe negative impact due to the economy.
But 63% of business travel agents said there was minimal if any negative impact on demand for UK domestic flights, while 57% felt that demand for European flights was also unchanged.