Companies reduce business trips and opt for low-cost airlines

Fewer trips, cheaper and shorter. More and more Spanish companies are choosing low-cost airlines when it comes to business travel. The Catalan company Vueling has felt the effects of this trend and already has 40% of its passengers travel for work-related purposes.


September 14, 2010 11:48 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- Spanish companies are opting for less expensive, shorter business trips. According to a study by Vueling and The Guild of European Business Travel Agents in Spain (GEBTA), the economic crisis has caused 48% of Spanish companies to modify their business trip policies. This means a 26% reduction in number of trips, a 26% increase in the use of low-cost airlines and a 14% reduction in overall costs. The study also shows that around 50% of businesses are now opting for same-day inbound and outbound travel or reducing the number of overnight stays. One of the companies that has seen the most effects of this change in tendency is the Catalan company Vueling. The company has 40% of its passengers flying for business purposes. 

The study shows that more and more businesses, 36% to be concrete, are putting costs in the forefront when it comes to choosing airlines. 26% of businesses take other factors into consideration such as flight schedules, frequencies and using main airports for both the inbound and outbound. 58% value flight change flexibility and almost 50% count on products included in ticket prices, as well as loyalty programmes.

The most popular companies for business trips are, in this order: Iberia, Vueling, Lufthansa, Spanair and Air France. The Vueling and GEBTA joint study obtained their data from 468 online surveys from main Spanish travel agencies during the months of July and August.

Vueling strives for these type of passengers

The Catalan company Vueling is fully aware that around 40% of its passengers travel for business purposes.  According to Vueling’s president, Josep Piqué, this is a result of a very researched company policy that aims to break out of the traditional framework of low-cost companies and offer “what these types of customers want”. Piqué stated that Vueling “is not a low-cost company” but rather a “company with low costs”, which does not avoid using main airports, for instance, with the objective to get this type of customers’ loyalty.

In order to get their client’s loyalty, Vueling has created a “pack go” product that includes the most sought after services from passengers for work-related reasons. Offered services include flight change flexibility, seat assignment and cell phone boarding cards.

Josep Piqué has stated that he does not see companies like Ryanair to be direct competition for Vueling because Ryanair clients “prioritise price” above everything else, a circumstance that is not produced with Vueling. He also mentioned that high-speed trains are not “direct competition” for airline companies that offer long-distance routes. If they were, it would only be for journeys between 500 to 600 kilometres such as the AVE train between Barcelona and Madrid. In this case, he recognised that the competition has already made them “adapt our offers to a new reality”.