Differing Buying Behavior of Business and Leisure Travelers for Air Tickets

Airlines consider business travelers as a totally distinct market segment from the leisure travelers. The creation of this distinction helps airlines in devising suitable policies so as to gain maximum market segment. However, this distinction is also the result of difference in buying behavior of these two segments of population with respect to the air tickets. Some of these differences are summed up as:

1.Need for flights: Business people need to fly to domestic and international destinations as employees or business owners for professional or business reasons. However, the leisure travelers travel more for enjoyment and refreshment. Business travelers form a large proportion of the frequent flyers as compared to leisure travelers who do not travel often. So, the former are more likely to gain more rewards miles which can be redeemed later on.

2.Flexibility in choice: This is another major difference in the buying behavior of the leisure and business travelers. The business travelers can not choose a different destination for their meetings unilaterally. Nor can they reschedule their meetings to a different time on their own. If business travelers miss to do flight booking at right time, then they miss their business meet or opportunity. However, the leisure travelers enjoy a far greater degree of flexibility in the choice of destination where they would like to travel for vacations. So, if the business meet does not happen, the travel does not happen but if leisure travelers are not able to go to their planned destination for some reason, there is always an alternative destination to spend the vacations.

3.Days of travel: While doing flight booking, business travelers are mindful of the fact that business can be transacted only during the weekdays and, therefore, prefer to fly mostly during the weekdays. However, the leisure travelers are mostly looking for vacations during the weekends. This is a factor which the airline considers in pricing their flights. The travel agencies also price their products such as hotel rooms differently during the weekdays and weekends due to this behavior of the people. For this reason, it is not surprising to find that the cheap ticket prices are found on Tuesdays and Wednesdays since these days see less demand from leisure travelers.

The direct implication of determining the consumer behavior is to devise proper policies and schemes relating to different market segments. Since business travelers are more likely to be frequent fliers, attractive corporate schemes can be carved out for providing air tickets to employees for their travel. Another important purpose is to map how the customer buying behavior is changing with time and what changes in policies need to be made for maximizing the gains.