Survey indicates business travellers prefer air if rail journey is over 3 hours, even if rail is cheaper
Research by the company Hogg Robinson Group (HRG) suggests that when travelling domestically for business, air journeys are preferred to rail if the rail journey is over 3 hours, despite potential cost savings (the company is paying). But there are differences between routes. The time taken to get to the airport, and from the airport to the final destination need to be taken into account. There is recognition that useful work can be done on the train, so that is not time wasted. For trips between Manchester and Edinburgh, about 90% of business travellers go by air. Business trips from Birmingham to Edinburgh or Glasgow are generally by air. But business travellers between London and Manchester are about 3 times as likely to go by train, rather then air (journey time is 2hours 11mins by train, and about half that by air). HRG now have a phone app that enables the traveller to compare times and costs of domestic rail/air journeys.
Time is money – HRG survey reveals journey time more valuable to business travellers than cost
Wednesday February 27 2013
Three is the magic number, according to Hogg Robinson Group (HRG), the international corporate services company, when corporates are choosing whether to travel by air or rail.
HRG’s research on traveller behaviour shows that when travelling domestically for business, air beats rail as soon as the rail journey is over three hours despite potential cost savings.
Stewart Harvey, Group Commercial Director at HRG, says: “We have seen a noticeable trend for clients to accept longer journey times. Travellers do understand that they can get more work done on a train, but actual cost and time savings aren’t always clear. For example, a time factor often overlooked when choosing travel arrangements is the distance and time it takes to get from the train station to the city centre or airport. Time equals money, so clients must make sure that their travel policies reflect this for the total door-to-door journey, rather than just the air or rail travel time.”
Tony Berry, Industry and Airfare Distribution Director at HRG says: “We advise clients to always explore their options. Competition between airlines and rail companies on UK domestic routes is constantly evolving and with change comes opportunity for our clients to really benefit. Our comprehensive, up-to-the-minute data ensures that our clients can get the best value – both in terms of journey time and cost.”
Hogg Robinson says:
HRG i-Suite, HRG’s web-based portal that integrates a self-service reservation tool, data consolidation and reporting, expense management and traveller tracking capabilities, as well as the recent HRG i-Suite mobile application. The mobile application provides immediate access for travellers on the move.
HRG study highlights rail vs air conundrum
28 February 2013 (e-tid)
Business travellers prefer to fly rather than take the train if the rail journey is over three hours, irrespective of any potential cost savings.
That’s according to research from Hogg Robinson Group, which showed that while the three hour 31 minute Manchester-Edinburgh rail route offers an approximate cost saving of 56%, only 10% of business travellers opted for it over the alternative 55 minute flight.
And, despite rail savings per trip ranging from 24%-37%, the routes Birmingham to Edinburgh, Glasgow to London and Glasgow to Birmingham are not commonly used by business travellers, with the four- to five-hour journey times deemed to be too long.
However, corporates are three times more likely to book rail over air on the London-Manchester route, despite the flight taking half the time of the two hour 11 minute train journey.
Rail bookings are also nearly as common as air reservations for London-Newcastle, where the train journey is just under three hours – almost three times as long as the corresponding flight.
Stewart Harvey, group commercial director at HRG, said: ‘We have seen a noticeable trend for clients to accept longer journey times.
‘Travellers do understand that they can get more work done on a train, but actual cost and time savings aren’t always clear. For example, a time factor often overlooked when choosing travel arrangements is the distance and time it takes to get from the train station to the city centre or airport.
‘Time equals money, so clients must make sure that their travel policies reflect this for the total door-to-door journey, rather than just the air or rail travel time.’
Tony Berry, industry and airfare distribution director at HRG, added: ‘We advise clients to always explore their options. Competition between airlines and rail companies on UK domestic routes is constantly evolving and with change comes opportunity for our clients to really benefit.
‘Our comprehensive, up-to-the-minute data ensures that our clients can get the best value – both in terms of journey time and cost.’
The newest version of HRG’s i-Suite, launched last month, offers an air versus rail price comparison tool.
East Coast Trains takes on the airlines
East Coast Trains is slashing the cost of its Scottish Executive ticket between Edinburgh and London in a bold move to win more business from airlines.
The ticket will cost only £99 return compared to the usual £199 from this Sunday (February 3) until March 4.
This offer is only available through TMCs, and as with the normal Scottish Executive deal it is booked in standard class but automatically upgraded to first class, which means it does not contravene travel policy when first class travel is forbidden. The walk-up “anytime” return first class fare is £416.
The ticket is bookable up to 18.00 on the day before travel, and the return ticket is flexible. It includes complimentary at-seat meals in first class, and free wifi.
With a journey time of 4h-4h 30m between the two capitals, East Coast is already chipping away at airlines’ market share. This has increased by 2% in the last year to 24%, whereas from Newcastle to London it has reached 60%.
“We are already seeing modal shift by business travellers from air to rail, and we are steadily gaining share on Edinburgh-London,” said an East Coast spokesman.
“The latest National Passenger Survey by transport watchdog Passenger Focus shows we have achieved 92% overall satisfaction, the highest score on East Coast since the survey was launched back in 1999.”
East Coast is currently being run by the Department for Transport, and no date has been fixed for the franchise to be re-let. An intermediate business or premium economy-style class may then be introduced.