Why are Business Travelers not flying as much? Is it the value / price relationship? The airlines only seem to be looking at the price side of the equation as it seems to me they gave up on the value side a long time ago. If anything they seem to reduce value faster than they reduce price in an effort to create more profit (or reduce the loss).
Who is working for whom?
Such logic seems irrational if you want to grow your business. I was reminded by an employee that you “work hard for the boss” (i.e. increase value) he will notice and reward you for it. That “old school” way of business – increase value and then you are rewarded – is it old school and no longer relevant or is it more relevant today than ever before?
I like to think that when I buy something I get more value than the perceived value of my money (the price I pay). If that is my perception then I got a good deal. If I get less value for what I bought than my perceived value of the money I paid then I got a bad deal. No one wants a bad deal and that includes the business traveler.
What is “value” in this equation of business travel? Getting from point A to point B? Is that all there is to the value?
In an economy where more is expected in less time (work compression) it seems that the need to get out and see more customers and vendors has never been more important to a business’ growth. Everyone I hear from says the need for face to face time in business is still real. It will not totally be replaced by video conferencing and other forms of communication.
If that is the case then why are business travelers flying less?
I believe there are two reasons:
• Time: Airline Travel kills time. Point A to Point B travel in the airline experience is usually not in a straight line. It may take longer in many instances to fly than it does to simply get in your car and drive. This is most often the case when you are going distances of less than 500 miles, especially when the travel is between two points that are not major metropolitan areas. If it doesn’t save me time then why pay more to get on an airplane?
• Experience: I hear from a lot of business people who travel. Not one single person I hear from says they enjoy the experience of airline travel. Not One! I would hate to be in a business where no one likes my product and only buys it because or when it is cheap. Or in certain cases my product is the only way to solve their problem (getting from Point A to Point B within an allotted amount of time).
In the private aircraft industry we have done a decent job on the “experience”. Most everyone who flies private aircraft likes the experience. We also score high in the “time saving” category. There is no quicker way to get there than by private aircraft. The one factor we have now solved is the “price” side of the value / price relationship. We can now do it without sacrificing the value side!