Travel agents are looking ahead to their next challenge. Businesses are authorizing their employees to hit the road again but spending on higher-end services and accommodations has been slow to come back. A new study shows that agents may have more success selling upscale services if they market to the corporate travel department instead of the individual travelers.

The results of the 2012 Fall Travel Trends Survey shows that over half, 55%, of agents are seeing more business bookings than they had last year. About half of these agents also say that only 11% of travelers are opting for first-class air service. At least 50% of these travelers say cost is the key reason for them to buy coach. But 44% say they can’t go first class because of company policy. Hotel operators with luxury or upper upscale facilities are faring a little better with 55% of agents saying their travelers are booking in this sector. When renting cars, only 14.4% of business travelers opt for full size cars. Nearly everyone else is booking midsize cars.

Steve Loucks, CTC, chief communications officer for Travel Leaders Group which sponsored the survey, notes that travel bookings remain strong. However, with individual travelers constrained by the corporate travel department, the next step for agents may be to begin promoting the importance of first-class or business-class air fare in order to ensure that key personnel arrive at their destination relaxed and in the best frame of mind to represent the company.

[Source: Kmet, Mimi. Travel Leaders Say Company Policy Trumps Cost. Travelpulse.com. 24 Sept. 2012. Web. 10 Oct. 2012]