Specifically looking at business travellers, the assessment of over 1,000 people who regularly hire cars for business (on average six times a year) revealed, that men and women were equally likely to hire a car for business purposes (both 20 per cent) in 2015.
This is a significant shift in gender balance compared to past research projects commissioned by the GTMC. In 2014 a regional report into the gender splits of business travellers revealed that men were still more likely to make up the vast majority of business travellers (86 per cent to 14 per cent). In January this year (2015) further research revealed that the gap was narrowing (60 per cent were men and 40 per cent female) but there was still some catching up to do.
The new car hire research demonstrates that the number of women travelling frequently on business is catching up with their male counterparts. Therefore, we can then conclude from a business travel point of view that there must be more women in this market, and that the GTMC’s research signposts a potential change in the labour market.
Paul Wait, chief executive of the GTMC said: “The car hire poll reveals that it’s no more unusual for men to travel frequently on business than women in 2015 and this is very welcome news. Levels of business travel are an excellent indicator of both economic outlook and in this case, equality in the work place. The fact that we are looking at improving levels of confidence as well as greater activity shows that the market is healthy - and growing.”
The car hire research results are being announced today at the annual GTMC conference held in London today to an audience of UK business travel buyers.
The survey, prepared by AVIS and conducted by AudienceNet, also asked respondents when they chose to travel by car, what qualities they looked for in car rental companies, average length of rental and which countries attracted the most international bookings from the UK.
Paul Wait added: “It was important to us as the voice of business travel, that the research into car hire was as comprehensive as possible. The sector is growing and is vital to connectivity for business travellers who need the convenience and flexibility of their own transport in whichever location they find themselves.”
When asked why they chose car travel over other forms of transport, the main reasons for renting cars over choosing public transport were convenience, value and experience/comfort. Unsurprisingly as many of the respondents were employees of small businesses, price was the most important factor when renting a car (67 per cent) over even 24/7 emergency assistance (60 per cent).
Having technological features such as Bluetooth connectivity in the car and a good audio system ranked lower in priorities for business travellers than might be expected (32 per cent and 25 per cent respectively). The cleanliness of the vehicle and the speed and quality of the collection is much more important for business travellers (58 per cent and 56 per cent).
For many car hire companies reading this research the glaring opportunity would be revealed in the fact that only 47 per cent of frequent users said they were contracted to a single car rental company leaving almost one-in-two able to choose between other companies, and just six per cent not sure of their policy. The opportunity for car hire brands to build loyalty in this sector is clearly significant.
The ‘big four’ car hire companies Enterprise, Avis, Hertz and Europcar dominated the research with 73 per cent of all bookings made in the UK. When looking at rental companies abroad, Hertz dominated the results for all age groups with Europcar second and Avis third. Spain was the most popular country for car collection amongst business travellers with 18 per cent of all bookings followed by France (16 per cent) and the US (14 per cent).
Representing a diverse range of travel management companies – from global companies to small independent specialists and top regional agencies – GTMC is the voice of business travel and acts to lobby those who have an impact on the business travel community, together with promoting the activities of its members as the best in quality and value to the business traveller.