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CWT research reveals women book flights earlier and pay less

Big data analytics approach opens opportunities for new insights and further personalisation

Women book their flights 1.9 days earlier than their male counterparts, according to Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT)’s analysis of 6.4 million air booking transactions. They therefore pay an average of around two per cent less for their tickets than men.

The full findings are published today by CWT in a white paper: “Gender differences in booking business travel: advance booking behaviour and associated financial impact”.

The financial implications of these findings are significant. For companies with 1,000 business travellers, the difference – and therefore the potential saving – is just under $50,000 a year. That rises to $1 million for a traveller base of 20,000.

CWT Solutions Group worked with Javier Donna, Assistant Professor of Economics at The Ohio State University, and Gregory Veramendi, Assistant Professor of Economics at Arizona State University. Using advanced statistical techniques, they were able to quantify a direct link between gender and flight booking patterns. Further details about the statistical analysis are available in the white paper.

Other findings include the fact that people tend to book flights further in advance the older they are. Additionally, as people’s flying frequency increases, they typically book flights closer to their departure date. Interestingly, the gender gap almost disappears among the most frequent travellers.

The analysis technique can be used to examine other areas of travel, helping travel managers gain new insights by understanding traveller behaviour better.  This will help develop personalisation, including more targeted messages, more precise travel management and improved programme efficiency.

Catalin Ciobanu, Senior Director Data & Analytics in the CWT Solutions Group, said, “This analysis technique opens up a whole new range of opportunities in the quest for personalised travel. It can also be applied to many other types of traveler segmentation, including geography, booking channel used, or individual business unit, for example. Ultimately, by knowing our travellers better we can improve both their experience, as well as the effectiveness and efficiency of corporate travel programmes.”

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