Lufthansa City Center (LCC) is the world’s largest independent franchise company in the travel agency market with more than 570 offices in 95 countries and a total turnover of around 5.3 billion euros (business year 2018) – 5,43 billion Euros (business year 2019). LCC is active in the leisure (tourism) and corporate (business travel) sectors. The LCC business travel division operates under the label LCC Business Travel. The chain of owner-managed medium-sized travel agencies includes 300 offices with around 2,400 employees in Germany alone. The travel agency network employs around 5,300 people worldwide.
How Was the Survey Conducted?
From May 20th until June 12th, 2020, LCC conducted a customer survey among all international LCC customers. A total of 2,288 customers – including 1,089 corporate and 1,199 leisure customers – from 48 countries took part in the survey. The majority of these customers came from Western Europe (36.10 percent), followed by Eastern Europe (20.59 percent), Middle East/Africa (12.81 percent), Asia (12.36 percent), The Americas (18.15 percent). Among the corporate respondents, 27 percent were travel managers, 9 percent procurement specialists, 27 per-cent travelers, and 37 percent stated a different area of responsibility.
The purpose was to analyze the travel behavior and the changing needs of travelers during COVID-19. The results showed that travel and face-to-face meetings will not be replaced by virtual meetings in the future. Despite COVID-19, the desire to travel continues to be great, and the demand will increase in the upcoming months.
These findings mean positive news for travel agencies. As stated by Martina Groenegres, Managing Director of Lufthansa City Center International (LCCI): “Our international LCC travel agencies have been tremendously challenged over the past weeks. This survey among our LCC customers emphasizes a positive trend. It reveals the combination of an increasing choice, reduced travel warnings, and the opening of borders, as well as the expert knowledge of the individual LCC travel consultant, will be key for our customers.”
Business travel continues to be important
For most respondents, business travel is vital. Three-quarters of the respondents believe that the volume of travel will decrease by at least 50 percent in 2020. For 2021, the results look more positive: 38 percent said that the travel volume is going to be the same as in 2019. Replacing business travel with virtual meetings is out of the question for the majority, 83 percent prefer real meetings versus video conferences. Also, the travel plans after COVID-19 are promising. 53 percent plan to journey again after three months, 34 percent after six months. However, with a similar or smaller budget. Among all respondents, air travel remains the main means of transport for their business trips.
Consumers want to travel
The desire to travel is great among leisure customers. The majority is planning a trip in 2020– 48 percent regional and cross-border and 30 percent intercontinental. Many of them can hardly wait: 36 percent intend to travel after three months and 32 percent after six months. For more than half of the responders, last-minute offers are also an option. Beach and city breaks continue to be very popular (with 62 percent and 54 percent), followed by countryside and mountain holidays (each with 33 percent). As for the means of transport, 90 percent of those questioned prefer air travel over their car (73 percent), and 68 percent want to stay in a hotel.
The expertise of travel agencies is wanted
In the future, travel agencies and their expertise will be in demand more than ever. “Apart from new technologies, the relevance of care products as well as new hygiene and safety services, it is the trusted relation to the competent travel expert with local contacts world-wide that makes a difference”, says Martina Groenegres. Also, additional information will be required. For example, 50 percent of the corporate customers want information on the local health situation, 24-hour service, or help in adapting travel guidelines. 43 percent of the leisure customers would pay extra for the service required due to COVID-19.