• Women book earlier and pay less for their business travel

    CWT Solutions Group recently released a white paper, “Gender differences in booking business travel: advance booking behavior and associated financial impact.” Catalin Ciobanu, Senior Director Data & Analytics, and Jim Lungu, Manager Big Data Analysis & Visualization, share findings below.

    When it comes to business travel, all travelers are not alike, and different traveler groups tend to behave differently. Among the many components of traveler behavior, advance purchasing stands out for two reasons. First, it has the potential to lower the cost of the trip. In general, the later we buy, the more expensive the tickets get. Second, buying early lowers the stress of the traveler as it avoids a potential sold-out flight situation.

    "Business woman walking in airport"

    So how early do business travelers book? The answer is about three weeks before the departure, on average, though subtle differences exist within the different traveler subsets.

    By analyzing a large dataset of flights booked all over the world, we uncovered the following insights:

    • Women book about 2 days earlier than their male counterparts. They also pay on average $17 less per ticket, which amounts to about 2% of the average ticket price.
    • Older travelers book earlier, which is good news for all of us! The age of the travelers has a more pronounced effect than gender: between 30 and 70 years of age, the advance booking improves by roughly 5 days
    • Frequent travelers book later. For road-warriors (at least 20 trips/year), the advance booking behavior is very much the same between the two genders

    While we managed to tackle the “what” part, the “why” is still an open question. Our results already account for a multitude of factors such as the route flown, the departure week, the ticket class, or the length of trip. We also considered effect of the company policy: are women booking earlier in order to meet the recommended deadlines? Most companies have policies requiring their employees to book 2 or 3 weeks in advance; however, women book earlier even if when the booking horizon is more than four weeks in advance.

    Read the full report here.