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13 Dec, 2012

In Bad Economy, Cost is All That Counts, Airline Perks Matter Little, Qualtrics Survey Shows


PROVO, Utah-December 12, 2012-(BUSINESS WIRE)–Qualtrics,  a global provider of enterprise data collection and survey software, today released the results of a Holiday Travel Survey that show a continued staggering economy is forcing big discounts to the top of the wish list for this year’s holiday travellers.

Qualtrics partnered with Research Now to survey more than 1,100 U.S. adults planning to travel by air this holiday season, and more than half (55 percent) say lower fares are the single most important factor airlines could improve in order to secure their business during this holiday season and for future travels.

Nearly all respondents (94 percent) state that the price of tickets is important to critical when choosing an airline this season. Only 25 percent of survey respondents say amenities such as free Wi-Fi access, snacks and beverages are the most important in order to improve the holiday travel experience. In addition, 14 percent of holiday travelers say free bags would play the most important role, and only 6 percent craved additional legroom.

Regardless of the fare price, holiday travelers say that previous experience with a given airline also plays a major role when choosing to book this holiday season. A vast majority (92 percent) of those surveyed say previous experience is important to critical.

“Capturing real-time, voice-of-the-customer data is important for every company, and for many companies, it is most critical around the holiday season,” said Dani Wanderer, chief marketing officer at Qualtrics. “Companies can use the do-it-yourself Qualtrics survey-platform to obtain valuable customer insights in hours, rather than weeks.

As could be expected, holiday travelers are also dreading the typical airline travel nightmares this year. Nearly half of respondents (45 percent) say their greatest holiday travel nightmare is lost luggage, followed closely by flight delays at 30 percent. It appears crowds are expected this time of year, as only 10 percent say long lines are their greatest travel nightmare this season.

Ahead of last month’s Thanksgiving holiday, AAA predicted 3.14 million people would travel by air alone, citing the economy for a 10 percent reduction in median spending to $498 per traveler. Results from Qualtrics show that over 50 percent of holiday travelers plan to spend between $300 and $500 per person on airfare this holiday season. In addition, 37 percent say they are planning to spend over $500 per ticket.

Additional findings include:

  • Friendliness and helpfulness of staff can go a long way when booking – 91 percent rank airline staff as important to critical;
  • Entertainment and connectivity seem to be the least of travelers concerns this season with nearly half of respondents citing inflight entertainment and Wi-Fi are unimportant or only slightly important (48 and 41 percent respectively);
  • The primary reason for traveling over the holidays for 76 percent is to see loved ones and friends. Only 4 percent of respondents say they are travelling to see family and friends out of guilt.

Holiday travelers also gave high marks to the airlines for their performance in 2011 with 60 percent of this year’s travelers rating last year’s travel experience a 7 or better on a scale of 1 to 10.

Survey Methodology

Qualtrics and Research Now surveyed 1,100 general consumers from November 15 to November 20, 2012. The sample was drawn from a Research Now online opt-in panel of U.S. general consumers. The survey was conducted online via Research Now’s Valued Opinions™ Panel and social media sample. Respondents were provided with an identical questionnaire asking for feedback specific to airline travel during the holidays.

For more information, visit www.qualtrics.com.