Sunday,  June 4, 2023  11:41 pm

Business travel more popular with women than men, TICO reports

Business travel more popular with women than men, TICO reports

More women are travelling for business this year, and many consumers are still booking with a travel agent on the phone or in person, but Ontario consumers are still not sufficiently aware that they are protected under the Travel Compensation Fund, says a recent survey conducted by Ontario’s Travel Regulator, TICO (Travel Industry Council of Ontario).

In 2017, female respondents took an average of 2.5 business trips, compared to their male counterparts who took an average of 3.5 trips for business. This year, those numbers have jumped with women taking an average of 4.3 business trips, an increase of 72 per cent, while men travelled for business an average of 3.8 times.

“Considering we are still in early 2018, that’s quite a significant increase, almost doubling all of last year’s total numbers,” says Richard Smart, CEO and registrar of TICO. “We already know that women tend to book more travel than men and it will be interesting to see if those numbers continue to grow over the course of the year.” Although the majority of consumers book travel online, a growing number still prefer a one-on-one interaction with a travel agent by telephone or in person.

In 2017, 32 per cent of respondents indicated that they booked travel with an agency on the phone or in person. This number jumped to 38% in 2018.

“The more complex the trip, the more consumers want to speak with someone face to face,” says Dorian Werda, VP of operations for TICO. “Experiential travel is on the rise, and people are looking for adventure, so they want the reassurance of speaking with a professional travel agent who can answer their questions and provide recommendations.”

Online bookings in 2017 were at 58 per cent, increasing to 63 per cent in 2018. More consumers who book travel online are becoming loyal to specific websites. Sixty-two per cent in 2018 said they go directly to their favourite website for travel discounts, an increase from 2017 when 58 per cent indicated website loyalty.

Overall, consumer awareness of TICO has increased by one per cent from 33 per cent in 2017 to 34 per cent in 2018. However, of those who are aware of TICO, 73 per cent understand that they must book with a TICO registered travel agency or website so as not to forfeit the available consumer protection.

“More consumers are calling us after they have booked their travel but before they have departed,” Werda said. “They have questions regarding the terms and conditions of their booking and want to know their rights, especially as it relates to making changes or cancellation. In the past, we received more calls regarding post-travel issues, but this has shifted as more consumers become aware of TICO.”

But of those who are aware of TICO, 38 per cent understand that TICO manages the travel compensation fund. The fund reimburses consumers who paid for travel services to an Ontario registered travel agency or website but did not receive the services due to a bankruptcy or insolvency of a TICO registered Ontario travel agency, website or tour operator or due to the failure of an airline or cruise line.

“These numbers have a ways to go,” said Smart. “We want consumers to be aware that the fund is available for their protection. Travelling can be very personal and many Ontarians save up for vacations with families and friends, so it’s important for them to know that they can have peace of mind if they book with a TICO registered travel agency or website. Just look for the logo!”

The Winter 2018 TICO online survey was fielded from Jan. 26th to Feb. 6th, and conducted with a representative sample of 1000 respondents in Ontario; 18 years of age and above