ALEXANDRIA, VA — Some 42% of business travel agencies have cut back on booking the Lufthansa Group since it implemented a 16 euro per booking surcharge on travel purchased anywhere other than its websites, service centres and airport ticket counters Sept. 1.
This was the finding of a new global survey conducted by Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and its European partner network.
Additionally, 93% of those surveyed are currently not considering the option to book directly on Lufthansa’s site and 39% are seeking alternative carriers. Only 2% of travel buyers surveyed said that they would book directly with Lufthansa to avoid the fee.
“We believe that the booking surcharge strategy has effectively backfired,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA Executive Director and COO. “The resulting actions demonstrate the high value that travel buyers place in the existing distribution network. The efforts by Lufthansa to fragment the distribution system by artificially adding cost is not working.”
As the voice of the business travel industry and the corporate travel buyer, GBTA believes that the surcharge is a direct price increase to managed travel programs with no corresponding benefit. It could also ultimately lead to decreased price transparency if carried out by not only Lufthansa, but other airlines in the industry.
GBTA’s survey of global traveller buyers was conducted online between Oct. 14 and 19. In total 434 travel buyers representing an estimated US$44 billion in global buying power participated in the survey.