Hot Business Travel Trends for 2010: What you need to know moving forward

By Teri Utley Senior Account Manager, Range Online Media | March 07, 2010

With business travel showing a slow rebound going into 2010, business travelers are being forced to review the need for travel on a case-by-case basis and are being forced to brainstorm new ways of reaching the customer, the convention or the meeting that can't be missed. Marketers will need to rethink and rebuild an ongoing strategy that is reflective across all channels. As the effectiveness and the necessity of face-to-face meetings are being debated within organizations, here are some trends for 2010 that will be on the forefront of the business travel market.

Digital Decision Makers

Exposure to search, email, display ads and social media platforms combined; make this year's business traveler accessible to your message at all times. The business traveler has a constant need to be accessible to clients and their office support at all times. With in-flight internet access now available on certain carriers, this idea moves beyond the gate area and into 35,000 feet. The notion that one is "unreachable" while in the air is quickly fading as more airlines adopt wi-fi. Business travelers can no longer use this time to sit back and enjoy the flight.

With business travelers increased internet access at their fingertips, more travelers are letting their friends and families know their status, which can include snippets of their experience while on the road. Good news travels fast, but these days bad news about accommodations or a poor experience can appear instantly. With the growth of mobile devices and their capabilities, a tweet or Facebook post about their stay or experience is only a touch away and can spread through office blogs and corporate social media pages like a wild fire, sure to impact the next corporate travel decision.

Multi channel marketing will be the primary source of reaching those that are traveling for business this year. Each day they are exposed to hundreds of messages via search, email, display, blogs, Twitter and Facebook. Smart marketers looking to rebuild their business travel in 2010 will be on the forefront of digital advertising in order to remain in the pockets of the business consumer.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.