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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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.