Business Travel Trends: How Hotels Can Attract the High-Value Business Traveler

By Andrew Dyer Vice President of Global Supply, Egencia | May 27, 2018

A person's reason for travel, whether it's leisure or business, plays an important role in his/her search and booking behavior. And while both leisure and business travelers share some similarities in terms of lodging preferences, it's advantageous for hotels to understand what exactly business travelers are looking for when searching for and booking a hotel.

Business travelers bring in higher ADR and increase mid-week occupancy for hotels compared to leisure travelers, according to Egencia data. Moreover, Egencia estimates business travelers make up nearly half of the $1.6 trillion total travel market, making them a very appealing audience segment.

The Increasingly Discerning Business Traveler

Business travelers are required to book within policy and spend less time during the booking process, so it's no surprise they prioritize price and location above all else. In addition to this criteria, findings have shown that a hotel's brand and loyalty programs are important to business travelers. In fact, for the top five global hotel chains on Egencia, customers who were members of a particular chain's loyalty program booked for that chain 2-5 times more frequently, than customers who did not have that chain's loyalty listed in their profiles. Since they are often on the road and spend less time during the booking process, both brand familiarity and the ability to earn loyalty points contributes to their trip satisfaction.

More than a comfortable and convenient stay, business travelers want to be productive. They value amenities such as 24/7 business centers, an in-room desk, printer and free WiFi so they can work efficiently while on the road. According to a report by GBTA, business travelers also look for multiple and easily accessible in-room outlets for charging their various devices, connectivity to streaming services and in-room chargers. This behavior indicates that simple offerings such as extra chargers and multiple outlets are a huge value add for business travelers.

Business travelers are not only paying attention to amenities, they're also looking outside of traditional hotels for work trips. Shared lodging options are gaining in popularity among business travelers as they continue to seek more authentic experiences and one-of-a-kind moments. In fact, 40 percent of business travelers have expressed interest in staying in a shared lodging accommodation. With this in mind, hoteliers should consider leaning into local expertise, either through technology or hotel staff, to amplify their property's service offerings and tailor the guest experience. Another way hotels can stay competitive is by offering communal workspaces and areas for guests. 

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.