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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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.