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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Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.