Who Owns the Business Traveler Hotel Booking Experience?
By Joe Currie District Sales Manager, Egencia | June 18, 2017
In the leisure world, the role of an organization such as Expedia or a hotel property website is to inspire a traveler towards the purchase path. The current business travel hotel booking experience includes influences from a variety of sources, from travel managers and TMCs to hotel properties and personal recommendations. In order to take ownership of these hotel booking decisions, business travel technologies should be focused on providing the value of a curated and personalized transactional experience that will keep a property occupied Monday - Thursday of every business week.
Is Brand Loyalty a Dead Concept?
The 2016 report, Traveler Friction: Insights from U.S. Road Warriors indicated that the average road warrior takes 26 business trips per year, and spends 86 nights away from home. In the past, the idea of seeing the same person at the check in counter, ready to provide the same room, at the same hotel, in the same city every two weeks for a year, was appealing to many travelers. However, today's world of business travel and hotel booking is being influenced in different ways. Between the ongoing movement towards organizational globalization, the increasingly evident demographical changes of the business traveler, and the influential technologies available in the leisure marketplace, business travel hotel booking is shifting accordingly.
A 2017 Harvard Business Review discussion on globalization illustrates the global shift stating, 'Back in the 1980's General Electric earned 80% of its revenue within the United States. Today, GE earns more than 70% outside the US '. With this shift in customer base carrying over to the business travel world, it is more likely that the formerly clockwork trip to the same domestic city is now going to transition to include international destinations. This shift results in the increased chances that a traveler will begin to sacrifice brand loyalty in an unfamiliar city, instead gravitating towards what is convenient and reliable based upon the suggestions of others.
The road warriors of the past, those generations dedicated not only to their career, but also to their company and the brands they are familiar with, are being rapidly replaced by Millennial workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that Millennials (arguably those born between 1984 and 2004) would make up the majority of the workforce by the end of 2015. According to Forbes, Millennial workers are very growth focused and the average length of time spent at each company maxes out at two years, in contrast to five years for Gen Xers and seven years for Baby Boomers. With the bulk of the workforce maintaining a much shorter relationship with their employer, it is not surprising that brand loyalty is often sacrificed. For the Millennial business traveler, perks offered by being a valued customer often pale in comparison to the experiences and up-to-date amenities that competing brands can provide.
A March 2016 article from travel consultant firm nSight for Travel states, 'For the travel industry to be successful long term, it needs to understand the millennial first.' The article goes on to explain how a travel provider needs to understand that 76% of the younger generation of business travelers trust the opinion of their friends over a travel agent, 49% use smart phones when planning trips, and 55% will not book a hotel room without Wi-Fi. For this emerging demographic, there is a desire to immerse themselves in foreign places they visit, and they have grown up with the "pay for more" approach to travel. As a result, the notion of shelling out for extra leg room or additional features that make their experience more beneficial begin to take center stage over the potential benefits of brand loyalty.
The Hotel Business Review articles are free to read on a weekly basis, but you must purchase a subscription to access
our library archives. We have more than 5000 best practice articles on hotel management and operations, so our
knowledge bank is an excellent investment! Subscribe today and access the articles in our archives.