Business travelers can be the bread and butter for many hotels. But as the workforce continues to evolve, these road warriors are also shifting their wants and needs. Fortunately, new research gives us insight into what these travelers want from their stays so that hoteliers can take cues and capitalize.
The good news is that it’s not all groans when employees need to travel for work. According to Travelport’s "U.S. Business Traveler & Travel Policy 2018" survey, four out of five people like to travel for work. That sets a positive tone for travelers, with many willing to further open their wallets beyond what their companies shell out. Even better, 57 percent of those surveyed said their 2018 business-travel budget is larger than it was last year. The respondents comprised mainly business travelers from ages 22 to 37 (57 percent). Twenty-eight percent of people were aged 38 to 53, while 15 percent were ages 54 to 72.
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Meanwhile, a recent survey commissioned by Hilton Hotels & Resorts of business travelers aged 23 to 35 found that 56 percent of millennial employees create reasons to travel for work. So, it should be a feather in hoteliers’ caps that members of this cohort—which now makes up the largest percentage of the U.S. workforce at 56 million people—are not only heading to hotels as part of their livelihood but also demanding they do so.
Here’s what hoteliers need to keep top of mind about business travelers as they set strategies during this busy travel season.
1. Money is No Object
Companies are certainly setting budgets and paying for travel expenses, but that’s not always enough for today’s travel-minded employees who are personally willing to cover some costs on their work excursions.
While most of the respondents from the Travelport study said that their companies cover the purchase or reimbursement of ancillary services for business (86 percent), many indicated they would dole out extra cash from their personal stash to upgrade their experience.
Of those surveyed, about 52 percent said they would pay extra for an upgraded hotel or guestroom, according to Travelport. When it comes to upgraded hotel Wi-Fi, a little over half of respondents said they would pay out of their own pockets for higher tiered service than what comes standard with the room purchase.
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2. Targeted Content is a Plus
More good news for hotel marketers: Business travelers want to receive personalized ads.
More than 72 percent of people surveyed in the Travelport study said that they would definitely like or somewhat like personalized ads based on previous browsing history, while 75 percent said the same for ads based on personal interests. When based on previous travel purchases, nearly three-quarters said they would definitely like or somewhat like personalized ads.
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3. Business Becomes Bleisure
Extending work trips is becoming big business for hotels, and that trend doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.
According to Hilton’s research, 69 percent of those surveyed want to extend their business trips for leisure purposes. However, they require a bit more confidence in doing so, with 46 percent saying they feel guilty about it and 44 percent worrying that it makes them look bad to leadership at their companies.