Business Travel to Increase in 2013 According to New Frequent Business Traveler Survey

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When it comes to staying connected, the survey found that travelers take onlineBildschirmfoto 2013-01-05 um 00.38 1 connectivity into consideration when planning hotel stays as well as airline flights.  Seven in ten respondents (73%) indicated that complimentary Wi-Fi is important to them and influences their decision of which hotel to stay at, while  one out of four of the approximately 60% of travelers who regularly use in-flight Internet say that its availability on board influences decisions on choosing airlines and flights.

WELLNESS

Staying fit and eating healthy is also an important part of a frequent traveler’s regime.  About 45% of those surveyed said that they typically use a hotel’s gym or fitness facilities and that the quality and size of the facilities influence their choice when booking a hotel.  In addition, 83% stated that they eat breakfast (the most important meal of the day) while traveling.

CONCLUSIONS

Business travel is clearly on the upswing for 2013 and business travelers are more demanding than ever.  While clean sheets, color television, and air conditioning would have sufficed a few years ago, that is clearly no longer the case today.

When choosing an airline or hotel, business travelers look for a conducive work environment, Internet connectivity, and a consistent level of service.  The providers that are able to meet these demands and anticipate new ones are the ones that will get their business in 2013 and the years ahead.

Hotel frequent guest programs should study airline frequent flyer programs.  It turns out that business travelers are more loyal to airline programs than they are to hotel loyalty programs.  Eight out of ten business travelers will go out of their way to fly with a preferred airline or alliance, while only six out of ten will stay at a less conveniently located hotel just in order to stay with the brand.

Airlines apparently do a better job in ensuring a consistent experience across both the airline and alliance partners, although both have a long way to go.  Only 13% of respondents said that their experience was consistent across hotels that were part of the same group while 23% of airline passengers said their flight experience was the same across the airline and its alliance partners.

On the plus side, eight out of ten respondents did say that they prefer to both stay at a particular hotel brand or chain, as well as fly with a specific airline or alliance, before the factor of inconvenience is considered.

Almost all business travelers are members of a frequent flyer and/or hotel loyalty program. Of these, roughly 76% are members of two to five hotel and airline loyalty programs. (statistics for members of 1, members of 2-5, and members of 6 or more, for both airline loyalty programs, and hotel loyalty programs, are roughly identical). In other words, the sweet spot is the range of 2 to 6 programs.

Finally, staying connected is also a trend that continues. One quarter of the respondents who use in-flight internet say that its availability influences their buying decisions for flights while seven out of ten say that free in-room Wi-Fi play a significant part in their choice of hotel.

Jonathan Spira contributed to this article.

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