The Definitive Guide to Attracting and Retaining Corporate Hotel Guests
If your hotel is located in or near any sizeable city across the globe, the chances are business travellers will come across your property’s website, online travel agent (OTA) profile, social media page, and more as they conduct their accommodation research.
This accounts for nearly 500 million business trips each year in the USA alone. By 2020, business travel spend will reach US$1.6 trillion.
Do you want a share of this lucrative corporate market staying and spending at your hotel?
With additional spending on top of reservation revenue and the strong potential for return visits, a business traveller could be a very valuable long-term customer for you.
Luckily, this blog will explain everything you need to know when it comes to being well placed to attract business travellers and taking actions to ensure they do choose your hotel when their reservation is finalised.
What is business travel?
Business travel occurs when a person travels interstate or internationally to represent their place of work.
With businesses of all types becoming increasingly globally connected, most industries engage in some sort of business travel. The industries that spend the most on business travel include:
- Food processing and services
- Real estate
- Professional and business services
- Personal and social services
- Transportation services
- Wholesale trade
- Rubber and plastic manufacturing
- Communication services
Reasons for trips are often to attend a conference, speak at a summit, discuss deals with partners, inspect a worksite, foster relationships, or to establish new business opportunities.
Depending on the size of the company the business traveller will either book their transport and accommodation themselves, usually via online travel agents and hotel/travel websites – and organise their own itinerary – or their company will do so on their behalf through travel agents and global distribution systems.
It’s very common for business travellers to travel back to many of the same destinations each year or multiple times during the year.
The frequency, duration, and expenditure of these corporate trips – as well as the behaviour displayed by the guest – will be impacted by the particular industry, gender, age, and personal preference of the business traveller.
Top business travel destinations
Good news for hoteliers in London: it’s the most popular destination for global business travellers. Other top cities include:
- Hong Kong
- New York
- Mexico City
What is bleisure travel?
Bleisure travellers are the group who like to extend their business trip to indulge in some leisure time, and are now a prominent target for hoteliers.
While the term may have only been born in the last couple of years, the definition certainly isn’t new. Business travellers who add a day or two before/after their trip for leisure purposes are not a fresh market – but they are a growing one that’s here to stay.
To put it in perspective, Expedia reports 43% of all business trips, both international and domestic, are extended to include some kind of leisure activity. Additionally, leisure days now tend to outnumber work days on the average business trip.
The most popular bleisure activities include sightseeing, trying local cuisine, seeing culture and art. Often a bleisure trip presents itself as an opportunity for the business traveller to take a partner or family member with them, so it’s becoming a more sought-after experience.
What is a workventure?
Workventure travellers are generally more spontaneous and savvy than bleisure travellers, usually content to organise their own trip and do things outside the box.
These are the types of business travellers who will make a spur of the moment decision to stay an extra weekend after a conference, forego flying to commence their trip earlier and make it a road trip, spend money trying new things, or take another person along to make the most of the time in an exotic location.
There are a number of insights that also suggest workventure travellers are:
- More informed – They’re better at using technology, and much more likely to seek out knowledge about technology.
- Better at finding travel deals – They’re more likely to do research to make the most of their trip.
- More likely to make bookings after they arrive – They like to keep options open in regards to what kind of adventure or extra activity they embark on.
What do business travellers look like around the world?
The first step in acquiring more business and corporate bookings is to know your market. Only once you have a full understanding of their behaviour and preferences can you begin developing strategies to attract them.
Let’s look at who the business traveller of today really is, for major regions around the globe…
Business travellers in Asia
Business travel in Asia has grown so much that China is now the largest corporate travel market in the world, expected to be worth $434 billion by 2020.
A large number of Asian business travellers are young, digitally-savvy millennials, particularly in southeast Asia where 69% fall into this category. With this youth comes a desire to travel with more autonomy and seek richer experiences while travelling for business.
Findings revealed Asian business travellers, excluding the Japanese market, are twice as likely to extend their stay through a weekend as their European counterparts. Drilling down reveals senior management is about 20% more likely to do this than entry-level workers.
The majority view travel as a perk of their job and more than two-thirds have the freedom to choose their own airline and hotel (from a predetermined list). However, there are times when this exuberances leads to a breach of travel policies, such as booking a more expensive hotel than their company dictates.
With greater freedom and flexibility, hotels and travel companies are now having to engage Asian business travellers directly, rather than rely on traditional corporate booking functions.
Because Asian business travellers are on the whole so young, they’re digital natives who have grown up with smartphones and the prevalence of social media. They utilise these at every stage of the booking journey; to research and plan, book and organise accommodation and transport, share and communicate their journey, as well as review their experience post-trip.
When it comes to the travel experience, Asian business travellers are no different to the general umbrella group they belong to – for them, convenience is king. This is another reason some resort to breaking company policy. With the sometimes disjointed experience a business trip can bring, Asian business travellers are looking for hassle-free solutions wherever they can.
There are some differences between countries in Asia when it comes to corporate travellers. These include: