A woman climbs out of bed in a dim, air conditioned hotel room. She steps onto the balcony and is greeted by the warmth of the morning sun and the scent of sea salt. She’s not on vacation; she’s on a business trip. According to a survey by Virgin Airlines, 61 percent of business travelers enjoy their job; traveling for work is a luxury. The U.S. Travel Association states that there were over 452 million business-related flights taken in 2013. Those numbers will continue to increase. This means that business travelers make up a large portion of guests at hotels. Business travelers are all about efficiency, so it is the hotelier’s responsibility to ensure that the guest is well-taken care of and that everything runs smoothly. To do this, a hotelier must understand their business traveler guests.
Hotel businessman Sanjay Nijhawan states that one of the common trends in business travelers is the merging of work and play. Most business travelers want to enjoy leisure activities during down time; some companies even encourage it. Hotels should take advantage of their location and inform business guests of popular restaurants, spas, and events nearby.
It is also important for hoteliers to mind the trends specific to Millennials (people born 1980-1999). The Millennial generation is currently the largest generation with 92 million people. They made up 35% of the workforce last year and that number is expected to double by 2020. Hotels will prosper by understanding what attracts Millennial business travelers like constant connectivity, social sharing, and trendy designs. Millennials are more likely to post reviews so hoteliers should make sure that Millennial road warriors are satisfied.
The profile of your business travelers and their characteristics extends beyond generational attributes. In 2011, the Global Travel Association released an article that broke down the different types of business travelers into 5 categories:
- Passionate High-Tech: These travelers feel that business trips make work more enjoyable. They use their high-tech devices to stay connected with friends and family. They are more likely to extend their trips for personal reasons.
- Veterans: The Veterans are the most experienced travelers and are usually older than the other categories. They are often prepared and responsible when it comes to trip-planning. Veterans usually have high status and a higher income.
- Road Weary Traveler: The name says it all: these business travelers travel often; and they hate it. Most of the travelers in this segment understand the importance of a face-to-face meeting but find traveling to be a hassle.
- Wide-Eyed and Anxious: The wide-eyed and anxious traveler takes fewer trips than any other category. They’re usually inexperienced and their main focus is staying safe when they travel. They have not yet mastered the ‘smooth trip’ and still need some help with trip planning.
- New Recruits: New Recruits are the enthusiastic and high-tech road warrior. They are usually younger and inexperienced when it comes to business travel. Unlike the wide-eyed and anxious traveler, they’re excited and willing to learn how to make their travel experience more efficient. They also take longer trips on average than any other category.
Hotels that understand the needs of guests on business-related trips will create a better experience for everyone. Remember, most enjoy traveling for work so try to enhance the enjoyment with a streamlined and efficient hotel stay. Business travelers want to stay connected and love to mix work and play. Why shouldn’t work feel like vacation?