The Needs of Business Travelers in 2015
The world is rapidly changing, and businesses have not always experienced this change for the better. Since 2008, people have been forced to trim back their expenses, which has taken a real toll on how businesses operate. In particular, the hospitality industry has struggled since the economic downturn as more families curb their vacations and cut corners on their downtime. With this decreased spending, hotels and resorts have had to change, streamlining their operations and refocusing their marketing.
While vacation travel may ebb and flow with the economy, hotels and resorts have always been able to rely on business travelers. Even though many businesses have limited their travel budgets, some travel is inevitable. Because of this, hooking business travelers is more important than ever for hotels and resorts. However, with increased competition, finding ways to attract these lucrative customers can be easier said than done.
In order to appropriately attract business travelers in 2013, it is important to first assess what business travelers want. No amount of marketing can compensate for a hotel that simply does not offer what business travelers are looking for on their next trip. Therefore, to better cater to the business crowd this coming year, be sure to remember the following needs of business travelers.
1. Amenities. With the recent economic downturn, people have become more aware of how much every little perk costs them. Suddenly, little freebies and nice add-ons have become very appealing to almost every type of traveler. For business travelers, many of whom may spend a significant amount of time away from home, the amenities can be the difference between a great hotel and a lousy one.
In fact, as competition continues to build in the hospitality industry, some amenities are now expected as standard fare. Almost all business travelers expect a desk and a comfortable chair to complete their work. Complimentary breakfasts are very popular amongst the business crowd, and some hotels even provide an in-house notary for guests. Even small things like name brand shampoo and soap can be huge assets when trying to appeal to the business traveler. Other conveniences like a coffee pot, a hairdryer or a wakeup call are also very common. While these things may seem small, hotels that do not offer them stand out for all the wrong reasons. Guests who expect to make their own coffee in the morning will feel extremely put out if that coffee pot is not in the room.
2. Location. Traditionally, location has been everything in the hospitality industry. Although many things have changed, that much still holds true. Location is a critical need for many business travelers. To start, many business travelers have meetings in predetermined locations. Therefore, it is essential for business travelers to find accommodations near those locations in order to minimize transit time. While it is not possible to change locations, hotels should always highlight what buildings and attractions are close by in order to better sway business travelers. The name of a street they do not recognize may not be very compelling, but knowing that the hotel is a ten minute walk from their destination can be a huge selling feature.
3. Convenience. Business travelers are often weary, which is why convenience is such a big deal to them. People are always looking for ways to save time and cut costs. Therefore, hotels catering to the business traveler should find ways to make things more convenient. For frequent business travelers, offer streamlined check-in services. Hotels with pools, spas and fitness rooms often have a distinct advantage because business travelers appreciate that they do not have to go far for a few extra comforts. Other conveniences might include an attached restaurant or bar. Many business travelers also like an in-house coffee shop to get their morning fix of caffeine. The more convenient the hotel, the more comfortable the traveler. When business travelers are looking for ways to cut corners, a hotel without such conveniences is often the first thing to go.
4. Connection. The modern world is always connected, and business travelers expect no less from their hotels. At this point, Internet access is simply a must. In fact, most business travelers expect high-speed broadband service. While some hotels still charge for such a service, more hotels are offering it as a complimentary service in order to better serve customers. This is extremely important for business travelers, who almost always need the Internet to get their work done in the evenings and mornings.
Business travelers are also in need of local connections when they are traveling. Being away from home, these travelers need places to go for food, drinks and relaxation. Therefore, hotels trying to appeal to business travelers should always have a friendly concierge service that can provide information about local attractions. Information about where to make copies or mail letters is another great way to attract the business crowd. Hotels should think of themselves as the middle man, trying to connect travelers to the things they need while they are away from home.
5. Value. Ultimately, money is often the biggest factor for most business travelers. However, business travelers are not necessarily looking for the lowest price. Rather, they are looking for the best value. Therefore, to appeal to these travelers, find new ways to package the hotel. Business travelers look at what they are getting for what they are paying, so the hotel should offer the best bang for the buck. Travelers prefer to know that all the amenities are included as opposed to paying extra for them on the spot. Inclusive package deals with plenty of comforts and conveniences are going to find favor with travelers who are looking for values with no strings attached. Modern travelers can compare and contrast hotels easily, so it is important to provide a value that stands out.
The needs of business travelers will continue to evolve, so hotels should always be thinking of new ways to better connect with this important customer base.–