Embassy Suites Hotels recently announced the results of its fourth annual Business Travel Survey, a yearly pulse of the business travel community, which reveals the current state of business travel and what business travelers want more of in 2012. This year’s survey indicates that while the current economic climate is still a factor, one-third of respondents report that they’re traveling more than a year ago to have face-to-face meetings with clients. It also highlights the ways in which travelers are looking to get the most out of their business trips, from the incidence of “business-turned-leisure” trips to hotel value, and underscores the importance of technology on the road.
“As an upscale hotel brand with a significant business traveler base, it’s very important that we listen to these ‘road warriors’ and understand what their expectations are so that we can consistently accommodate their needs and provide value each time they stay with us,” said John Lee, vice president of brand marketing for Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Worldwide. “This year’s survey shows us that while people are traveling more for business; those guests want to get more—literally—out of every trip.”
The survey shows that the current economic climate is still affecting business travel, but to a lesser degree than last year. Fewer business travelers cite cut backs on travel due to the economy (32 percent), down nearly 10 percent from 2011 (41 percent). These results reflect the value of “face-time”—in-person meetings with colleagues and clients—in business relationships. Rather than sacrifice these meetings, people are being more frugal on the road by cutting back on meals and other incidental expenses (19 percent) or looking for hotels that are a good value (22 percent).
“Despite all the great technological advances, there is still no substitute for meeting someone in person,” said Cynthia Good, CEO & founding editor of Little PINK Book, a digital platform for businesswomen. “Relationship-building is the best way to grow your business; getting to know someone in person and looking them in the eyes makes all the difference.”
In a phenomenon known as “bleisure travel,” 61 percent of business travelers report that they maximize a business trip by extending their stay for leisure purposes at least some of the time. It is even more common among those who travel often, with nearly 70 percent of frequent business travelers extending their trips at least some of the time. On average, business travelers stay an additional three days to take in the sights and culture of the area they’re in (45 percent) or simply to relax (32 percent).
Other findings include:
- Nearly 60 percent of frequent business travelers say that technology problems are most likely to cause a business travel meltdown, such as issues with a laptop computer or forgetting a mobile phone
- Road warriors report experiencing the following tech-related issues: being unable to send a client email (55 percent), unable to open important documents or presentations (45 percent) or missing meeting notices (31 percent) or deadlines (25 percent)
- Nearly 20 perent of road warriors cite amenities as the most important factor when booking a hotel
- When asked in what ways they want to get more from hotels, approximately 70 percent of frequent travelers say free breakfasts, 54 percent say complimentary happy hours and 42 % say high-definition televisions in their hotel rooms.