Looking beyond booking trends, a new survey delves into how business travel is evolving as the industry rebounds and workers go back on the road following the summer vacation season.
Homewood Suites by Hilton's 2012 Workstyles Study polled more the 550 business travelers about the way they live life on the road and the value travel has for their business. The study found frequent business travelers want room to spread out, the ability to maintain a normal routine, and opportunities to interact with business associates and fellow travelers.
Life on the Road — More About Life and Less About the Road
According to Christian Kuhn, Homewood Suites by Hilton vice president of marketing, the most telling Workstyles Study results focused on business travelers desiring the comforts, amenities and routines of home. Top-line findings from the study included:
32% of respondents missed their "normal routine" most (up 12% from the 2010 study); with "kitchen" coming in second at 25% (up 18%t from 2010)
34% of travelers say biggest obstacle of business travel is "being away from home," the top response to the question
Two-thirds of travelers unpack their suitcase when traveling for work
Making the Most of Traveling for Business
In addition to studying the way in which business travelers live on the road, the Workstyles Study also evaluated the value of travel and how these individuals work while away from home. Key results included:
73% of respondents think traveling for work is the most effective way to do business
One-third of travelers have made an important business connection while socializing at a hotel
77% of business travelers chose "desk or living room" as the most desired location for in-room work; the same percent of respondents said they work at least one hour or more per day in their hotel room
"Corporate travelers are emphasizing both how to maximize value for their travel expenditures and their productivity while traveling," said Bjorn Hanson, Dean, New York University Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management. "Business travelers are indicating increased willingness to try new brands this year, so extended-stay hotels, for example, will help extend their travel budgets and meet their business needs."
The Bottom Line
While travelers seek a strong value proposition from hotels, they continue to redefine which amenities deliver the most bang for the buck. In addition to respondents saying Internet was the most used amenity (88%) and that they would prefer healthier food options versus enhanced fitness facilities (69%), the study also reported the following:
Value and location were the two most important factors in booking a hotel (34% each)
63% of respondents said a "large, comfortable room" was the most valuable hotel offering
"In 2012 the hotel industry has seen a rebound in business travel, but returning guests are now demanding more than just a fiscal value," said Kuhn. "Less impressed by bells and whistles, they want amenities and services that deliver both comfort and productivity."
The independent, external study was conducted in May 2012 using an eRewards panel. A total of 553 travelers responded to the survey, representing an even male/female split. All respondents have taken three or more trips of four or more days in the past twelve months.
"At Homewood Suites we think life on the road for business travelers should not have to be a departure from their normal routines, and results from the study reinforce this belief," added Kuhn.