Business travelIn a world where everything is connected and growing simultaneously, we see corporate travel becoming a bigger part of not only businesses, but also contributing a great deal to the hospitality industry.

The growing demographic of the business traveller has attracted a great deal of attention, including the trends they’re creating, from tech in travel to the sharing economy.

With the world of hospitality constantly evolving and business travellers being offered a variety of options, we take a closer look at three current trends we’re seeing in the industry.

Accommodation

One particular trend we are beginning to see more of amongst business travellers is the use of serviced apartments. While serviced apartments are nothing new, they are certainly evolving. They’re commonly used for holidays abroad, but why are they growing in popularity with business travellers?

Considering business travel can be a rather large cost to businesses, there’s an enormous amount of pressure on travel managers to cut down on costs. Understandably, in most cases, transportation is the greatest cost associated with business travel. As a result, we are seeing that travel managers are eager to cut down on costs when it comes to the second highest expense – accommodation.

While costs vary from city to city (and country to country), popular business destinations tend to be expensive for accommodation, particularly for long-term stays. This has led many businesses to seek out serviced apartments as their preferred method of accommodation for business travellers.

While serviced apartments can often cut costs for long term stays, the price difference isn’t as effective for short term stays, which means business travellers of this type are more likely to opt for traditional hotels and all their many conveniences. It’s likely that we will begin seeing some changes in the way serviced apartments market their services, taking aim at business travellers in order to further attract them to this specific type of accommodation, regardless of length of stay.

Bleisure

Reports show that bleisure is still a big trend and popular with millennials, though it’s not growing at the rate at which it once was. This is quite possibly due to the fact that in many cases, it is now considered the norm for business travellers. While it’s never been uncommon for business travellers to make an effort to see a bit of the city they’re travelling to by visiting the hottest restaurants and perhaps visiting a main attraction, the bleisure movement has taken this one step further.

In a report conducted by the Global Business Travel Association, results showed that 37 per cent of individuals surveyed took a bleisure trip in the last year. The report also showed that younger business travellers are more likely to tack a holiday on to their work trip, with 40 per cent of millennials stating that they have done so. In contrast, only 23 per cent of baby boomers said that they have taken a bleisure trip.

According to the report, 38 per cent of survey participants combine work and leisure when travelling because they wanted to spend time in a new destination. Finally, just over a third of participants stated that they felt bleisure is a cost-effective way to take a holiday.

Loyalty programmes

With the hospitality industry constantly evolving and facing some fierce competition, many brands are making changes to their loyalty programmes. When it comes to frequent business travel, loyalty programmes can make a huge impact in decision making from business travellers and their travel managers.

It seems that the overall feeling from business travellers, as well as some hotels, is that the loyalty programmes have grown convoluted and confusing, leaving travellers unsure of how many points they’re earning, and what those points are actually good for. In order to keep up with the competition, hotels are working to streamline these programmes and make them more user friendly, including making apps readily accessible for this purpose.

Hotels are also offering discounts for direct bookings in order to compete with online travel agency sites, which have become the traditional route for modern travel bookings. For years, travellers, whether leisure or business, have been booking through online travel agency sites because they come with noticeably discounted prices.

Starting earlier this year, major hotel chains began trying to compete with this by making the option of direct booking more attractive to travellers. These direct booking perks initially seem to be aimed at loyalty programme members, who are potentially most likely to benefit from something like this in the first place. It seems hotels are on the right track, as they are focusing their energies on evaluating what the modern customer is really looking for, and working to implement this into their plans and offerings.

By CT Business Travel

CT Business Travel is a corporate travel management specialist, providing business travel solutions to companies ranging from SMEs to global organisations.

 

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