In a survey commissioned by Deloitte between September 10 and 14, results showed that corporate travel was expected to increase. Following this year, when travel was closely monitored, the online survey found a majority anticipated taking more or the same amount of trips.
Conducted online by an independent research company, the study polled a nationally representative sample of 1,001 business travelers with a margin of error of +/- three percentage points. For the rest of the year, 71 percent said they expected to take more or the same number of business trips, compared to 29 who expected to travel less.
Through the end of 2011, 80 percent of those polled said they will take more or the same number of business trips, while 79 percent said they will spend more or the same as this year.
“The travel industry was not immune to the economic slowdown, but the confidence demonstrated by business travelers who responded to our survey suggests a brighter outlook for the industry as a whole,” says Adam Weissenberg, vice chairman and tourism, hospitality and leisure sector leader, Deloitte LLP.
This Year to Date
Recession looms as 72 percent said they had kept an eye on their business travel expenses over this past year. Cutbacks included 37 percent had reduced overall travel costs (37) percent, the length of their trips (33 percent) and food/restaurant expenses (32 perfect). Similarly, 21 percent booked less expensive hotel rooms.
Furthermore, 59 percent of the respondents whose companies had corporate travel policies felt the rules were more strictly enforced. Among the top five guidelines noted by respondents, 50 percent identified pre-trip approval as the top company guideline. Among guidelines pertaining to hotels, 42 percent said their company currently paid for booking accommodations in advance, while 32 percent said guidelines detailed dollar spending limits for accommodations.
Amenities and Technology Distinguish Hotels
Current trends have upped the importance of amenities and technology. The survey found that 68 percent often work in their room, and 65 percent said they expect a lot more from a hotel than a clean room and comfortable bed. High-speed Internet (79 percent) and free parking (77 percent) were counted as important amenities when staying at a hotel for business. Highest among those earning $150,000 or more, 30 percent of those polled said staying at their favorite hotel brand was so valuable that they would stay there even if it were not in the most convenient location.
“Consumers are more value-conscious than ever and have been conditioned to expect more for their money after a steady diet of recession-era deals. The tipping point for hotels to differentiate their brand offering and strengthen loyalty among the post-recessionary business traveler will be providing additional complementary services and amenities tailored to their guests’ specific needs,” said Weissenberg.
He said, “Beyond traditional incentives, hotels are realizing the importance of developing their online presence, particularly with mobile platforms, to capitalize on a crucial touch point for brand communication.”
Of those surveyed, 48 percent had a web-enabled smartphone. Of those, business travelers 18 to 29 years old or with an income exceeding $150,000 were far more likely to own one (84 percent and 63 percent respectively). Among the owners, 26 have downloaded a hotel application, 54 percent of which they have used primarily to book a room.
In contrast, general-purpose websites were not used regularly for booking accommodations: 31 percent said they used these sites always/frequent, and 31 percent used them occassionally. Even more so, 38 percent said they never use such sites for reserving a hotel room for business travel.