Business Travelers Becoming More Savvy

Posted on June 9, 2010 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

Survey from Embassy Suites Hotels shows that travelers find more ways to capitalize on value offerings as young professionals turn to technology for travel.

MCLEAN, Va. — “Places to go, people to see” is more likely to be heard around the office this year, compared to 2009, according to the results of Embassy Suites Hotels’ second annual nationwide Business Travel Survey.

The survey offers an insightful look into the state of business travel in light of the economy, revealing hotel and travel preferences and behaviors among business travelers. It also touches on the recent trends in technology, such as how travelers are incorporating social networking into their business trip routines.

On the road again . . .

Compared to 2009, the number of working Americans who said they were traveling less for business this year because of the economy decreased from 51% to 43%. However, travelers have also gotten smarter about value, and found ways to cut back on expenses while on the road over the last year. Seven in 10 (71%) respondents changed their business travel habits compared to 2009, with more business travelers flying coach, cutting back on meals and sharing rooms with colleagues due to the economic climate.

But traveling wiser . . .

Given this smarter travel mindset, it’s not surprising that key considerations such as hotel location and price are the most important factors to a majority (56%) of business travelers. Proximity to business meetings is the most important consideration for business travelers when choosing a hotel (29%) with price of accommodations coming in as a close second (27%). Free breakfast is the most important factor for more than twice as many business travelers as complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport (7% vs. 3%).

“We’re seeing business travelers care more about necessities, like location and value, this year,” said John Lee, vice president of Brand Marketing & Communications, Embassy Suites Hotels. “Embassy Suites appreciates the smart business traveler and continues to shape our offering to meet their needs, by offering over 200 centrally located hotels, as well as the amenities that business travelers need and want, like our complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast and our evening Manager’s Reception included in each stay.”

The survey also revealed differences in business travel preferences between males and females. Male business travelers put greater importance on traveling luxuriously than female travelers, showing a stronger preference for flying first class (29% vs. 16%) and staying in five-star hotels (33% vs. 26%).

Younger travelers leverage digital resources . . .

Young business travelers (ages 21-34 years old) have a distinct approach and opinion about business travel compared to their more senior counterparts, which can be seen from the beginning of their business trip experience, even before they pack their bags. Young business travelers are almost twice as likely to visit Facebook before making business travel decisions (48% vs. 26%). Thirty-five percent of young business travelers who used a social network reported receiving help finding a hotel that fits their needs. Young professionals are much more likely to bring a variety of tech items when on business trips, including MP3 players (54% vs. 33% of all business travelers), smart-phones (50% vs. 32%), portable DVD players (19% vs. 10%) and portable gaming devices (14% vs. 6%).

These young techies have excellent online resources at their fingertips to help them become fluent in the language of business travel. Web sites such as Embassy Suites’ BUSINESSBALANCE.COM — a Web site loaded with tips, tools and resources from savvy blogger experts — are designed to help business travelers find balance on the road.


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