Business travellers want hotel options that are convenient, personalised and competitively priced with amenities, according to a report, Travel Lodging Program Adoption: How the Traveller Experience Impacts Program Adoption.
New research from the report â€“ a Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and HRS partnership, highlights these preferences while also demonstrating that many corporate travel buyers underestimate how important these elements are for their travellers.
Booking: Addressing gaps between buyers and travellers
The vast majority of buyers and travellers agree that factors like proximity to work engagement (92% travellers, 99% buyers) and price (85% travellers, 94% buyers) are important in selecting a hotel. However, buyers might be undervaluing the importance of experiential factors like proximity to restaurants and entertainment (84% travellers, 68% buyers), traveller reviews (80% travellers, 67% buyers) and loyalty programme benefits (70% travellers, 64% buyers).
On top of that, travellers place a higher priority on personalisation than travel buyers when it comes to their companyâ€™s corporate booking tool. Half (50%) of travellers say they prefer their online booking tool offer more hotels with amenities, whereas only one in five (19%) travel buyers say this is a need. When it comes to receiving personalised options around upgrades and add-ons in the booking process, 74% of travellers cited that as important, versus only 62% of travel buyers.
Payment: Centralised options hold potential to drive increased use of preferred hotel suppliers
Centralised and direct corporate payment options are used to varying degrees around the world. Eighty-five percent say the ease of completing expense reports, ease of expense approval process and speed of reimbursement are important to expense management.
Accordingly, the research indicates travellers like the option to pay centrally. Direct payment options negating the need to use a personal credit card could tip the scales in a travellerâ€™s decision on which hotel to book. Only three in 10 (30%) travellers typically pay for their hotel through central or direct payment. However, 88% of travellers say if their company offers central or direct payment with a hotel, they would book this property over one that does not offer this method.
â€śThat 88% figure represents a true lighthouse metric for travel programmes seeking expedient avenues to higher adoption of preferred hotel suppliers and booking channels,â€ť said Suzanne Neufang, senior vice president of Enterprise Solutions for HRS Americas. â€śOnce travellers use direct payment, they prefer it. And they love the simplification of expense reporting. For buyers, it helps keep employees in the programme and provides richer Level 3 data for procurement purposes. And hoteliers gain from more volume. Itâ€™s a win-win-win.â€ť
â€śBuilding and managing a travel programme is an exercise in balance,â€ť said Hannah Jaffee, GBTA research analyst. â€śThough practicality is key for business travellers, they view business travel as an experience, and they want their hotel options to reflect that. If hotel adoption is a problem, travel buyers can take strategic steps to ensure factors around traveller preference and experience are accounted for in contract negotiations.â€ť
This global research covered feedback from 600+ travel buyers and procurement executives, as well as nearly 2,500 business travellers. Online surveys were done from March to May of 2019.