We’re creating a more connected travel industry, underpinned by sustainability and long-term investor relations.
Head of Marketing Communication, Amadeus UK & Ireland
Editor’s note: This post is part of a series that looks at key trends in business travel in different parts of the world, as uncovered by local and regional studies that Amadeus participated in. How does this match up with your own experience with business travel?
As the hotel space becomes increasingly competitive for both providers and TMCs, the need to find new ways to enrich and improve the business traveller experience by drawing upon examples from the consumer arena will become paramount.
Our research report, Business Travel Insights: Hotels 360, identified three such areas that could be improved for business travellers:
Access to WiFi
Straightforward WiFi access is increasingly important for today’s connected ‘always on’ business travellers who expect fast reliable access to work and home. According to our research among business travellers, access to WiFi comes a close second in the business traveller’s top three priorities.
TMCs are also strong supporters of easier WiFi access: asked to rank their top three initiatives for improving customer satisfaction, those surveyed for the report said top priority should be given to extending free WiFi on all devices and in all areas of a hotel including bedrooms. There is more to the issue than guest satisfaction: free WiFi in hotels could streamline and improve efficiency by reducing bill backs.
The connected traveller has checked-in and is here to stay. Today, fast, free WiFi is not a perk or reward – it’s an expectation. Not having WiFi is like walking into a hotel room and not finding a bed.
Mobilising corporate travel tools
At work, at home and all points in between, mobile devices have more than fulfilled their promise to become a ‘remote control for life’. But, according to our research, managed travel bookings via smartphone are currently available for just over a quarter (28%) of business travellers. 5% of the survey believes their employer plans to let them make corporate hotel bookings on their mobile in the next year.
TMCs are also excited about the potential of mobile internet-based solutions, as opposed to apps, to help deliver smoother booking and trip experiences to guests. They are also awake to the potential of mobile to help them track business travellers and support their Duty of Care obligations. However, as a senior representative from a global hotel provider cautions, TMCs may struggle to match the quality of experience provided by the apps created by established online players.
The ability of bookers to compare reviews made by other travellers is now a key feature of leisure travel. With the wider trend to consumerisation and home-life preferences emerging in the work environment, we asked business travellers whether reviews would help them make better corporate bookings. 38% said they would value the ability to see reviews from general business travellers and 22% would like to see their reviews from their colleagues.
TMCs could see a value in reviews, not least as a way for hotel providers to gain customer feedback and improve. Hotels also see the value in reviews: good reviews are a great advertisement and, according to a senior representative from a global hotel provider, they “allow the traveller to make a more informed booking decision and, in turn, feel better about their purchases without having to leave the booking site.”
However, for reviews to be valuable they have to be relevant: literally millions of reviews are available online. By vetting reviews prior to integrating them in to online booking tools, TMCs and corporations could save time for their bookers.
How much time do business travellers have to wade through dozens of rants from consumers about the concierge’s failure to recommend the best shopping options? This is somewhere the TMC or travel department can add value by selecting reviews that are relevant for their travellers.