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Expectations of business travelers are now changing, with economic pressures meaning that executives are now caring less about luxuries and instead concentrating on whether hotels deliver on the basics.
In tough economic times, it may be assumed that executivesí need for a bit of pampering to take their minds off the stresses of corporate life would increase. But hotels that think the way to attract fl ustered businesspeople is to up the luxury will be wasting their money, according to our survey of senior executives.
Welcome to the age of the austere traveller, where business guests care little about whether the hotel restaurant has a Michelin star or the gym has the latest crosstrainer, and a lot about the basicsó good WiFi access, an easy check-in and a quiet room. It is an age where business is conducted within the confi nes of the hotel bedroom using remote offi ce software, rather than in plush hotel business centres; and where the majority of executives value convenience over comfort. Perhaps Richard Branson best summed up todayís sober attitude when he said at the opening shindig of the worldís most expensive hotel, the US$1.5bn Atlantis in Dubai: "Itíll be the last party of the decade, probably."
Unsurprisingly, our survey has also found that the downturn is leading to corporate travel budgets coming under greater scrutiny. Pressure is coming not only from CFOs looking to cut cost from their bottom lines, but also from shareholders keen to address criticisms that corporate culture had become excessive before the downturn.