What Really Matters to Business Travelers?By Connor Gross
People who travel regularly for work have specific preferences about how they travel — are their employers on the same page?
Do you prefer a downtown hotel close to your conference or an Airbnb just outside of the noise? Maybe you would rather get to the airport hours in advance to take advantage of your lounge perks instead of showing up five minutes before the final boarding call. Or perhaps you’d rather take a red eye to get back home as soon as possible instead of an extra hotel night to decompress.As business travelers, the only thing that is certain is that we are all different.
We have our preferences about which airlines we want to fly, which hotels we want to stay in, and how we want to travel. Yet somewhere along the booking process, those preferences get put to the wayside in favor of a cheaper alternative (or one-size-fits-none booking guidelines) that leaves the employee feeling left out of the process.
A few weeks ago, Lola.com looked at how corporate travelers feel about brand loyalty. The results were certainly eye opening, and in this post we'll look at the other side of the equation: what travel managers can do to understand and meet those expectations.
What doesn’t matter...
We learned about some things that corporate travelers simply do not care about. For example, only 36% of travelers cited car rental status being an important feature to them, and just 37% found airplane status valuable.
...and what does
While travel status clearly is not important, we learned that the ability to collect loyalty points from corporate travel and hold on to them for personal use is a high priority for these travelers.
85% of the corporate travelers that we spoke with agreed that earning points they can use for personal trips is important, and even view it as an employee perk.
And luckily enough, most companies listen to them. In fact, 70% of companies let business travelers use the points they accrue from business travel for personal use.
But as we discussed earlier, it’s not just about collecting those points. Travelers want to travel on the airlines they like, and stay in the hotels that they prefer.
In fact, out of the 1,500+ that we surveyed, 72% of travelers said that brand loyalty is important to them, especially in terms of hotels.
But that’s exactly where the disconnect lies.
Diagnosing the disconnect
While Susan wants to stay at the Hampton Inn and Johnny would prefer to fly JetBlue, companies see these preferences as superfluous.
That’s why despite the majority of travelers indicating brand loyalty is important to them, only 42% of companies take that those brand preferences into consideration when booking travel for passengers or creating corporate travel guidelines for their companies.
Bridging the gap
Travel managers should begin to shift their focus away from simply getting employees to and from their destination, and begin focusing more on how they can give them the best experience on their business trip.
Employees have noted in the past that a good business trip for them means having the tools to be productive and flexible on the road. That flexibility begins with their choice of brand.The Bottom Line is simple. Travelers care a lot about which brand they are flying or lodging with. By understanding which brand your employees want to travel with, you can increase employee satisfaction and make business travel a privilege rather than a burden.