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What do business travelers want? Not just clean rooms!

With business travel on the rise, hotels are probably thinking about how to make these lucrative customers as happy as possible. After all, a frequent business traveler can be on the road 40 weeks a year or more (been there, I assure you), and they don't always have the same flexibility as leisure travelers. There's a big opportunity here, especially with business travel set to increase next year.

"Consumers are more value-conscious than ever and have been conditioned to expect more for their money after a steady diet of recession-era deals. The tipping point for hotels to differentiate their brand offering and strengthen loyalty among the post-recessionary business traveler will be providing additional complementary services and amenities tailored to their guests' specific needs," said Adam Weissenberg, vice chairman and tourism, hospitality and leisure sector leader, Deloitte LLP. "Beyond traditional incentives, hotels are realizing the importance of developing their online presence, particularly with mobile platforms, to capitalize on a crucial touch point for brand communication."

For both sectors, however, now would be a pretty smart time to listen to a group of customers that is about to start spending more money. Global professional services firm Deloitte recently surveyed 1,001 business travelers and has revealed the information that the travel industry can use to connect with its best target market more effectively.

Here's what business travelers want:
1. Work-friendly room: 68 percent of business travelers often work in their rooms, Deloitte said in a statement following the survey. And for a long time, I was one of them. If a room is not designed for me to get stuff done – from a desk to wifi access – the room doesn't work. The amenities, artwork and staff responsiveness don't matter if a business traveler can't work comfortably.

2. Better than clean and comfy: are you satisfied with a clean room and a comfortable bed? Well, you're probably alone. Deloitte found that 65 percent of business travelers "expect a lot more from a hotel" than that.

3. Business on internet time: it's hardly responding that 79 percent of the respondents felt that high-speed web access was an important amenity. Seventy-seven percent cited free parking, as well.

4. Rewards for loyalty: 30 percent of business travelers, according to the Deloitte survey, "felt their favorite hotel brand was so important to them that they would stay at that hotel brand even if it were not in the most convenient location." Interestingly, this level of loyalty was highest among respondents earning at least $150,000 a year.
There's more than brand familiarity going on here, I suspect (again, my suspicion, not Deloitte's). Rewards for loyalty sure help, and I remember it influencing a lot of business travel behavior when I was living the road warrior life.

5. Device love: almost half of survey respondents said they have a web-enabled smartphone. Meanwhile, this is true of 84 percent of the 18-to-29 business traveler crowd and 63 percent of business travelers earning more than $150,000 a year. Twenty-six percent of respondents have downloaded a hotel app to a device, with 54 percent of them using it "primarily to book a room."

Filed under: Business, North America, United States, Hotels and Accommodations

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