Business travellers seek richer corporate booking experiences

By Carina Perkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Business travellers are increasingly influenced by online booking and review sites, the report found
Business travellers are increasingly influenced by online booking and review sites, the report found

Related tags: Business travellers, Hotel

OTAs and leisure travel tools are starting to influence expectations around business travel booking, according to a new report. 

The report - Business Travel Insights: Hotels 360 - was published by Amadeus and the Guild of Travel Management Companies at the GTMC Autumn Conference in London today.

It found that choosing a hotel is the biggest priority for the majority (37 per cent) business travellers, ahead of choosing a flight (34 per cent), and the majority of these travellers are influenced by the tools and channels they use when booking leisure travel. 

Rate parity, for example, is a growing issue – with concern over getting the best rate driving over half (69 per cent) of business travellers online to compare prices outside of their corporate travel system.

Additionally, business travellers would like to see more reviews – with 38 per cent stating they would like to see reviews from other business travellers when booking hotels and 22 per cent wanting to read reviews from their colleagues.

However, photos are not prioritised as highly as in lesiure travel, with just 4 per cent of business travellers ranking the ability to see photos as a priority when booking.

Despite the rise of smartphones and mobile booking in leisure travel, the report found that only a quarter of business travellers can currently make managed travel bookings on their smartphones.

However, it suggested that this is changing, with 5 per cent of business travellers believing their employer plans to let them make corporate hotel bookings on their mobile in the next year.

Looking to the future, the report predicted that the importance of digital is only likely to grow, with ‘generation Y’ business travellers aged 18-24 years old twice as likely to use aggregator websites tor research and book travel as business travellers aged 55 years and older.

It also raised the possibility that shared accommodation could achieve greater penetration in the business market in the future, with just over half of younger travellers stating they would (54 per cent) said they would consider shared accommodation on a business trip to keep costs down, compared to 18 per cent of all business travellers.

“New consumer booking channels such as airbnb suit the Facebook generation down to a T, relying on attractive photos and simple icons to communicate features at-a-glance. I expect this kind of uncluttered design to influence the look and feel of the next generation of business to business tools,” said Rob Golledge, head of Marketing, Amadeus UK & Ireland.

Managing change

The report said that order to continue to compete with OTAs in the business travel arena, hotel providers and travel management companies must improve the improving the ‘quality and quantity’ of hotel information available through corporate booking systems.

“For one, providers and TMCs could make sure business travellers and corporate travellers understand what they are getting from the negotiated rate,” it said.

“Hotel providers and TMCs also need to make sure bookers can easily find ‘added-value’ information about a hotel or destination: knowing how many miles the hotel is located from the airport may not be enough to satisfy travellers’ appetite for information.”

With millions of hotel reviews available online, the report said TMCs could also add value by vetting reviews prior to integrating them in online booking tools.

“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,” said Golledge.

Mobile apps could help deliver a smoother booking and trip experience to guests, although the report said TMCs may struggle to match the quality of experience provided by the apps created by established online players.

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