This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.  Find out more here  Close
Business travelers going rogue
April 12 2012

As more business travelers start making their own booking decisions, hoteliers should shift their focus from corporate travel managers to the end user, according to new research from PhoCusWright.

Highlights
  • Unmanaged business travelers make up 70% of the market, according to PhoCusWright.
  • Hoteliers should shift focus from travel managers to the end user.
  • Unmanaged travelers are more likely to research travel on OTAs, but they’re more likely to book on brand.com.
By Patrick Mayock
Editor-in-Chief
patrick@hotelnewsnow.com

SHERMAN, Connecticut—U.S. business travelers have more control of their own bookings than ever before, which means hoteliers should think outside of corporate travel policies and consider the end user, according to PhoCusWright research.

“You have to think of them as free agents,” said Carroll Rheem, director of research, during a webinar titled, “The U.S. Business Traveler: Managed, Unmanaged and Rogue.”

 

Carroll Rheem

Whereas the focus in the past rested primarily on travel managers because they were the decision makers, today hoteliers must place greater emphasis on the travelers themselves, she said.

 

For one thing, unmanaged business travelers—those who aren’t constrained by a corporate travel manager—make up approximately 70% of the market, Rheem said, citing numbers from a recent special project PhoCusWright conducted.

For another, most business travelers lack a travel planning routine, which suggests hoteliers have an opportunity to provide a better booking platform to capture market share, she said.

Only 29% of business travelers have a booking routine. “Even among the managed group the response is only 32%,” Rheem said. “… This says there are a lot of opportunities for new development and openness to trying new business models and trying new features. It also says to me there are a lot of problems to be solved.”

Going rogue
Rheem focused on several travel segments during the webinar, including hotel, air and car rental.

“Ultimately, hotel is the area where we see the most rogue behavior (with managed travelers),” she said.

“When you’re in the decision-making process, there are two kinds of scenarios that really drive rogue behavior: Sometimes there are just too many options. … And other times there are just not enough options for you, especially in that mid-range company that doesn’t have a very comprehensive policy.”

The top driver of rogue behavior, however, is convenience, cited by 47% of respondents to PhoCusWright’s study.

Price also is an influential driver, cited by 30% of travelers.

“Also, loyalty programs are a pretty significant driver,” Rheem said. “One in five road travelers say they accumulate miles or status from a brand that’s outside of company policy. Those points are sticky, and business travelers love those points.”

Booking behavior
Seven of 10 unmanaged business travelers said they used online travel agencies when researching travel. Websites for travel providers themselves (e.g., brand.com) was the second most popular, cited by 61% of unmanaged respondent.

When it came to actually making bookings, however, unmanaged business travelers (53%) were more inclined to book at brand.com than an OTA (50%).

“The hotel brand websites coming out on top is not necessarily what you would expect to see,” Rheem said. “… OTAs were far ahead of supplier websites when it came to shopping. But when it comes to booking, a lot of these savvy business travelers are doing the flip. …

“The savvy business travel is often making that switch often specifically for hotel websites because of points,” she said.

Other findings
Rheem highlighted several other findings from her research during the webinar.

  • 39% of managed travelers mix business travel with leisure travel; unmanaged travelers number slightly more than half.
  • 30% of business travelers said Web-based presentation and video conference tools did not impact their travel plans. Of the remaining respondents, 25% said the tools impacted plans “very little,” while 30% said “somewhat.” Only 2% said the tools impact plans “dramatically.”
  • A “good website experience” trumped price when using particular websites to research travel. 
COMMENTS   Show All
Login or enter a name   Post Your Comment  Check to follow this thread via email alerts (must be logged in)
(4000 characters max)

Comments that include links or URLs will be removed to avoid instances of spam. Also, comments that include profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, solicitations or advertising, or other similarly inappropriate or offensive comments or material will be removed from the site. You are fully responsible for the content you post. The opinions expressed in comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Hotel News Now or its parent company, STR and its affiliated companies. Please report any violations to our editorial staff

TRENDING
Tiered Wi-Fi emerges as new industry model
Owners talk OTAs, branding, living wage
CitizenM turns to Facebook to promote opening
The role of today’s management company
4 mobile design myths for hoteliers
Chains a threat to ‘boutique,’ hoteliers say
VIDEO
Hunter Hotel Conference postgame wrap
Bazin outlines Accor investment strategy
Accor's Bazin talks growth
Sébastien Bazin's view from the top
Chris Nassetta talks lifestyle brand
LATEST NEWS
Crowdfunding further fragments hotel ownership
Omni Nashville GM hits hotel jackpot
Denihan restructures to improve its focus
How to mitigate dependence on OTAs
Outrigger strives to ride wave of expansion
US hotel groundbreakings list
Contact Us
Hotel News Now
18500 Lake Rd.
Suite 310
Rocky River, Ohio 44116
        
Copyright © 2004 - 2014 Hotel News Now, a division of STR, Inc. All Rights Reserved.   Privacy