Breakfast on-the-go, early departure, quick check-in…, business customers are often easy to manage. Moreover, this clientele tends to spend more on additional services during their stay than leisure travelers: 50% to 75%* more is spent on catering, dry cleaning, etc. This trend is all the more important with ‘Millennials’ : 37% of them spend more on Room Service when these costs are covered by the company, compared with 21% for 46-65 year olds.
The phenomenon of ‘bleisure’, or mixing business with pleasure by combining professional travel and private tourism, keeps increasing. In fact, according to ‘Travel Weekly Consumer Trends’, the percentage of extended business travel on personal leisure travel increased from 11% to 17% in 2016. These practices are becoming more and more accepted in major international groups.
In a context where new types of “lifestyle” accommodation are emerging, the services and facilities offered by hotels are always a factor that differentiates business customers and therefore represent an opportunity for independent hoteliers.
How do you adapt to these new behaviors and capitalize on this clientele with high potential for your hotel?
* Source Travelport
Go back to the basics, understand the behavior of your travelers and what attracts this clientele to your hotel, is the basis for developing a strategy to capture the reservations of business travelers.
To understand, booking behavior, your PMS is a unique source of information. At the same time, to know qualitatively what business travelers appreciate in your establishment, your e-reputation tools will help you to easily identify their needs. Also, do not hesitate to communicate your business customers’ feedback on your site and social networks. Finally, Google Analytics is a powerful and free analytical tool, enabling you to access a wide range of information and evaluating, for example, which offers are the most consulted, as well as the nationality of the travelers.
This key information will enable you to build offers tailored to the needs of your business clients.
It is essential to understand what your strengths are to convince business customers.
Today the question “what are your essentials for a business stay”,4 elements come at the top of their expectations : wifi, shuttle services and taxi, access to fitness and dry cleaning.
Amenities are the key factors in the act of purchasing a business trip with regard to accommodation. As a result, 56%* of business travelers indicate that the availability of high-speed WiFi has an impact on their choice when choosing a hotel. (*Source Expedia / Egencia)
Then comes easy access accommodation. Indeed, the second essential is the shuttle or taxi service for easy access to the hotel, as well as proximity to a car park. More than 45% of long-stay business travelers enjoy easy access to transport, especially women (over 50%) and seniors 50 years old and over (58%). (*Source Study carried out by Adagio)
The third essential is dry cleaning service : for speed of travel, the business traveler can not be burdened with a big suitcase, like François who is proficient at travelling light:
“Whether it is for a few days or more than ten days, I only travel with cabin luggage. I carry with me only two or three shirts; I manage by washing and ironing them. This way, I avoid losing my luggage and save valuable time when checking in and at arrival.”
Finally, the desire to maintain the balance between private and professional life is increasingly present among business travelers. Being able to maintain their sport habits is therefore an essential, so access to a gym becomes an advantage to highlight with these travelers.
Your hotel has facilities and services? Put them to good use! On your website as well as in all your content on your various distribution channels, in your descriptions and also the images that present your hotel.
Like any other customer, the business traveler is not willing to pay for benefits that he will not use. Moreover, even if the business traveler is less conscious of the price factor, he is very sensitive to ease and flexible conditions.
Unlike leisure travelers, who are sensitive to discounts, business travelers will be willing to pay for complementary services or flexible terms. Also, like airlines, you can build your prices from a base rate and add options, such as the ability to cancel or modify a reservation.
Evolution of the pricing strategy
Warning! To convince the business traveler, the price differential must be carefully considered: too big a gap can deter them from selecting this option.
The Global Distribution System (GDS) is a global, computerized reservation network that serves as a single point of access for travel agents (including large Travel Management Companies: Amex, Carlson, HRG, BCD …) and large companies to book airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, and other travel-related products.
The world’s first distribution systems, Amadeus, Sabre, Galileo and Worldspan, represent more than 60 million hotel reservations per year, a figure that increases by 5% each year. GDS owes its success, among other things, to corporate travel policies that often impose the use of travel agencies such as Carlson or Amex, and also to the ease that this represents for the business traveler.
On your side, it enables you to increase the visibility of your hotel, target business clientele, and diversify your distribution by reducing your dependence on OTAs.
The competition on GDS is important, Sabre, for example, distributes 175 000 hotels. Managing your presence on GDS is not the same as OTAs, and requires working on your pricing structures, and your content. In fact, the description of your hotel on the GDS must meet specific criteria to quickly catch the attention of travel agents.
To help independent hoteliers, there are now partners who support you with your affiliation strategy with travel agents or TMC, the optimization of your visibility, and your price strategy, in short: the complete management of your contracts. At FASTBOOKING, we observed on average + 19% of bookings for hotels using this type of program.
To learn more, do not hesitate to participate in our next webinar: “Independent hotels: 40 min to discover how to increase your sales thanks to GDS”
There certainly are companies located around your property. These businesses potentially need accommodation. For them, the proximity of your establishment is an obvious advantage! Depending on the estimated volume, you can make a deal with a negotiated rate.
As one of our clients testifies: “On behalf of two Parisian boutique hotels, we have signed a number of contracts with nearby Music labels who are fond of the properties style. This resulted in an occupancy rate increase of +10% on business customers. “
This allows you to link a reservation to a company name, and at the end of the year you can analyze the production and determine the potential to renegotiate the contracts, or to carry out marketing actions towards this company.
In addition, signing a local contract will allow you to charge this negotiated rate on GDS. If this company corresponds to the subsidiary of a larger group, the local contract will become global and therefore much more visible.
Win-Win: In order not to disappoint this precious clientele, make sure that your rates are available even in high season, by applying LRA (Last Room Available): as long as there is availability in your hotel, you need to make sure this rate remains available.
When a business traveler is satisfied with his stay, he will naturally recommend your establishment to others. Allow him to enjoy exclusive dedicated offers and encourage him to book direct. These days it is very simple to create promo codes, or to propose exclusive offers targeted via connection modules on your booking engine. Check with your supplier.
1- Analyze your customers feedback and booking behavior ✓
2- Ensure that your hotel information is up to date on all your channels ✓
3- Build tailor-made offers for your business clientele ✓
4- Make your hotel visible on the GDS and make sure to be affiliated to Travel Management Companies (TMC). ✓
5- Sign contracts with companies located near your hotel ✓
6- Reward and facilitate direct bookings for your most loyal customers ✓
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