How to attract the future corporate travel

13 October 2021
We can already conclude that corporate travel will face a slower return compared to the leisure. However, the corporate travel will be an important income for hotels even for the future and to get a faster recovery traditional business hotel need to adapt quick.

Corporate travel has dropped dramatically due to the pandemic but finally it seems like the start of the recovery has begun. At least in many countries restrictions have dropped and travel is increasing. The desire for leisure travel has already shown a great pick up but will corporate travel ever be the same? As always when something is uncertain there are many different opinions, some say never, some say in 5 years and some are even more optimistic. What we can say for sure is that the pandemic has reshaped corporate travel and you need to adapt and be aware of what kind of business travel trends you should focus on to capture your share of the market. 

Business travel trends to be aware of

Bleisure travel

You have probably heard the name bleisure travel before and even before the pandemic bleisure travel was important  (specially by younger travelers). As the name implies it’s a mix of leisure and business travel. This trend is probably even more strong now and corporate travelers are more willing to extend their trip for leisure activities. For the hotels you need to make it easy for the travelers to switch between business and leisure and give them a reason to stay at the destination. How can you reach out with packages that fulfill the needs of being entrained so they will extend their stay for some more days.

Self-booking

Even though business travelers tend to rely on human service when it comes to more complex trips, most of the business trips will be booked by the themselfs. When they book by themselves it’s easier to meet their criterias and preferences. Make sure you are correctly displayed with pictures and relevant information in all your booking channels.

An issue with self-booking is that travelers tend to book a hotel outside their corporate program and travel policy. The excuses can be; I want to stay closer to the meeting location, I found a better price on another OTA,  I want to be close to the city center, I want better quality accommodation that suits my preferences. Some solutions on these challenges might be: 

  • Keep control of your rate parity across your distribution channels 
  • Make sure your front office is well educated in asking which company the guests represent even if they book through a distribution channel outside their program (such as Booking or Expedia). With modern technology you can easily analys which distribution channels your corporate travelers book from. This will also lead to an advantage in your next RFP negotiation and more professional relationship to the Travel Manager.
  • Easy access and clear information about how the business travelers can transport from your hotel to their meeting location

Flexible corporate travel policies

One of the reasons that corporate travel tends to booking outside their corporate program is that their travel policies are not flexible enough. Make sure you provide better availability and different rate options to better meet travelers preferences. A normal case is that the Travel Manager only wants to include standard rooms so they keep control of the cost. However, if you have data which shows that the travelers go through distribution channels outside the travel policies you have a better chance to include a higher room category, or different packages at a higher rate.

Use of technology

Business travelers want to have everything as smooth and easy as possible and technology that makes their stay more streamlined will certainly help. 

  • Make sure it-s easy to communicate before, during and after their stay. 
  • Easy to add services or upgrade. 
  • Easy to check in with their mobile and have their key in there phone
  • Easy to extend their stay
  • Easy to book other activities for leisure if they combine the trip

Explore what kind of technology that suits your business travelers. 

Key points to attract future corporate travel

  • Make it easy to switch between business and leisure
  • Create and reach out with packages that attract leisure travelers even if you are a business hotel
  • Keep control of rate parity to avoid travelers booking in "wrong" distribution channels
  • Always ask which company the business guest represent if they book outside the corporate program in other distribution channels 
  • Include more rates and options to meet different preferences (different room categories and packages)
  • Make sure it's easy to communicate before, during and after their stay
  • Invest in technology to streamline the guest journey