How to Attract More Corporate Travelers?
Corporate travelers or corporate transient travelers are a category of travelers who leave their usual working environments to travel to various destinations. They are increasingly gaining attention for the immense business potential they bring to the hospitality industry. An increased emphasis is being placed on appealing to this demographic which makes understanding them and their travel behaviors essential for effective targeting. Hotels have much to gain from these travelers given that they usually make multiple visits and almost always offer their recommendations to their colleagues or business partners. Through this blog, we will discuss in detail who a corporate traveler is, their behavior patterns and what you, as a hotel owner or as someone managing a hotel can do to attract more such travelers.
Corporate Travelers – Market Scenario and Behavior Patterns
Corporate Travelers make for a lucrative market, with people from all over the world, staying and spending at your hotel during their business trips. They also hold potential to be return customers, making them valuable also in the long-term.
These travelers mostly travel solo and are required to make multiple trips, many a times to the same locations, every year. They stay at hotels for a brief period of time and expect basic amenities such as rooms that are well-kept and comfortable, complimentary breakfast, telephone, work desk, laundry etc. Since most companies have their offices and clients world over, they require their employees to travel to destinations nationally or internationally to represent them for summits, conferences; conduct meetings with partners, nurture client relationships etc.
Transient corporate travelers often make their reservations through mediums such as online travel agents (OTA), hotel or travel websites etc. They are also happy to chart out their own itinerary or follow what their companies prepare on their behalf. Travel agents and Global Distribution Systems (GDS) being the popular choice in such cases.
A) Business Travelers often visit a destination repeatedly, though the frequency of visits, the amount of time they spend, the expenses they bear and even their behavior varies. These are mostly impacted by factors such as a traveler’s age, gender, industry he/she belongs to etc.
B) Bleisure Travelers, simply put, are those who add a leisure aspect to their business trips. They usually extend their stay by a day or two, just to indulge in some leisure activities, in order to keep the crucial work life balance going in their lives. The popular choice of things-to-do include sightseeing, experiencing local art and culture and also trying local cuisines. They also like being accompanied by a family member. This target group is an important one for hoteliers which is growing and will continue to.
C) Workventure travelers are a slightly evolved category of bleisure travelers who are great with technology and make spontaneous decisions with regard to their travel needs. They wouldn’t deter from extending their stays, if they feel the need, or even to try new things and spend a little extra. They like flexibility in their itinerary and are therefore glad to plan and organize their trips as per their own preferences.
If you’re wondering why corporate travels have caught the fancy of hoteliers, we have listed some of the main reasons why they must be your dominant target group too.
● Companies worldwide are globally connected and that has arisen from the fact that there are flights to take you just about anywhere in the world, and that events, conferences etc. have become quite a common phenomenon. These things have led to the need for travel and an increased interest in pursuing corporate travelers.
● Business travelers often have to travel to a single destination multiple times and on most occasions, convenience and familiarity act as factors in making them opt for the tried and tested hotel and the experience that comes with it.
When more such travelers make return visits, it reduces the lead acquisition cost for hotels and positively impacts their revenues. Many a times satisfied corporate guests share their experiences with others and that results in more business opportunities for a hotel.
● Business events are usually planned well in advance, which gives hotel owners the opportunity to manage the supply and demand of their inventory and other services. More avenues for income open up when corporate guests utilize facilities offered by hotels, such as conference rooms, work areas etc.
Tips to Attract Corporate Travelers:
1. GDS Connectivity:
Companies prefer outsourcing their travel management responsibilities to outside agents in order to save time and avoid any hassle. Travel agents on the other hand often resort to reliable systems like the Global Distribution System to find the most suitable hotels and rates for their clients. For hotels, therefore, the most obvious thing to do is to list themselves on platforms like the GDS. Online travel agents and metasearch engine are other useful options.
A Channel Manager software like AxisRooms which is a tool that connects a hotel to multiple channels and manages inventory, rates and reservations can help in increasing the number of booking your hotel receives and in turn lead to a surge in revenue. Once a rate is established or the status of inventory changes, the channel manager software carries out the updation process across all channels that a hotel is linked to. This makes it easier for hotels to keep a control on demand and supply. Also, the more channels that a hotel is connected to, the greater the likelihood of corporate travel agents finding your hotel and booking you for business travel.
2. Hotel Loyalty Programme:
Loyalty programmes are a win for both parties – guests as well as hoteliers. The purpose of these programmes is to cultivate ‘loyalty’ amongst a hotel’s customers and they bring assured returns when guests opt for your hotel over others during their multiple visits. Guests in turn get rewarded for their loyalty and patronage through discounts and special offers. They prove to be a sure shot way of acquiring more repeat customers. Additionally, the data generated through sign-ups to such programmes makes it easier for hotels to keep their channels of communication open with customers.
3. Right Communication with The Right Group:
Communication sent out regularly to a fixed database will never give you the desired results, as would targeted, well thought-out messages. Therefore, ensure that when you connect with your audience, it is on topics or matters that hold value for them and are not generic in nature.
Your booking confirmation emails, mails on latest offers/promotions or any other correspondence is extremely important in terms of creating the right impression in the minds of the people receiving them. So, make them meaningful. Enquire about their requirements and expectations. Because we are in the middle of a pandemic, it would be really practical to offer details about how you’re preparing your hotel to welcome them in a safe and secure environment.
4. Target Locally
Though business travelers from around the world may make for the largest chunk of your audience, you mustn’t ignore the potential that your local market has. Your hotel business can benefit by focusing more on the business opportunities brought in by local businesses too. Conferences, events, excursions conducted by corporations often need suitable venues and hotels are an ideal option.
Before you can expect business from local clients, you would have to establish a relationship with them by means of business lunches/dinners or look for other ways of offering value to receive the same in return. Promoting local events or companies on your hotel’s website can be a low cost way of doing so.
5. Convenient and Efficient Amenities:
Time is of utmost value to corporate travelers, which is why they look for amenities which would bring in the ease to everyday tasks and offer convenience and comfort. When they retire to their rooms, after a tiring day’s work, they do not wish to be worried about trivial things like laundry or essential toiletries. Therefore, they look for quick check in/out options, healthy meals, gyms, adequate workspaces and a great internet connection etc.
6. Customization and Personalization:
As a business hotel, your aim should be to help simplify and organize the lives of transient travelers. All kinds of business travelers appreciate the effort you put in customizing the pre-stay communication you have with them. Your staff’s responsiveness as well as proactiveness is meeting a business traveler’s needs and wants are also held in high regard.
Similarly, when you offer a bespoke experience to your corporate traveler or when an assigned travel agent visits your hotel’s website, it helps you stand out as a corporate hotel. A specific business section which has all the latest information and images related to your hotel would instantly strike a chord with them. A web booking engine can help you in delivering such an experience to your visitors, as it can be adapted to your hotel’s requirements and can give you an opportunity to increase direct bookings. A booking system like AxisRooms can connect with many world-class PMSs and makes for an ideal choice.
7. Incorporate Technology:
Corporate travelers or transient guests are savvy users of technology. They interact with high quality technology on an everyday basis to make their bookings or even to carry out tasks during their stay. They love the convenience and comfort that mobile apps offer in terms of organizing trips, checking relevant details or even finding help in a tough situation. Business hotels of all scales have access to a large trove of data related to their customers. It is useful to hotels, only if utilized appropriately to understand them better. Property Management Systems have the ability to store huge amounts of data in their cloud storage devices, which can and should be used by hoteliers to deliver better experiences to their corporate guests, which will in turn result in increased bookings.
Corporate transient travelers are busy corporate representatives who are never on a holiday. Even while being on business trips, they wish to stick to their regular everyday routine and place extreme importance on having a normal diet, coupled with a fine balance of exercise and off-work habits. Though they have to make quick, inevitable trips, they like to plan their itineraries in a simple and efficient way. If you understood what your target customer is like, then with the help of the points listed above, you would be able to tap into the corporate traveler market easily.