They say money makes the world go round. And as long as there’s money out there to be made, there will always be people travelling for work. As someone in the hospitality industry, how can you take advantage of that?
Business travel is a 1.2 trillion dollar market – and the habits of business travellers are constantly evolving. There was a time when business travel meant 5-star hotels, motorcades and 10-course taster menus at the fanciest place in town. But in recent years, as travel has become more accessible to smaller-scale businesses, there’s been a significant shift towards mid-range hotels and serviced apartments.
And that’s good news for you. Work travel doesn’t sleep – there’s no high or low season, meaning reliable revenue year-round. Business travellers have an above-average RevPAR, and they’re loyal – meaning that if they have a good experience at your property, chances are they’ll book with you again when they’re back in town. That, in turn, means more opportunities for direct, lower-commission bookings for your property.
And that’s not all. Not only is business travel a lucrative, reliable market. It’s also an easy one to manage and cater for, as business travellers’ needs tend to be both specific and predictable.
Interested in tapping into this particular segment of travellers? Here are four tips that’ll help bring you big business.
1. Make it snappy
When you’re on holiday, you’re usually there to relax. Time melts away as you disconnect from the stresses and strains of your daily life (or at least, that’s the idea). Not so with business travellers.
These guests need things to work efficiently – so the longer they have to queue to check in and out, for example, the less likely they’ll return. Make sure these travellers aren’t kept waiting for anything.
2. Invest in savvy messaging
If you’re already looking to keep things simple for your business guests, why not remove even more friction during their stay? Guest messaging is a growing trend in the hospitality industry – and it’s perfect for guests who need things to work smoothly.
With messaging technology, you can send a quick welcome note to the guest when they book, asking if they need anything specific during their stay. That way, you can be prepared, and the guest can feel pampered. What’s more, if they come back in the future, you’ll know exactly what kind of sheets, music or food they like – so you can prepare an even more pleasing, tailored experience.
Messaging can also save guests time when it comes to filling in forms. A lot of countries require guests to fill in pre-stay forms with their personal details – something which can be an annoying hold-up when checking in. With messaging, you can send your guests the form ahead of time to make sure their check-in is quick and easy.
3. Get your amenities in order
As we mentioned, business travellers’ needs are generally pretty easy to predict. They’re staying with you in between meetings, conferences or training sessions. They may want to catch up on some work at your property – so make sure each room has a decent desk and lighting – and of course, high-speed WiFi.
Aside from the need to catch up on work, a lot of these guests want to stay as fresh and focused as possible for that big meeting. That means a healthy breakfast, and even a decent gym session, if possible.
And finally, long trips often mean creased clothes – not what you want when trying to impress on your business trip. So offering an ironing service – or at least making sure there’s an iron in the room – will be appreciated.
4. Think about your extras
Simple. Fast. Easy. That’s how business guests want their trips to be. To make things extra-easy for them, you could offer concierge-type services. Maybe they’d appreciate you booking a cab to the conference centre or the airport, or a table at a great local restaurant? These extra touches will make sure your property is front-of-mind when your guests are back in town for business.
As we’ve seen, business travellers are a profitable, reliable and predictable segment of the market. So if you hadn’t considered tailoring your offer to their needs, now could be the time to do it.