Many of us take business trips that involve getting on a plane, landing, going to a meeting, then traveling back home again. While this type of travel enhances business growth and opportunities, it minimizes the opportunity to fully explore new locales or visit family and friends in the area.
However, this could change. Business travel is expected to continue to increase. According to a study by the Global Business Travel Association, U.S. business travel is expected to grow 6.6 percent in 2014. Along with this growth, next-generation travelers are looking to modify their business travel patterns by mixing in vacation time while on the road.
According to a study commissioned by the Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express, 42.2 percent of those aged 18-24 would like to extend business trips into being vacations. In addition, affluent business travelers also see the benefit of extending their stay, with 44.8 percent of those earning $75,000 to $99,000 wanting to see the areas they visit while traveling on business.
While this is a one-question survey offered by a corporation – as opposed to an independent, third-party researcher – there is valuable information here. It reinforces how hospitality providers should develop planning tools to help business travelers plan their “downtime” when they are on the road.
Business travelers want a completely frictionless guest experience when they are traveling. The study reinforces that hoteliers should expand their thinking beyond helping the business traveler remain productive (i.e., through high-speed Internet and other business resources in the lobbies).
Business travelers are people who also like to have fun. They want to make most of their travel experiences, which extends beyond ensuring that the client meeting in Dallas went well.
This shift creates a new opportunity to provide the information and resources that allow hoteliers to build long-term brand loyalty. Hospitality providers can help these travelers create original experiences, which you cannot put a price tag on.