Although they may seem like an uncommon audience, business travelers can actually be the bread and butter of your business if targeted the right way. Many hospitality professionals feel that marketing to business travelers is simply a matter of identifying them as a potential audience. But, if you really want to reign them in, you have to have a thorough strategy!
WHY DOES THE LODGING INDUSTRY LOVE BUSINESS TRAVELERS?
Business Travelers are…
They consistently stay on your property. Their business is reliable year-round, and not dependent on the season. Plus, they always fill your rooms on weekdays.
Once a business traveler gets used to a place, they become loyal to it. They like what’s familiar and consistent.
3) EASY TO PLEASE
To quote one bed and breakfast owner, business travelers are:
“In late, out early, and don’t spend a lot of time in the room, which cuts down on wear and tear and use of facilities.”
4) NOT PRICE SENSITIVE
In line with the above, companies are usually the ones footing the bill for stays at lodging establishments. As such, attempts to bargain down the rate are historically rare.
UNDERSTANDING BUSINESS TRAVELERS’ NEEDS AND WANTS
The number one thing business travelers want is control of their own environment.
Corporate travelers are required to leave the comfort and familiarity of their homes. While traveling for business the first time can be fun and exciting, the 250th trip is not. So, if you’re wondering how to attract business travelers, giving them as much control as possible is absolutely key to their retention. Take a look below to discover how to make their trip more pleasant and convenient.
TOP HOTEL AMENITIES FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
This is one of the most important amenities that your boutique hotel, vacation rental, or bed and breakfast needs to offer. Marketing to business travelers is pointless if there’s nothing near you that they want to be close to, such as:
- Places of business, like headquarters of corporations that bring in employees for training or in-office visits
- The downtown area of your city and everything that it entails, like restaurants, bars, and activities
If you’re in a prime location that is easily walkable, make sure you highlight this feature on your website!
2) FREE, FAST, AND NON-FRUSTRATING WIFI
How can business travelers work if there’s no WiFi? As you can see, this is a huge factor when determining where they want to stay:
- 49% of business travelers consider free WiFi a deciding factor when choosing their hotel
- Business travelers spend more than 16 hours per day within range of WiFi. As such, 90% of business travelers expect there to be WiFi at hotels.
3) READILY AVAILABLE COFFEE
Some theorists argue that our modern world was established when the abundant use of coffee kick started the Industrial Revolution. Coffee is necessary for many in the business world, and business travelers often want and need coffee in their lives all the time.
Seriously, don’t skimp on the coffee.
In the past, guests expected a restaurant on-site when they arrived at their destination. Now, business travelers work too much to have time to sit down and eat. In fact, this demographic actually works 240 hours more per year than the average American.
While 5-star dining is lovely, business travelers may be content with grab-and-go options. Simply include quick and healthy choices or provide complimentary snacks, and travelers will thank you.
6) EASY, CONVENIENT PARKING AND PROXIMITY TO MASS TRANSIT AND TRANSPORTATION
Having convenient parking and proximity to transportation goes hand in hand with location and is important to consider and highlight.
Business travelers need comfortable places to set up to get their work done! Not only this, but business travelers will notice if you force them to go find basic business equipment. Losing them to a chain hotel will be a major bummer if all you needed to save that relationship was a scanner.
A few more items to consider offering:
- A good desk in the room
- Ergonomic desk chairs in the room
- Fax machine
8) OTHER CREATURE COMFORTS NOT UNIQUE TO BUSINESS TRAVELERS
Here are just a few extra comforts to consider providing to all travelers:
- Ironing boards and irons
- Full-length mirrors
- High-quality bedding
- High-quality toiletries
9) WELLNESS OPTIONS, PRIVACY, AND EASE
It’s not unusual to see corporate travelers concerned about their waistlines. Between long flights and eating whatever is readily available, it’s an uphill battle.
Helping them out will certainly win you points! Some ideas for wellness-centered travel:
- Discount or complimentary access to a local gym
- In-house wellness kits with enough to do a simple, easy, and quick workout:
- Yoga mats, resistance bands, hand weights, etc.
Corporate travelers often spend all day interacting with people.
Being forcibly pleasant at the front desk may be painful for travelers by the time they check-in that evening. Combat this with a non-traditional check-in experience that spares guests from interacting with anyone if they want, or vice versa.
FLEXIBLE CHECK-IN AND CHECK-OUT
Having some flexibility on check-in and check-out works wonders for customer loyalty.
When a business traveler has a few hours between check-out time and when their flight leaves, or arrives hours before their room is available, figuring out those gaps can be difficult for them. Removing that hurdle can go a long way in making those guests appreciate you even more!
SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR VACATION RENTAL COMPANIES
To some degree, bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels can more easily recreate the corporate travel experience than vacation rental companies with their current business strategy. Some easily copied amenities for vacation rentals companies marketing to business travelers include:
- Concierge services
- Daily housekeeping
- Shop or cook for guests (as simple as having readily available food delivery services, or an on-call cooking service)
START PLANNING YOUR STRATEGY FOR MARKETING TO BUSINESS TRAVELERS
Once you know that you have a fantastic product for your target market, now is the time to start marketing to business travelers.
Not sure where to start?
A few hotel strategies on how to attract business travelers include:
- Get great reviews
- Loyalty scheme
- Mobile-optimized website & easy, immediate online bookings
- Targeted communications to business travelers
1) GET GREAT REVIEWS OF YOUR PROPERTY
Just like the leisure traveler, corporate travelers want to know in advance what the experience at your establishment will be like. That said, they have a huge need to see good reviews of your property so as not to deal with any surprises.
Some important review sites that business travelers visit:
- TripAdvisor business listings
- Yelp Reviews
- Google+ Reviews
2) OFFER A LOYALTY PROGRAM FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS
Scope out your competitors for ideas and what appears to already be working in terms of loyalty programs. To get your research going, try Googling:
“(Your location) hotels for business travelers”
For example, “downtown Denver lodging for business travelers”
Top results for that term are likely considered good answers to relevant searches and are therefore good places to start.
Visit those websites and see what they offer. Then, build something even better, rather than just copying their ideas:
- Amenities for travelers
- Free upgrades
- Free night after a certain number of nights or stays
- Free use of amenities
Keep in mind there is no perfect loyalty program. Experiment with your own and get feedback from customers on what’s working and what’s not.
3) MAKE YOUR BROWSING EXPERIENCE PAINLESS ON MOBILE PHONES
Forcing business travelers to switch from their smartphones to a desktop to book (or worse, stop surfing and call you) takes control of their experience out of their hands and puts it in yours. Of course, some corporate travelers may want to pick up the phone and call you to book. But if that seemingly small decision is a make or break for them (especially for Millennial corporate travelers) they could pan your business before they even get the full experience. Ensure that the entire booking experience is a breeze on a mobile phone.
4) TARGETED COMMUNICATIONS TO BUSINESS TRAVELERS
When attracting business travelers, the most important thing to remember is not to dilute your message. They don’t want to hear about a romantic experience at your property any more than a couple wants to know that you’re a great place to conduct corporate meetings. Business travelers usually visit during the week, while families and romantic vacationers come on weekends. These groups likely won’t interact on your property; don’t force them to do it online! Target travelers differently, even down to having different pages on your website devoted to different target demographics.
START MARKETING TODAY!
Curious about how Q4Launch could help with your overall hospitality marketing strategy? We know exactly how to target business travelers, drive traffic to your website, and more! Get in touch with us and start planning out your unique strategy today.