It is all too easy for leisure travel to outshine the more serious business travel market. However, business travel is extremely lucrative, and simply cannot be ignored.
Here are some key trends in business travel and how tour operators can adapt to them.
Businesses can afford to spend more on travel, and that’s exactly what they’re doing.
In Australia, Echo News reported that business travelers have driven a $1M a day jump in tourism spending during the March quarter this year. Business travel accounted for two-thirds of the increase, with business travelers spending 25% more.
In the US, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) reported that company spending for business travelers increased to 71.2B during this year’s first quarter. In 2014, US-generated business travel spending is expected to increase to 292.3B.
This rise in spend is having a positive effect on the economy. The GBTA stated that growth in business travel is linked to jobs development and ultimately growth in the US economy. In fact, business travel spending in the US supports 7.1 million jobs.
Tourism Review reports that Generation-Y, otherwise known as Millennials, now make up a third of business flight passengers in the US, and are set to represent 50% of business passengers by 2020. Gen-Y business travelers have higher travel expenditures on average.
To appeal to them, it’s important to adapt to their attitudes towards technology and exploration:
Gen Y business travelers are inseparable from their mobile devices. In fact, 32% use smartphones and 20% use tablets to make bookings – compared to only 12% of over 45 year-olds using mobile devices. You should allow for mobile bookings to accommodate this need.
A large majority of them (80%) are heavily reliant on online reviews when they plan trips. They also contribute to this validation system by leaving reviews – even negative ones – of the businesses they deal with on their trip.
Make sure you actively build positive reviews, and monitor your profiles for negative ones. Respond quickly using these social engagement guidelines.
84% of Gen-Y travellers are keen on extending a business trip for a few days for leisure purposes. This is no surprise as 65% said the highlight of their business trip was exploring a new city.
Make sure you have packages that suit what these travellers are looking for.
Tnooz reports that convenience is a top priority for a majority (52%) of business travelers.
To be truly convenient to them, you need to understand their habits:
With these stats in mind, you need to do your best to lock in their booking long before they arrive at the destination. When they’re planning, get found on the review sites they frequent. When they’re comparing you to your competition, give them all the information they need about your tour product. When they’re ready to lock it in, let them book with you easily. Aim for convenience throughout their journey.
You can also download our Buyer’s Guide to Booking Software Selection to learn more about your options and how to narrow them down: