Editor’s note: This post is part of a series that looks at key trends in business travel in different parts of the world, as uncovered by local and regional studies that Amadeus participated in. How does this match up with your own experience with business travel?
Which aspect of their travel plans would travellers most like to have control over? 37% of frequent travellers in a recently conducted survey said ‘choice of hotel’. I didn’t appreciate that booking accommodation was such an emotive subject. But in hindsight, it is hardly surprising. A flight might take a couple of hours or even a whole day from take-off to touchdown, but a hotel room is much more personal. It is the business traveller’s home away from home.
I discovered this insight from jointly commissioned research that Amadeus undertook with its strategic partner, the Guild of Travel Management Companies in the UK.
Business is still about people. Technology has facilitated easier communication with the likes of Skype and teleconferencing, yet over 50% of the 445 frequent travellers surveyed said that meeting face-to-face is essential for business. (That figure rose to 64% among Gen-Y travellers.) In the UK at least, teleconferencing seems to be regarded as most suited to internal meetings. But when it comes to winning new business or investing in customer relationships, nothing beats meeting in person.
But technology is never far away. The consumerisation of technology refers to how people want information to be presented in a user-friendly manner; think of it as the Facebook effect. So, we wondered if travellers’ online consumer shopping habits were making inroads in the corporate space. These days everyone thinks they are a travel agent, so it wasn’t entirely surprising that 89% use sites like Kayak or Expedia to research hotel options for leisure travel. That explains why 69% compare hotel prices outside of their corporate travel system when planning business trips. In fact, 12% spend, on average, more than 20 minutes comparing hotel prices.
But there is still an important role to play for travel managers and travel management companies (TMCs). Preferential rates topped the list of ways travel departments and/or TMCs add value according to 24% of respondents. Expert assistance when the unexpected happens was also highlighted as a key benefit by corporate buyers during a roundtable discussion in London as part of this research.
To learn more about the changing landscape of hotel distribution and business travellers’ expectations, download a copy of the free Business Travel Insights: Hotels 360 report today.
 The research was conducted by Audiencenet in September 2014
This article was first published on the Amadeus IT Corporate Blog.