November 16, 2012

European business travelers prefer to book direct with hotels


According to a new Accor study, European business travelers book their hotels online, mostly directly via the hotel's website (43%) or through travel websites (33%). Location is their primary concern when choosing a hotel (for 66%). And free Wi-Fi is now an absolute prerequisite for one in two business travelers.

Accor, the world's leading hotel operator and the market leader in Europe, publishes today its first European Business Traveler Research. Business travelers represent around two third of the group's customers and are the focus of this research which targeted members of its Le Club Accorhotels loyalty program from France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

The research reveals key trends regarding their accommodation preferences, service expectations, habits when staying in a hotel, etc."Nowadays, business travel is evolving because of the globalization of exchanges, the development of new technologies and changing lifestyles. This research enables us to remain fully in touch with market trends and reveals one major customer expectation, the REWARD or desire for acknowledgement," explains Grégoire Champetier, Accor Global Chief Marketing Officer.

The notion of REWARD also reflects all aspects of business travelers' expectations: changing Reservation methods, the desire for a good Experience and know-how, the need for free Wi-Fi anytime, anywhere, for Attentive establishments, for Responsible hotels, all for a completely Digital-savvy business traveler.

Key findings regarding REWARD include the fact that European business travelers Reserve their hotels online, mostly directly via the hotel's website (43%) or through travel websites (33%). As far as Experience is concerned, location is their primary concern when choosing a hotel (for 66%) and bedding comfort is considered the most important hotel service (by 71%). Free Wi-Fi is now an absolute prerequisite for one in two business travelers and is the third most important hotel selection criterion after location and price. European business travelers also want Attentive hotels that offer guests a "personalized" service, for example a dedicated check-in desk for loyalty program members and access to media from their home countries. In addition, the research underscores the fact that European business travelers are Responsible and care about schemes that limit hotel energy and water consumption, as well as waste production. Lastly, the research reveals that European business travelers are Digital-savvy: 36% have downloaded a hotel booking application and one in two (49%) always or from time to time share their opinions on the social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc...).

The research reveals differences between French, German and British business travelers. The Germans, for example, are Europe's champion business travelers, notching up an average of 17 trips in the first half of the year, compared with 15 for the French and 13 for the British, who make proportionally more international business trips. As far as online booking is concerned, the British are well ahead of the French and the Germans when reserving directly via the hotel's website (64% compared with 47% and 30% respectively). The Germans prefer to book via a travel website (48%).

The research, which was carried out for the first time in Europe, but which has already been conducted twice in Asia-Pacific, also compares the expectations of business travelers according to their country of origin and culture. For example, it revealed that travelers from the Asia Pacific region are more digital-savvy than Europeans. They consider free Wi-Fi more important (second hotel selection criterion after location vs. third criterion for Europeans after location and price) and also tend to share more their opinions online.

For Cédric Gobilliard, Accor Senior Vice President Global Sales, "this research's findings endorse our choices in terms of customer relation and services. Business travelers expect more digital services, a more personalized service and welcome, greater comfort and hotels that are more responsible, and we are working on all of these issues."

Download the complete study at Accor (PDF 3.6 MB)

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