For Business Travelers, Comfort Is King

Comfort on the road

Alvin Brickman for Metrosetter Wire

Homewood Suites have just released the results of a survey they conducted with over 550 business travelers about the amenities they look for on the road.  The study found that travelers wish to recreate their home-experience and to maximize networking opportunities with business associates and other travelers.

As it turns out, the number one regret business travelers have when away from home is not being able to prepare their own meals, part of a larger overarching theme of complaints regarding the disruption of the comforts of their daily routines. For many business travelers, the necessity of going out for food – twenty-five percent reported missing their kitchen the most and sixty-nine percent preferred healthier food options over fitness facilities — creates a significant lapse in their normal schedule and consumes valuable time that could have been spent on business or networking activities.

When travelers come back to their rooms, they wish to recreate the space they are accustomed to at home; meaning, more spacious and more office amenities, with two-thirds of travelers taking the time to unpack their suitcase and seventy-one percent choosing a “’desk or living room’ as the most desired location for in-room work; the same percent of respondents said they work at least one hour or more per day in their hotel room.”

As for leisure, business travelers don’t see the difference between extracurricular activities and business activities. When traveling, they are always “on the clock,” so to speak, regarding each social encounter as a potential business contact.  One-third of travelers said they have made an important business connection while socializing at a hotel, seventy-three percent said they regarded traveling for work as the most effective way to do business, and another eighty-eight percent reporting the Internet as the most used amenity at hotels.

In short, travelers wish to maintain the homeostasis and productivity they have when engaged in their daily routines at home, which can be afforded in new brands. Bjorn Hanson, Dean, New York University Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management, said in the press release that “Corporate travelers are emphasizing both how to maximize value for their travel expenditures and their productivity while traveling. Business travelers are indicating increased willingness to try new brands this year, so extended-stay hotels, for example, will help extend their travel budgets and meet their business needs.”

Christian Kuhn, Homewood Suites by Hilton vice president of marketing, observed that “In 2012 the hotel industry has seen a rebound in business travel, but returning guests are now demanding more than just a fiscal value. Less impressed by bells and whistles, they want amenities and services that deliver both comfort and productivity.”

All who participated in the survey had taken three or more trips of four or more days in the past 12 months.

It appears to be reasonable in predicting a significant increase in travelers utilizing extended-stay hotels and corporate rentals in the future.

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