Svenja Ullrich’s 25 years in business travel leave her with one fundamental belief about hotels: “Above all, business travelers just want to focus on their visit.” Ullrich, who’s jointly responsible for BCD Travel’s hotel programs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, offers insights into what business travelers really care about when they’re booking hotels.
“It all starts with location,” Ullrich said. “Business travelers prefer to be close to where their meetings are so they don’t waste time and money on local travel and don’t have to worry about getting everywhere on time.”
Choice and cost
Business travelers may not be picking up the tab, but they care about how much their companies pay for hotel stays, Ullrich said. And they really care about their accommodation choices. That may lead an on-the-road employee to surf hotel-booking websites, but the rooms and rates they find there usually are not the best choices for a business traveler.
In addition, comparison shopping for hotels is time-consuming and outside travelers’ expertise. But, Ullrich said, BCD does have this expertise—with traveler-centric (and award-winning) platforms like TripSource®, knowledgeable agents, an understanding of hotels’ dynamic pricing strategies and access to hundreds of thousands of rooms and rates. “This enables us to find the best hotel that conforms to the customer’s travel policy and meets the traveler’s needs,” she explained.
Food and drink
“Breakfast is a must” for business travelers, Ullrich said. “You don’t want to waste valuable time looking for a coffee bar in the morning. It’s also important for the hotel to have a restaurant. At some hotels you can indicate what you would like in the minibar and can ask to have a bottle of water placed in your room.”
Business travelers want to be productive during a trip, Ullrich noted. “When choosing a hotel, make sure the room has reliable Wi-Fi and a comfortable desk. Some hotels now have workstations in the lobby for people who prefer to work in a communal environment.”
“Hotels are aware of the changing needs of travelers. One good development is catering to the needs of business travelers who’re staying for a longer period, for example, while working on a project,” Ullrich said. “Social and networking activities such as a film evening or a barbecue encourage contact and add value for the traveler, both on a business and personal level.”
Travelers should consider what aspects of a hotel stay are important to them and pass this information on to their BCD booking agents, Ullrich advised. “In the booking system, an agent can see which facilities and amenities are available at hotels, and we’re happy to give extra information or guidance. In addition, travelers who book hotels via TripSource can see for themselves exactly which services a hotel offers.” Her parting advice, ask for what you want: “Hotels are often willing to meet travelers’ requests.”
Get the latest on how BCD Travel customers using the Concur Travel booking will get more hotel options. Then ask your account manager how BCD can help your hotel program engage travelers and build for change.