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Business travellers place premium on loyalty programme benefits

Most business travellers seek nearness to work locations, although ‘existential factors’ such as proximity to food outlets, entertainment, traveller reviews and loyalty programme benefits are also high on the agenda.

According to research from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), in partnership with HRS, corporate travel buyers underestimate the importance of these factors for clients.

“Building and managing a travel program is an exercise in balance,” said Hannah Jaffee, GBTA research analyst. “Though practicality is key for business travellers, they view business travel as an experience, and they want their hotel options to reflect that. If hotel adoption is a problem, travel buyers can take strategic steps to ensure factors around traveller preference and experience are accounted for in contract negotiations.”

Travellers also place a higher premium on personalisation than travel buyers when it comes to corporate booking tools. More than 50 per cent of travellers want an online booking tool to offer more hotels with amenities.

Personalised options such as upgrades and add-ons in the booking process was cited by 74 per cent of travellers as important However, there is a clear discrepancy, as only one in five travel buyers say this is a need.

Centralised payment drives hotel bookings, with 88 per cent of travellers stating that if their company offers central or direct payment with a hotel, they would book with them, over another hotel that does not offer this payment method.

“That 88 per cent figure represents a true lighthouse metric for travel programs seeking expedient avenues to higher adoption of preferred hotel suppliers and booking channels,” said Suzanne Neufang, senior vice president of Enterprise Solutions for HRS Americas.

“Once travellers use direct payment, they prefer it. And they love the simplification of expense reporting. For buyers, it helps keep employees in the program and provides richer Level 3 data for procurement purposes. And hoteliers gain from more volume. It’s a win-win-win.”