Speeding up service for business travellers

Business hotel reception.

Business travellers are not like luxury travellers. They are visiting a hotel because of work, not there to relax. The reality is that often they don’t even want to be there and would much rather be at home.

By the end of 2017, the global business travel market was estimated to be worth $1.3 trillion (USD). Allied Market Research data suggests that if trends continue the market segment will be valued at $1.66 trillion by 2023.

The Asia-Pacific region is particularly dominant in the business market, with 42 percent of all business travel revenue is coming from the area, and that percentile is expected to grow.

To make the most out of this market, hotels must first understand what makes business travellers different.

These travellers aren’t there to muck around with frills and luxurious extras; they are there to focus on their visit and work.

One consistent theme across all a business travellers’ expectation is to have everything done efficiently, with no time wasted.

“First, Asia’s business travellers are gaining greater autonomy in their travel decisions, making it critical to address their preferences, not just those of their employers. Second, they value convenience above all else,” said Alex Dichter, senior partner of worldwide management consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

“Convenience dwarfs other priorities, such as value for money and award-winning service.”

One key point of difference is that mundane processes like checking in are nothing more than a chore for them.

They’ve come off a tiring day of stressful meetings and conferences, and they just want to relax.

Self-service kiosks are one solution. While at one point there were concerns that self-check-in kiosks would be too complicated for many guests, the successful adoption of the technology in grocery store and airports suggests that most people will be familiar with the technology.

This will be doubly beneficial for business travellers who want to have control and personalise their travel experience, as self-service kiosks can often allow travellers to quickly customise their trips. They can sort an itinerary without talking to anybody. According to research from global distribution system Sabre, 40 percent of North American business travellers think personalised travel offers are very important and another 36 percent believe it is very important, so it's definitely worth considering in properties with lots of business travellers.

The most obvious and definitive feature of a business hotel is its location. It must be close to where meetings are held so they don’t have to waste time and money on travel and worry about getting to places on time.

When it comes to food and beverage, breakfast is the most important meal for corporates. Guests don’t want to waste their precious time looking for a coffee or bagel in the morning before they head off to a conference.

Room service also comes into the equation, as time-pressured travellers will often look for the easy low-fuss option that they don't have to think much about.

Andrew Brown has over 13 years’ experience working as executive chef at luxury hotels like the Millennium Hotel and The George Hotel. He more than anyone knows what food solutions guests want.

“I believe guests are often wanting very simple low fuss options that can be delivered hot and quick. Comfortable and relatable foods options often match their reasons to stay in a room for a meal,” said Andrew Brown, marketing and production development manager, United Fisheries Ltd.

“Consider the guest’s needs factoring into their reasons to order room service dining versus dining in the hotel’s restaurant or dining out of the hotel.”

In this case, business travellers will be looking to room service for its convenience and to save time, especially when the company is paying.

Finally, when on a work trip, travellers often want to do work in their room. Services such as Wi-Fi need to be treated as a priority to allow for more efficient work. Co-working stations in the lobby the lobby for those who prefer a communal setting is also a trend catching on, especially for hotels geared towards the millennial market.