What do business travelers need in a hotel?
After over two years of the pandemic, business travel is back and is expected to grow significantly. In-person meetings that have been postponed multiple times will finally take place and more conferences will begin to shift back from online to a mix of virtual and material mediums. Throw in a dash of retreats and team-building trips and we have made a return a reality.
Business travel is projected to be a very lucrative market over the next several years. The industry is expected to reach $2.46 billion by 2029 (Data Bridge Market Research). Business travelers represent the second largest source of revenue for most hotels, according to the 2022 State of the Hotel Industry Report. This means more hotels are allocating resources toward capturing the attention and loyalty of this market. The first step in doing this is understanding the expectations of a business traveler and effectively catering to their needs. Here’s a look at nine things a business traveler is looking for when booking hotels.
This should come as no surprise. Business travelers expect to find furniture that is both comfortable and functional. Whether it’s a traditional desk, standing desks, or the inclusion of a lap desk for working in bed, surface area is necessary. Rooms should also include comfortable and ergonomic seating plus connectivity and syncing capabilities. Whether that’s in-room speakers, a smart TV, or devices like Amazon Echo and Google Assistant that ensure seamless working. An added bonus is quiet space that is conducive to deep thinking. This means opting for sound insulation or intentional floor planning (i.e. rooms are not located near high-traffic areas like elevators or the fitness center).
Internet access is a major consideration for business travelers looking to book a hotel. A majority of business travelers say they will prioritize hotels that offer WiFi for free (even if the price is really just built into the room fee). A fast, reliable network should work in all areas of the hotel but it’s a must in guest rooms and business centers. As the line blurs for what and where an office is today, the constant necessity is strong internet with security for file transfers and speed for video calls.
Business travelers often have numerous devices that need charging and unfortunately, outlets are sometimes an overlooked feature in hotel rooms. Be sure to provide multiple, conveniently located outlets in guest rooms to ensure they can stay connected. This is where furniture design can play a key role. Having smart furniture in your guest rooms can include powered nightstands, headboards, and desks with traditional or even USB plugs. This can set your hotel apart from the competition, because convenience often wins.
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Another commonly overlooked feature in rooms is the lighting system. Lighting places an important role in the comfort and functionality of a hotel room. Lamps at the workspace and reading lights by the bed are popular with business travelers. Quality bathroom and/or closet light should not be neglected either. Business travelers often need space to prepare for meetings and events. Time zone changes also mean potentially odd hours and presentability requirements for the traveler — no matter what it looks like outside. Quality lighting is key.
Business trips are exhausting — whether it’s the long days of traveling, several meetings, or large events — they require to be “on top of their game.” At the end of the day, business travelers are in need of a good night’s sleep. Comfortable beds and quality bedding materials play an essential role in that.
Designing guest rooms that feature multi-purpose furnishing and plenty of clear, horizontal space allows the furniture to be defined by the actions of guests. Business travelers crave spaces that offer a place to store belongings while simultaneously inviting them to work, lounge, or even socialize. The flexibility in the furnishings allows business travelers to pick a change of scenery while working.
Storage is especially important for travelers who stay for longer periods of time. Not only does the hotel serve as an “office away from the office” it serves as a home away from home. It’s essential your guest rooms feature shelves, cupboards, dressers, and other places to lay out clothing and other items that shouldn’t remain in suitcases (i.e. suits and dresses).
Hoteliers don’t necessarily think about it, but a full-length mirror in a hotel room is very popular with business travelers. When getting ready for events and important meetings, it’s important that guests can check their entire outfit for any mishaps. The bathroom shouldn’t be the only place to find a mirror.
A well-equipped business center is a must. This space doesn’t always need to be large, but it should have all the technology necessary for a business traveler to work effectively. This may include phones, printers, and desktop computers. Not only should hotels consider a business center, but creating a variety of working spaces outside of guest rooms could include single-person pods, nooks, and seating arrangements for impromptu meetings or private calls. It shouldn’t be a burden on a business traveler to pull out their laptop and work from essentially anywhere in your hotel.
With billions of dollars spent on business travel each year, it’s important to consider the specific needs of this type of traveler — which span several areas including technology, furniture, special amenities, and space variety. Accommodations are changing and hotels looking to leverage this lucrative market need to clearly highlight their business-oriented offerings to attract loyal business travelers.
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