Breakfast, WiFi and late check-outs are the three most coveted value-adds corporate travellers want from hotels.
The top five global value-adding inclusions most preferred in a hotel stay, in order of preference are: breakfast, WiFi, late check-out, room upgrades and early check-in. This is according to a recent study conducted by Corporate Traveller, a division of the Flight Centre Travel Group, as part of its SmartSTAY programme.
Nicholas Barenblatt, Marriott International, Middle East and Africa Area Director, says for South African travellers, technology is also in high demand among corporate travellers, and that WiFi in particular is the most desired service for guests.
“As technology has developed, people are using their time in a hotel to do work. Travellers need to stay connected whilst travelling. They want to be able to do this at any time of the day, wherever they are. This is one reason why free WiFi is so important.”
Carlson Rezidor’s Yugashnee Naicker agrees with Barenblatt saying: “The corporate traveller needs to stay connected to their offices, business partners and family so WiFi is one of the most wanted amenities. Technology has changed the way we do business. In the past amenities were about having a hotel that provides a comfortable bed and goose feather pillows, now WiFi is taking priority.”
The need for WiFi and other technological innovations at hotels will continue in the future, says Barenblatt. “The demand for technological tools to enhance one’s stay will continue.
“Hotels have to be aware of new technological developments and identify those that will appeal to their current guests and more importantly the next generational traveller. The use of technology will support the traditional personalised service that is delivered by the staff.”
Barenblatt adds that in the future, business travellers will also demand more healthier food options and exercise facilities that go beyond a small gym in a hotel. “With mountain biking, for instance, having become a particularly popular exercise option for business people, this is something that some hotels will look at offering.”
For corporate travel buyers, knowing which amenities are most desired by their employees will go a long way to assisting with corporate travel agreement negotiations.
“Flexible travel policies with a focus on diminishing traveller friction have an important role to play in the retention and motivation of employees in a company. Also for companies wanting to attract new talent, the travel policy is an important element. Knowing how corporate travellers are treated in a company can be a ‘make or break’ factor for new recruits,” says Oz Desai, GM Corporate Traveller.
Desai said the mindset for travel executives has shifted to meld procurement approaches, in terms of lowest price, with the idea that they must secure amenities that will improve the journey.
With this in mind, Corporate Traveller has designed its SmartSTAY product. Booking through SmartSTAY not only provides free hotel extras, but facilitates the reduction of overall travel costs for companies by offering a programme which travellers want to book, simultaneously helping corporates adhere to their travel policy and cut ‘leakage’ costs to non-preferred suppliers.