The growth of the industry can be attributed to the upsurge of tourism globally, increase in international business travel, rise in frequency of various MICE events organised world-wide, and rise the in disposable income of consumers. Axel Hauser, General Manager, Fairmont The Norfolk and Fairmont Mara Safari Club shares six tips hoteliers can adopt to tap into this area of growth and maximise both inbound business travel and MICE business.
Know Your Audience
Rather than using a one size fits all approach, take the time to identify your target markets and understand the type of groups your property is able to accommodate. Once you understand what resonates with your clientele you can then tailor marketing efforts to each region by building attractive packages around meetings, conferences and incentives. The landscape is evolving so stay ahead of the curve – there is more than one type of business traveller including the “bleisure” and “workventure” (more on this later).
Understanding The Booking Decision
How do business travellers make their booking decision? Knowing business traveller preferences provides an opportunity to benchmark which boxes the property is ticking and the areas for development or improvement. Keep up to date with industry reports and whitepapers or even commission your own independent survey through a research agency.
Maximise Bleisure Trips
Often a bleisure trip presents itself as an opportunity for a business traveller to take an extended stay to explore the locale either solo or with a partner or family. A growing trend, the most sought after bleisure experiences include being immersed in local culture and art, sightseeing, conservation and wellbeing activities. Workventure travellers are more spontaneous than bleisure travellers and tend to go for off the beaten track and niche activities. To maximise a bleisure or workventure trips collaborate with local attractions and independent outlets to produce engaging packages that are easy to book in advance as well as short notice. Each type of business traveller has a different need so it is important to have a wide range of experiences to offer.
Convenience is King
Time is a precious commodity which means convenience is king – and when it comes to business travellers they will undoubtedly prefer to stay at hotel where processes are speedy and seamless. One of the top factors to consider to attract business travellers to your hotel is to speed-up the arrivals and departures process; digital check-in / check-out via mobile or self-check-in/ check-out kiosks are in demand by corporate guests. Another factor to consider is giving as much time back to the corporate guest as possible, so they can focus on work, by taking care of travel logistics from providing airport transfers to pre-arranged meeting drop-off and return.
With a flexible loyalty programme, both independent properties as well as hotel groups can retain repeat business by offering the things corporate travellers appreciate from free nights and discounted stays to free transportation and discounted spa services, plus experiences linked to the destination. Whilst loyalty programmes are not the best way to attract corporate guests in the first instance, they do foster a brand relationship and data capture opportunities which can be used to offer more tailored and personalised services. Corporate guests will commonly visit the same destinations each year, or even multiple times over the course of a year, so they appreciate a flexible loyalty programme that provides them with personalised benefits.
Living in a digital age the use of social media cannot be ignored among leisure or business travellers. They use social media to stay connected and keep in the loop on current business trends. This is why it is important to engage with corporates through multi-platforms and utilise advertising and promotions through LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.