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Wanup reveals major European frequent business traveller preferences

The independent hotel loyalty club reveals previously unknown consumer habits through new research
The first major study on European business travellers reveals significant trends that were previously unknown to the industry, and that hotel loyalty in Europe is a fast-growing field in need of exploration. Interviewing 6,000 frequent travellers from European countries, the research reveals that up to 63% of people prefer to organise their trip through an app, according to hotel loyalty club Wanup.


Commissioned by Wanup and conducted by Alpha Research, with institutional support from Bournemouth University, the study analysed a group of 25 to 55 year olds, all of whom have travelled for business at least six times and stayed in a hotel three or more times over the last year. It included consumers from the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain.  

Dimitrios Buhalis, Head of Department of Tourism and Hospitality at Bournemouth University, commented: “Wanup’s report provides a comprehensive overview of business travellers and their needs and requirements. As this is a growing and very lucrative market, those who understand and address business travellers’ preferences will drive cocreation of wonderful experiences to ease the burden of business trips, make the experience more enjoyable and benefit from customer loyalty. With technology driving change it is inevitable that high tech, high touch solutions and engagement will assist in the future”.  

Hotel loyalty in Europe needs to be further explored and developed<br>   Wanup found that 62% of those surveyed are part of a loyalty club, particularly hotel loyalty programmes linked to a large hotel chain or associated with an online travel agency.  

38% of respondents are not part of a loyalty programme, citing a lack of hotel variety as a reason for not joining a scheme, but Wanup’s research reveals that almost 80% of the respondents would sign up if hotels knew their specific needs and offered a more personalised service, indicating how loyalty schemes should be further developed. Rather than large hotel chains, Wanup offers a portfolio that ranges from boutique city hotels to resorts on coast, meaning that members have choice and variety when booking.   

Wanup can also reveal that business travellers view in-destination perks as the most important incentive for joining a rewards programme, followed by cashback – expressed by 24% of respondents - and the opportunity to redeem points across different platforms – as indicated by 22% of participants. As part of the reward scheme at Wanup, members receive both in-destination perks and cashback.  

73.6% of respondents expressed difficulty at getting rewards, because their points have expired, but Wanup’s rewards scheme offers incentives that do not expire and can be accessed by users later.  

Regarding how businesses can motivate consumers to join one of these programmes, Wanup’s results indicate that 79% of travellers would be more interested if there was a cash incentive, and 53% agreed that they would be more likely to join a loyalty scheme if they were referred by a friend.  

Millennial and Generation X business travellers have a work hard/ play hard mentality
  Interestingly, Wanup found that UK business travellers were the least likely to describe themselves as ‘work hard/play hard’ – only 28.6%, compared to 44.9% of Germans and 38.6% of Italians. Out of all respondents who were part of an existing loyalty scheme, the British were the most likely to be part of a large hotel chain, at 69.5%. However, UK citizens were also more likely to express dissatisfaction with their scheme than any of the other nations surveyed, at 45.9%. This contrasts with 31.6% of German respondents.  

The UK Business Traveller
  Interestingly, Wanup found that UK business travellers were the least likely to describe themselves as ‘work hard/play hard’ – only 28.6%, compared to 44.9% of Germans and 38.6% of Italians. Out of all respondents who were part of an existing loyalty scheme, the British were the most likely to be part of a large hotel chain, at 69.5%. However, UK citizens were also more likely to express dissatisfaction with their scheme than any of the other nations surveyed, at 45.9%. This contrasts with 31.6% of German respondents.  

Millennials vs Generation X
  Wanup’s research revealed that there weren’t significant differences between these two generations when it came to business travel. However, the few points were they differed included Generation X’s members having more autonomy over their decisions - 33.5% don’t have to follow a business travel company policy, compared to just 28.7% of millennials. In addition, millennials are far more likely to use mobile technology during their travel, with 70.3% booking transport via an app compared to 57.9% of Generation X.  

The digitalisation of the loyalty sector
  The study indicates that new technology developments are shaping the hospitality industry, loyalty programmes and user habits. A desire for instant messaging tools to contact the hotel during the stay, such as Chatbot and WhatsApp, was expressed by 44.5% of respondents, with mobile phone usage on the rise among business travellers during trips. This activity includes sharing their experiences on social media.  

The opportunity for a personalised loyalty scheme is seen as an added value, with seven out of ten respondents prepared to share their consumer habits to get tailored services through the use of mobile push notifications. Included within Wanup is the opportunity for business travellers to choose a more tailored experience, with a range of hotels and rewards to be enjoyed.  A subscription to Amazon Prime (31.2%) and Netflix (26.0%) are the top two services that respondents would like to receive for free or with discounts for being a member of a loyalty club. In addition, members can book partner hotels and view their rewards through the Wanup app.

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