McLEAN, Va. - Embassy Suites Hotels announced today the results of its fourth annual Business Travel Survey*, a yearly pulse of the business travel community, which reveals the current state of business travel and what business travelers want more of in 2012. This year's survey indicates that while the current economic climate is still a factor, one-third of respondents report that they're traveling more than a year ago to have face-to-face meetings with clients. It also highlights the ways in which travelers are looking to get the most out of their business trips, from the incidence of "business-turned-leisure" trips to hotel value, and underscores the importance of technology on the road.
"As an upscale hotel brand with a significant business traveler base, it's very important that we listen to these 'road warriors' and understand what their expectations are so that we can consistently accommodate their needs and provide value each time they stay with us," said John Lee, vice president, brand marketing for Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Worldwide. "This year's survey shows us that while people are traveling more for business; those guests want to get more - literally - out of every trip."
Business Travel on the Rise...
The Embassy Suites' survey validates that the current economic climate is still affecting business travel, but to a lesser degree than last year. Fewer business travelers cite cut backs on travel due to the economy (32 percent), down nearly 10 percent from 2011 (41 percent). These results reflect the value of "face-time" - in-person meetings with colleagues and clients - in business relationships. Rather than sacrifice these meetings, people are being more frugal on the road by cutting back on meals and other incidental expenses (19 percent) or looking for hotels that are a good value (22 percent). "Despite all the great technological advances, there is still no substitute for meeting someone in person," says Cynthia Good, CEO & founding editor of Little PINK Book, a leading digital platform for businesswomen. "Relationship-building is the best way to grow your business; getting to know someone in person and looking them in the eyes makes all the difference."
Getting More Out of Business Trips with "Bleisure" Travel...
In a phenomenon known as "bleisure travel," 61 percent of business travelers report that they maximize a business trip by extending their stay for leisure purposes at least some of the time. It is even more common among those who travel often, with nearly seven out of ten frequent business travelers extending their trips at least some of the time. On average, business travelers stay an additional three days to take in the sights and culture of the area they're in (45 percent) or simply to relax (32 percent). Where would business travelers most like to extend their trips? The top cities to turn a business trip into a "bleisure" trip are San Diego (60 percent), Seattle (39 percent) and Denver (36 percent).
Wanting More from Hotels...
If one thing is clear from the survey, it's that business travelers want more from their hotel while on the road for work. Nearly one in five respondents cite amenities as the most important factor when booking a hotel, which means these savvy travelers are looking to get more than the standard hotel fare. When asked in what ways they want to get more, approximately 70 percent of frequent travelers say free breakfasts, 54 percent say complimentary happy hours and 42 percent desire more high-definition televisions in their hotel rooms. When it comes to extra space, a hotel with two rooms is a big draw for many business travelers. Almost half (46 percent) of frequent travelers would like more space to spread out in their hotel rooms, and 14 percent say their biggest travel pet peeve is small hotel rooms.
"Today's travelers are actively looking to get more out of their budgets on the road, so Embassy Suites is proud to provide tremendous value in every stay," says Lee. "For approximately the same price of another upscale hotel room, guests can stretch out and relax in our spacious two-room suites, power up for the day with free, cooked-to-order breakfast and unwind each evening with complimentary beverages and snacks at our nightly Manager's Reception.**" And enjoy, they do: more than half of frequent travelers indulge more on the road at breakfast, while nearly half opt for a pre-dinner cocktail.
Avoiding Business Travel Meltdowns...
The survey also revealed the area that is most likely to cause strife while on the road for business: technology. Because it is such a necessity for today's road warriors, tech mishaps are cited as the most likely trigger for a "business travel meltdown." Nearly 60 percent of frequent business travelers say that technology problems, such as issues with a laptop computer or forgetting a mobile phone, are most likely to cause a meltdown. "There's nothing worse than missing a deadline or not being able to access that all-important presentation. I've regrettably had to ask clients for a deadline extension because of a tech issue," says Good. "To mitigate the risk that something tech-related will go awry, I always make sure my hotel has a business center that is open 24/7, equipped with computers and printers that I can rely on, no matter how late I may arrive."
"The bottom line," says Lee "is that even though business travel is coming back, road warriors need to feel that they're getting more out of their hotel stay. Hotel brands must create an experience that exceeds expectations-and that is certainly our goal at Embassy Suites."
To make reservations for an upcoming business trip, travelers can visit embassysuites.com or call 1-800-EMBASSY.
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The Embassy Suites Business Travel Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research between February 27 and March 2, 2012, using an email invitation and an online survey, among 701 American business travelers ages 21 and older who have taken one or more business trips in the past year. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.7 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.
**Service of alcohol subject to state and local laws. Must be of legal drinking age.
About Embassy Suites Hotels
Embassy Suites Hotels, one of Hilton Worldwide's ten market-leading brands, is dedicated to delivering what matters most to travelers. The full service, upscale brand offers every guest a two-room suite, free cooked-to-order breakfast and a nightly two-hour reception with complimentary drinks* and snacks. Both leisure and business travelers looking for a relaxed, yet sophisticated, experience will feel right at home with brand-standard amenities like inviting atriums and complimentary 24-hour business and fitness centers. Embassy Suites Hotels has more than 215 hotels with more than 25 in the pipeline. For more information, visit www.embassysuites.com, and connect with Embassy Suites at www.embassysuitesmediacenter.com, www.facebook.com/embassysuiteshotels and www.twitter.com/EmbassySuites.
*Service of alcohol subject to state and local laws. Must be of legal drinking age.
About Hilton Worldwide
Hilton Worldwide (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company, spanning the lodging sector from luxury and full-service hotels and resorts to extended-stay suites and focused-service hotels. For 94 years, Hilton Worldwide has been dedicated to continuing its tradition of providing exceptional guest experiences. The company’s portfolio of ten world-class global brands is comprised of more than 4,000 managed, franchised, owned and leased hotels and timeshare properties, with more than 678,000 rooms in 91 countries and territories, including Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Hotels, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages an award-winning customer loyalty program, Hilton HHonors®.
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