There is a lot of 'new' to be recognised, dealt with and accommodated for in the aftermath of the last couple of years. The drastic changes caused by Covid are in some ways everlasting, and have infiltrated into our personal lives, social lives and work lives. Our habits have been influenced. So has the way we think. It has introduced some of us who work in offices to a more flexible life with the widespread normalisation of remote work. Back in 2020, Bill Gates predicted that more than 50% of business travel and more than 30% of days worked in offices would go away permanently. And according to this recent Forbes article, the amount of frequent business travelers who say they’ll never return to the road' has risen from 39% in October 2021 to 42% in February 2022.
Another stark area of concern when it comes to business travel is in relation to climate change and environmental impact. Bigger companies who would have accounted for most business travel before the pandemic are now under immense pressure to show that they are making efforts to reduce their travel emissions. It's a concern for companies, especially when you consider the impact these things can have on brand likeability.
All of that said, it's not entirely bad news for business travel! Like anything, it's about adapting. There might be less business travel happening - but it's certainly not gone. Recent data from STR shows recovery in the segment with workers travelling for sales, consulting, trainings, conferences and conventions. It also notes the new kind of business travellers - digital nomads and people taking 'bleisure' trips.
Another recent study shows business travel demand gradually increasing each year, with a prediction that single-person business trips will reach 457 million by 2024. According to this Hospitality Net article, 70% of all business leaders say that a balanced mix of working virtually and in-person would allow them to do their best work. Being aware of this sentiment as a hotelier could open up new opportunities for you to consider!
The bleisure and workation travellers
We've talked about them before. With Forbes pointing out that this isn't even that new a trend, we're sure you know all about them. But as a hotel, it's so crucial to account for bleisure and workation travellers - especially now when there's been such an increase in them.
It's always a good idea to revisit your target personas and make sure they still ring true based on the information you have on your guests.
Whether you've created target personas based on bleisure/workation travellers yet or not, it's a good idea to do so. If you have, then revisit and make sure the details all still ring true.
Bleisure travellers want services that make their trip easy. If they are combining work and play, they need everything to be accommodated for. They're most likely to prefer hotels that offer and reliable internet, work areas, and 24-hour services, while also offering leisure facilities like spas, gyms, restaurants and pools.
The digital nomad
Digital nomads are defined as people who 'live in a nomadic way while working remotely using technology', and the explosion of this term and trend since Covid is overwhelming! It is a huge area for hotels to consider, and similarly to bleisure travellers, digital nomads need reliable internet and decent places to work.
The work retreat
While many of us are working remotely long-term, we collectively still recognise the value of meeting face to face - especially when it's not the norm. Another huge opportunity for hotels.
How do you go about attracting these groups of travellers?
Delve into your data
As we mentioned before, it's crucial for you to understand who is booking stays with you in order to gain a better understanding of who you can attract to stay in future. If you are attracting certain types of new business travellers, did you provide a service they will want to come back to? If you haven't been attracting any of these groups, could you perhaps devise a rate plan and try to market the right things to the right groups? Be strategic with your pricing and offers.
Get your marketing right
Once you've got a handle on who you're targeting and what you want to offer them, get smart and creative with your marketing. It's never any good having the perfect rate plan without the right marketing strategy! Consider your website and social content, how you are positioning your hotel and how you can demonstrate what you have to offer. Work with your marketing agency on the right campaign and strategy.
Think about how you can utilise your hotel in different ways
Whether you're a city centre property or you're more remote, 62% of employees aged 22 to 65 say they work remotely 'at least occasionally'. That's a lot. And while people love working from home, it's also been a struggle for some. Do you have the ability to offer a co-working space in your hotel? Co-working spaces are popping up everywhere - and there's still not enough of them. Maybe it's another potential revenue stream for your hotel.