Booking.com partner

Engaging corporate travellers with Genius Business

Business tourism is growing, with new guest profiles, the emergence of co-working and bleisure travel creating diverse opportunities for our partners. Ripsy Bandourian, Vice President, Partnerships (B2B) at Booking.com shares how partners can tap into the demand

In general, business travel has been pretty resilient in recent years. Accounting for 21.5% of global travel and tourism spending in 2018, the sector is expected to grow 3% in the coming year and by 2029 will generate over US$1.735bn annually.

One of the key drivers for this buoyancy has been the development of large global business in the markets we used to call emerging - that are now, by most metrics, emerged. These businesses are driving really aggressive growth: according to the Global Business Travel Association, India and Indonesia are expected to increase their business travel spend by 11.3% and 8.7% respectively. Meanwhile, China remains the world’s biggest business travel market, continuing to outpace the US in terms of both growth and spend, with Asia-Pacific expected to gain a further 2% of the market share by 2022.

Emerging trends

These trends are incredibly important. Momentum is gaining in new regions, while more established markets are maintaining a healthy outlook. More broadly, we cannot ignore that in the near-term the majority of our workforce will be millennials and that drives very different types of behaviour. Recently we found that 30% of business travellers would accept a lower paid job if it meant they could travel more. We are really committed to empowering people to experience the world and firmly believe this is possible through business travel. The growth of bleisure is impacting the market too.

The numbers we see today are staggering: 49% of business travellers are extending their trips for leisure and the average extension is three days. What’s more, Friday and Saturday check-ins for business travellers are growing 33% faster than traditional business check-in days. That’s really quite mind-boggling when you think about the opportunity it creates for both the accommodation and even experience providers locally. Traditional properties could consider ways to diversify for this market, while alternative accommodations can make the most of their broader amenities - first taking care of the business basics, then highlighting the leisure benefits.

Increasingly, business travellers are booking for themselves rather than through an agent, so there is much more emphasis on exploration and connecting with the places they go to. New types of properties are being considered and this includes alternative accommodations like apartments. Collectively, these trends indicate a real shift in the market and most of all an exceptional opportunity for partners looking to engage these guests.

 

Appealing to the market

From a property perspective there are must-haves, one of which is wifi. Not having connectivity is a bit like not having water. I think that’s not only an expectation for millennials but any business traveller in this day and age. The other important element is the location - we notice that the majority of business travellers search by address - and accessibility. Highlighting transport links and connections to major travel hubs like airports will help a property stand out.

There is a necessity for functional work areas and versatile, hybrid spaces are now the preference over traditional business centres. Alternative accommodations often lack these facilities but what you can do is highlight suitable cafes or co-working spaces nearby. Going one step further you could contract with local businesses to offer access to your guests, which is an exciting prospect and relatively risk free as you don’t need to dedicate space or give preferential access to guests. Alternative accommodations shouldn’t count themselves out of the business travel game, but they will need to be clear in showing why travellers should stay there.

As the market grows, so too does competition, so considering how you can stand out or incentivise potential guests is really vital. After establishing the foundations of your offering and taking care of the basics like wifi, Genius Business can really help boost your visibility to this captive audience, allowing you to offer a targeted discount that only business travellers can utilise.

A compelling price is a big incentive for a business traveller; leisure guests often have a flexible bracket, but corporate travel budgets tend to be less malleable. We see an average increase of 11% more bookings for partners offering business discounts, and for properties that have really distinct occupancy fluctuations, Genius Business can be activated or deactivated when convenient to your needs.

Business travellers are valuable guests: they travel frequently, are 50% less likely to cancel and are 60% more likely to return to the property again. The segment is no longer the reserve of just large chain hotels; smaller properties and alternative accommodations can now cater to the growing and diversifying demand with equal opportunity. Finding ways to increase visibility and drive midweek occupancy are incredibly important, and Genius Business offers an incremental and scalable way to grow your revenue and tap into that global demand.

 

If you'd like to activate Genius Business for your property head straight to the Extranet or learn more on Solutions.

Takeaway
  • Business travel accounted for 21.5% of global tourism spending in 2018 and the sector is expected to grow 3% in 2019
  • Business travellers are 50% less likely to cancel and are 60% more likely to return to a property again
  • Genius Business can help boost property visibility and allows you to offer a targeted discount that only business travellers can utilise