Business travellers have been changing their habits over time, gradually opting for more stays at vacation rentals. With many of them currently working from their own homes, now may be a good time to step back and consider how the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is reshaping the industry. As the world opens up, home and apartment partners may be able to take advantage of evolving trends to attract both more business bookers and remote workers using the new Work-Friendly Program.
A growing trend of working from homes
Over time, we have been seeing increased demand for vacation-style rentals from various customer segments. For example, this March, nearly two-thirds (65%) of business bookers we surveyed said they were considering staying in a home-like property for their next business trip.
Will this demand continue? It’s reasonable to think so. Business travellers may be searching for a more secluded and private environment due to health and safety concerns that have emerged since the pandemic. Staying at vacation homes can help them cut down on the number of interactions with staff while also helping them respect social distancing rules.
Plus, many companies are not planning to reopen their offices for the rest of the year - some not at all. In that scenario, millions of people will be encouraged to work from home or from anywhere. A recent Gartner poll found 48% of employees will likely work remotely at least part of the time after the pandemic, versus 30% before. We are already seeing signs on the platform through the filters bookers use and the requests they make to partners that having a dedicated workspace and office amenities is important, particularly from bleisure travellers. We have even seen examples of people on social media asking how to identify properties on Booking.com that are suitable for work.
What business bookers are searching for
When they do need to work while travelling, what business bookers consider essential is fairly straightforward, but they may have new needs based on the pandemic.
First and foremost, they absolutely require an invoice so they can expense their costs. They also expect essential safety and security devices like fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors, in addition to the usual suspects like a dedicated space to work and free WiFi.
But be aware that in today’s climate, flexibility around cancellation policies may be the most attractive must-have of all. While business travellers have significantly higher intent to actually stay at your property and on average cancel 57% less often than leisure travellers, they may need additional assurances now. Their plans may change at the last minute, either due to changes in business priorities or in the event their travel is disrupted by lockdown restrictions.
A valuable and reliable guest
There is no doubt that business travellers are a valuable group to target. When they book, you’ll find that these travellers are non-seasonal. They book 19% more workdays on average than leisure travellers, allowing you to fill your rooms during the weekdays and attract leisure travellers on the weekends. They also generally book within a shorter window, so you can look to them to help sell your empty rooms at the last minute.
Property partners may find that business guests are relatively low-maintenance, as they spend much of their time working alone or travelling to and from work appointments.
Making your property work-friendly
You can better reach both business travellers and remote workers by joining the new Work-Friendly Program. It’s aimed at home and apartment partners who want to attract business travellers, remote workers or any traveller looking for a workspace at their vacation rental.
Once you’ve fulfilled the requirements by indicating the work-friendly amenities you offer at your property for at least one unit, you’ll receive a special badge to highlight your property and its units - all at no extra cost to you.
Perhaps most important of all, these work-friendly properties will be promoted on trusted Booking.com partner company platforms where corporate travellers book accommodations. This provides an opportunity for you to unlock an entirely new audience and grow your business, without using discounts to comprise that growth.
Incremental growth - in more ways than one
In some ways, revenue growth that comes out of this program for home and apartment partners could be thought of as incremental. On one level, it can gradually increase your overall revenue as you capture incrementally more business bookers, but also incremental in the sense that you may end up getting sales you otherwise wouldn’t have captured, especially when your property is featured in new distribution channels.
This is why this program is so important for home and apartment partners. It’s an opportunity to enter new markets at no additional cost - save for any office amenities you might need to purchase to outfit your property.
- The Work-Friendly Program can help partners capture an increasing demand for vacation rentals by business bookers - at no additional cost
- Nearly two-thirds of business bookers surveyed said they were considering a home property for their next business booking
- What business bookers consider essential is straightforward, and partners can indicate which amenities they offer in the extranet
- Work-friendly properties will be promoted on trusted Booking.com partner company platforms where corporate travellers book accommodations
- The program offers partners an opportunity to unlock an entirely new audience and grow business without using discounts