What American business travelers really want

Economically, the US is the most powerful nation on the planet. Business travelers from „the States” are omnipresent in global metropolises, key business locations and capitals. You know they are important for your business. But are you doing enough to attract them?

Text: Laura Myers // FOTOS: iStock

ITB World Travel Trends predicts a four percent increase in American international outbound trips for 2019. Europe continues to be the number one destination with a forecast eight percent increase. Millennials from the USA are the largest, reliable group of travelers driving growth. What sets them apart from other cultures? Americans can be friendly, chatty and courteous but they are also known to be noisy. They prefer personalization from booking to checkout. Many Americans do not speak other languages, so an English-speaking staff informed about the convention center, transportation, restaurants, English church services and night life is beneficial.

Personalization

A majority (85 percent) of United States business travelers highly value a personalized guest experience according to research conducted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). In the USA, the “customer is king”, which may not apply in other countries. Efficient, professional attention to their concerns will help eliminate any complaints. American business travelers typically book upper midscale hotels that offer loyalty rewards programs. Dr. Peter Varga with École hotelière de Lausanne (EHL) indicates, “52 percent of US business travelers prefer hotels with loyalty programs where they can earn advantages, such as a room upgrade.” The top three items on their list of personal preferences are: special offers, restaurant suggestions and evening entertainment. Custom-tailoring the business guest experience creates loyalty.

Amenities

American road warriors in general prefer king-size beds with non-feather bedding, a work desk, air conditioning, a coffee maker, hair dryer, and toiletries. According to a GBTA and RoomIt survey, business travelers with unlimited per diem on amenities also prefer premium Wi-Fi, in-room dining/snacks, food delivery, in-room movies and gym passes. Additional amenities that US travelers are accustomed to are on-site parking, valet service, bell hop, luggage carts and an elevator. EHL’s Dr. Varga states, “Business travelers are becoming more health conscious, hence they look for amenities such as fitness room, swimming pool and in-room hotel equipment such as yoga rugs and stationary bikes.”

Technology needs

High-speed Wi-Fi is a must, as well as, ample charging stations. Having available USA adapters for the traveler are a plus for guests who forgot to pack one. In-room HDTV has become a standard in providing everything from information about the hotel and surroundings, fast checkout, streaming of entertainment, exercise programs and calming sounds to induce sleep.

Food and drinks

American travelers prefer their drinks icy cold, so providing ice in their beverages and having access to free ice in the hotel corridor or at the front desk is helpful. Free refills of standard coffee and soda drinks are welcomed. In the USA, craft beer has been trending for over two decades – providing a sampling of local beers is sure to win the heart of many weary road warriors at day’s end. American breakfast standards like bacon, eggs and toast or blueberry pancakes with maple syrup can make US guests feel right at home. Guests in your on-site restaurant expect the wait staff to routinely check on them for additional orders or needs. They are not accustomed to waving wait staff down to ask to pay the bill as that is considered rude in their culture.

“Bleisure”

On average, Americans get two weeks of vacation per year. That enables them to commonly take one week in the summer and one week around the Christmas holidays. It makes sense that when a business traveler can extend their stay prior to returning to the office, “bleisure” is the result. Approximately, 43 percent of US business travelers extend their stays from two to six-plus nights. According to Dr. Varga from EHL, “As a global trend of generation Z, business travelers will seek more bleisure, merging business and leisure, which will encourage hotels to improve their offers in this field and also to communicate it intelligently to their business customers.”
Business travelers from the US are often on a time limit but appreciate the opportunity to squeeze in any exercise or fun during their business trip. Many enjoy exploring their surroundings. Providing them with tours and sightseeing information in English is key.

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