Figures from the Netherlands
How do business travellers book their stay? Trends to watch
text: Marijn Ruhaak // photography: istock
The times are long gone in which business travels were booked through the travel agent around the corner, and hotels over the phone. Nowadays, travellers book their own trips and stays themselves easily through the internet. That means that hotel owners have to be smarter and faster in order to reach the potential booker. To start with, good knowledge of the current trends and possible developments on the long term will get you a long way.
Facts and figures
In 2015, up to 16.8 nights were booked in Dutch hotels, in most cases by guests from the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany. Of all the corporate travel traffic, almost two thirds have an individual business-orientated reason. That’s about 3.3 million business travellers who visit the Netherlands for an appointment, a visit to headquarters or some other work-related visit. The more than 1.2 million other business travellers are part of an organised trip for a meeting, incentive, congress or trade fair.
Source: CBS (Statistics Netherlands) – investigation into the number of nights that business travellers booked in the period between 2007–2015
The fact that people mainly do their bookings through the internet won’t be news to your ears. But how is this business actually going at the moment? Sojern published a Hotel Report in 2017, in which the booking amount of travellers was analysed. The report shows that the number of online bookings has increased extensively over the past few years: in most segments to a minimum of half the number of hotel bookings. Is all of this done via smartphone? Not yet. At the end of 2016, approx. 10–15% of all online bookings were made through smartphone. The rest is done on the computer.
However, this does not mean that hotel owners don’t have to aim for a decently working booking tool for smartphones, as this clearly shows an upward trend. Koddi conducted a smaller investigation amongst 250 business travellers and discovered that 16.5% of the travellers who are currently still booking through a computer are planning to use a tablet or smartphone in the future.
Travellers who use the internet to book a hotel, have a variety of methods at their disposal to make a reservation. They can book a room themselves, ask help from an OTA, or have the booking process done by an online travel manager, who is or isn’t linked to the company for which they work. Koddi also put the development in this area under the microscope. According to the results of this investigation, 26.8% of the travellers prefer booking through the booking website of their company, 34.5% prefer to search through OTAs and 38.8% prefer to book directly with the hotel.
Google International Data. US. July 2015to December 201
Considering the fact that mobile phones are gaining ground, it can be expected that OTAs will mean big business. After all, travellers who choose their smartphone over the computer book through an OTA much more frequently (Citeo, 2017).
You might think that business trips only consist of long meetings, deliberations and events in grey, fluorescent halls – but then you would be wrong. More and more business travellers are starting to value a cultural experience and relaxation during their stay. It appears as though the fine line between business travel and holidays is steadily vanishing because of this. Business travellers no longer settle for boring, grey surroundings where functionality is more important than atmosphere. The popularity of relaxation, comfort and extra facilities in and around the accommodation is also increasing in this sector.
Source: Innofact AG, June 2018
The technological developments don’t stop with the booking alone. Business travellers are increasingly longing for hotels with sufficient technological developments. Think about mobile check-in possibilities or a luggage storage robot. Or like the CitizenM hotels in Amsterdam, New York and London offer: a tablet with which guests can control the drapes, lighting, alarm clock, television and temperature.
A development that is worth keeping an eye on is the increasing need of companies but also of individual travellers to travel in a sustainable way. Although personal meetings are gaining ground over staying at home to protect the environment, travellers are definitely sensitive to environmentally friendly options. And what’s more: one third of the companies only book hotels with sustainability certificates, of which the Netherlands have a couple of hundred.* It is therefore important to put the environmental impact under the microscope – and as it turns out, that’s a lot easier than expected.
At the moment, the environmental impact within hotels costs the Dutch society 1.78 euros per room per night. That comes down to 40 million euros a year, and can be halved with some simple measures according to the investigators of EcoChain:
Use green electricity. Environmental impact – 0.52 euros.
Vegetarian food in the restaurant: environmental impact: -0.05 euros (+ 7 million euros a year of purchase advantage for hotels)
Replace animal products with vegetables. Environmental impact: -0.10 euros (+ 20 million euros a year of purchase advantage for hotels)
Water-saving shower head. Environmental impact: -0.08 euros
From residual to cash flow. Environmental impact: -0.25 euros
“In addition to an environmental profit of 40 million euros a year, the Dutch hotel sector can also realise 37 million euros a year of purchase advantage: 20 million by offering vegetarian meals and 17 million by installing water-saving shower heads.”
ABN AMRO, 2017