With an increasing focus on economic globalization, the stage is set for an increase in business travel. In today’s digital world, searching and booking travel from a desktop, laptop, or even your phone is becoming commonplace. The ability for a customer to search and book their own travel also presents unique opportunities to gather customer data at almost every stage of the booking process. The collection and use of data like location, demographics, and purchase history can provide a travel brand with the opportunity to stand out from their competitors by giving them the opportunity to offer their customers a personalized travel experience. How important is offering a personalized experience? Studies have shown that being able to offer customers a personalized experience generally increases sales by 20%. In the growing segment of business travel, that represents a very significant opportunity.
Business vs. Leisure Travelers
Business travelers are different from leisure and vacation travelers. Where a leisure traveler is looking for unique experiences and value, the business traveler is more concerned with travel loyalty programs, reliability, convenience, and comfort. The business traveler seeks a straightforward and trouble-free experience. Even a small issue for a business traveler can have drastic results. A missed connecting flight means missing that critical career making meeting, or job interview. Dealing with lost luggage means that the business traveler has less time to perfect their sales pitch. Even a minor problem can seem overwhelming when you are away from home.
On the other end of the spectrum, offering a smooth and memorable trip can gain a lifelong customer. Tailoring the travel process from searching for travel arrangements to collecting after trip feedback and offering personalized promotional materials is critical to making the customer feel appreciated and valued.
What exactly are business travelers looking for? Some travelers may prefer longer layovers on their flights, while others wish to get to their locations and conclude their business as quickly as possible. Convenience plays a critical role in how business travelers select and make their travel arrangements. This can include easy check in and check out, availability of airport shuttles, dry cleaning services, and even location (being close to the working or meeting space). Business travelers often expect perks like free high-speed wireless internet, loyalty program rewards, hotels that offer a complimentary breakfast, and access to business services or a business center where the business traveler has access to printers and copiers.
The Benefits of Personalization
By offering personalized travel arrangements, travel companies can offer a better travel experience that meets the traveler’s needs. Some travelers may prefer longer layovers on their flights, while others wish to get to their locations, conclude their business, and return home as quickly as possible. Some travelers prefer kosher, vegetarian, or gluten free meals. Personalization of the traveler’s services can create a memorable and satisfying travel experience that will most likely generate repeat business and positive reviews. By treating the traveler like an individual and meeting their individual needs you can build loyalty, which is important in the market of business travel.