Posted: October 5, 2015

New GBTA study analyzes booking trends of business travelers
Business travelers are slowly starting to use their smartphones for booking hotel rooms.

The approach that many business travelers take when it comes to booking their accommodations for work-related trips has significantly changed over the past decade. With so many options to choose from today, the abundance of travel resources can seem overwhelming to some, while others may not be getting the best deal possible. A new study conducted by the Global Business Travel Association has analyzed the different types of methods of booking trips employees take when traveling on business. Take a look at the most preferred ways by employees to make their travel accommodations:

Key findings in booking strategies

The GBTA surveyed more than 500 business travelers located throughout the U.S., asking them particular questions regarding how they or their company go about booking hotel rooms. Participants ranged in age as well as the size of the business they worked for to get a better perspective of how employees for bigger or smaller companies approach business travel booking. Undoubtedly, one of the major concerns regarding hotel reservations was affordability, with 56 percent of those surveyed replying that "finding the right price" was one of their top three booking priorities for business travel.

"Fifty-four percent of business travelers book hotel rooms directly."

An interesting conclusion of the survey noted which type of channels employees used for making the hotel reservations. Out of all who responded, 54 percent stated they used a direct channel, 41 percent booked rooms through a third-party website and 5 percent made plans with an event registration site. This shows that more business travelers are eager to look to a variety of Internet resources to book hotels rather than going through the resorts themselves.

Joseph Bates, vice president of research at the GBTA, described the significance of these findings as a way for business travelers and hotels alike to understand the latest trends that are involved in utilizing hospitality services. 

"In identifying the booking habits of business travelers, the study revealed several ways companies can improve their travel policies," Bates said in a statement. "By meeting traveler expectations with corporate booking tools, travel buyers can encourage travelers to stay within the system and not seek out alternative methods. Travel buyers also have an opportunity to influence what travel apps are downloaded and used bringing consistency to the use of travel apps within their travel programs."

Utilizing technology

It's becoming more apparent that technology is evolving into the norm when it comes to making travel plans for work, especially with younger employees. One of the other ways the survey shines a light upon the recent changes in making business travel accommodations is what types of technology employees are utilizing. Survey results highlighted that 39 percent of business travelers have used a smartphone to make hotel reservations for a business trip in the past six months, whereas 58 percent of employees used laptops and 43 percent reserved through desktop computers.

While smartphone use is on the rise, it's surprisingly not being fully utilized amongst business travelers. Fewer than 50 percent of the survey respondents stated that they have downloaded a travel app for a hotel, an airline or another resource. It should come as no surprise that millennials are more commonly using travel-based smartphone apps, especially when it comes to reviewing their experiences at a hotel, in which 30 percent of business travelers aged 18-34 use review apps compared to 27 percent of employees ages 35-55.

Looking toward the future, what remains to be seen is how companies will begin to start embracing new travel resources. As U.S. companies are spending more on business travel than ever before, finding the most efficient ways to save money while ensuring a quality experience should be considered a top priority for these organizations.

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