Innovating for a New Breed of Business Travellers – Part 2

In our previous blog post, we looked at three ways companies are innovating to capture the hearts and budgets of a new generation of business travelers. This week, we’ll take a look at two more ways the industry is getting a refresh in the last part of our 2 part blog series.

Image Credit: Hotel Chatter

Are you traveling for business or pleasure?

Well, why not make the best of both?

A business trip to Europe you say? Fantastic, let’s book some personal days to enjoy a Paris detour on the backend of that corporate trip.

You aren’t alone in combining some personal vacation with your business travel. In fact, 83% of travellers use time on business trips to explore the city they’re visiting, with nearly half adding personal travel days to their business trips, according to a report from Bridgestreet Global Hospitality. Great news for the travel industry!

Built with ‘Bleisure’ in mind

“Bleisure” is the growing global trend in the travel industry as the worlds of business traveling and leisure traveling blur.

How is the hospitality industry leveraging this trend?

Hyatt Centric has done a great job serving as a basecamp to their guests’ city excursions. They have defined a clear target audience: Wish-Listers, who want to experience a destination’s iconic activities. In response, Hyatt Centric lobbies feature areas defined as “The Corner” with books and magazines that provide insight into the local destination.

virgin hotel petsImage Credit:

Many hotels are also recognizing that guests enjoy travelling with their pets, to bring a piece of comfort and home on their trips. Enter programs like Kimpton Hotel’s Very Important Pets and W Hotels’ Pets Are Welcome (P.A.W), offering plush pet-bed loaners in your guest room, food, water bowls and mats, and a concierge list of nearby pet-friendly restaurants, parks, groomers and pet boutiques. The recently opened Virgin Hotels also has pet-friendly rooms, complete with a dog statue outside the door to watch over you.

Common Clubs Innovation SpaceImage Credit:

The Bleisure movement is also reshaping how we design communal spaces. Hotels are providing a new type of multifunctional space for teams to work, socialize, or just people watch. Virgin Hotels’ Commons Club is a dynamic hybrid of bar/lounge, laid-back study and restaurant with a private members club vibe, featuring a 24-hour library, social hour, and restaurant all in one.

Breather Travel
Image Credit: Breather

If you’re looking for a new type of meeting space outside of a hotel, Breather is an Airbnb-like app that lets you book a non-typical, home-like space to work, meet or relax by the hour, or for the day. It is available in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Ottawa, and Montreal, with more markets to come.

Convenience maximus pre and post trip

Business travel is taxing, so services that reduce travel stress are more than welcomed. Although hotels have made a good start to up their game to match guests’ demanding expectations for convenience, offering services such as mobile check ins and keyless doors on their trip, other companies outside the hotel industry are providing truly breakthrough solutions to proactively reduce travel frustrations pre and post-trip.

00dufl-5Image Credit: Business Insider

DUFL Virtual closet is revolutionizing the way we prepare for travel by removing the pain of packing, checking in, and lugging around suitcases. For $9.99/month and $99 per round trip, you don’t have to pack anything at all. Your clothes will be shipped to your hotel, then cleaned and stored in DUFL’s virtual closet, ready to be used on your next trip.

The team at Antedote are also using apps to simplify our travel logistics. Egencia (the business arm of Expedia) is an online travel booking platform which can follow customized travel policies to manage travel costs, and has flexible options like day-of-arrival hotel cancellations. Expensify is an app for easy expenses, which lets you pull expense records directly from your credit card account, and photo log your receipts in real time, so you don’t end up with a huge stack of receipts in your wallet when you come back from your business trip.

The fact that a slew of new technology and service companies are popping up to cater to the needs of travelers that typical hospitality providers have not yet catered to before is a wake up call for the hospitality industry to take on a more future-focused and proactive approach to innovation. Rather than focusing on the typical touchpoints every hotel and travel brand is already thinking about, how can we leverage the larger cultural and macro trends at play, which are changing the role of travel in consumers’ lives, and identify new touchpoints to connect with consumers? Through pushing the boundaries of what the industry is ‘expected’ to provide, we can think of new ways to win consumers, fixing problems and creating delight where they didn’t realize they needed new solutions for.

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