Business travelers aren’t a market segment that a travel brand should ignore or take for granted. These consumers have the potential to be extremely loyal customers, arguably more so than leisure guests. But earning the loyalty of corporate travelers means you first need to know who they are. You have to identify their buyer personas: their backgrounds and their needs. Only when you’ve gained greater understanding of the business travelers’ needs can you effectively reach them and earn their business.
Know the Consumer. Meet the Need. Gain a Customer.
Travel brands are realizing they can learn more about business travelers, meet their needs and gain them as loyal customers by placing marketing focus on a few key components. Business travelers are digitally aligned. They use apps frequently and expect a seamless booking experience. Loyalty programs and room design are extremely important to business travelers.
While leisure travelers’ customer journeys are somewhat meandering and their search habits change frequently, business travelers means business. When reaching out to this demographic, it’s critical to be on point with your message and error-free in your delivery.
With a little research, you can determine the travel patterns of the business traveler quite easily. It’s somewhat simple to pinpoint the path from Point A (initial thought about a trip) to Point B (booking) with a business traveler. Executing your marketing strategy so that your brand stands out on this path takes work.
Why Focus on Business Class Travel?
Business travelers, including potential customers and the corporate guests who already book with you, are a source of reliable business year round. Their trips aren’t dependant on great weather or seasonal events showcased through inspiring pictures on Instagram. These travelers are typically revenue-driving consumers throughout the week, when leisure travelers are at home working.
Your business customer is probably going to be loyal. When corporate travelers find accommodations or travel service providers they like, they tend to stick with them. They feel comfortable and at ease doing repeat business with a hotel or inn (or chain) – or car rental company or the like – but sometimes for reasons that have nothing to do with loyalty for loyalty’s sake.
So, keep in mind there are many reasons why a corporate traveler may prefer your brand’s offerings. Wise marketers stay in constant tune with their guests’ needs and preferences, and then offer products and services accordingly.
You’ll likely find the business travelers’ needs easy to meet, and not excessively demanding on your establishment or with your facilities. Many corporate hotel guests are out early and back late. They don’t spend a lot of time in their room, which means less wear and tear and a reduced need for certain extras.
While business travelers do appreciate a good deal and often stick with providers offering discounts, they’re not overly price sensitive. Many times, a corporate traveler’s manager or HR department is the one footing the travel bill and if needs are adequately met, price will not be a concern.
Business Travel Continues to Grow
The Global Business Travel Association stated that in 2015, business travel accounted for $1.25 trillion globally. This was an increase of 6.5% over the previous year. Growth by the end of 2018 is projected to exceed 6%.
Travel brands that focus on business class travel have many opportunities to reach a growing customer base. Along with these opportunities come challenges. Today’s business travelers’ needs include technology and a travel experience that isn’t the same old boring corporate travel trip of the past.
Next week, we’ll talk more about specific marketing strategies for travel companies that you can implement to attract and secure the business of the corporate guest. Focus on “bleisure” travel – – combining traditional business offerings with leisure products – is just one of those strategies.
Contact Galileo Tech Media to learn more about marketing for business class travel.