Recent research conducted by InterContinental Hotels Group on behalf of Crowne Plaza Hotels, reveals just how much the profile of the typical corporate traveller is changing.
No longer is your typical business traveller a middle-aged male who has climbed the corporate ladder and now has a million air miles and not much else to show for his trouble.
As times change, a new breed has become apparent: they are now younger (40 per cent fall in the 25-40 age bracket) with high standards and more discerning tastes which they expect to be met by the business-focused hotels they choose, no matter how many times they’ve travelled before.
And choice is key. These individuals do not want a generic, ‘grey’ business hotel, booked at random by an assistant. They want to evaluate and select their own hotel, because it reflects them, their company, the way they do business. As does their choice of car, clothes and mobile phone. This group enjoy life’s pleasures and see no reason why pleasure has to stop just because they’re away on business. Ambitious, yet unpretentious, they are still conscious of what they’re spending and appreciate good value for money.
So why is the Middle East, in particular, seeing such an influx of these young, dynamic business executives? The region’s burgeoning reputation as a thriving business hub is one reason. It attracts business people with a sense of adventure, keen to make something from a hitherto untapped market. But much of it is home-grown. Statistics suggest that in most Middle Eastern countries, more than half the population is under 20, demographics which are producing a very young labour force. In addition, particularly from the oil-rich countries of the Gulf, a set of young, skilled people with high levels of personal wealth is emerging. The entrepreneurial spirit which they embody seems to encapsulate this new type of business traveller: whether or not they work for themselves, each guest wants to work and play on their own terms with facilities and service which recognise and fulfil their individual needs.
These guests are putting out a challenge to the Middle East’s hotel industry: meet our needs or lose our business. The research showed that for the majority of its business guests, the hotel was not, in fact, the business venue, but was instead chosen as the location from which they could ‘get it done’ outside the office, entertain their clients and enjoy their leisure time.
Vital for this type of executive is the need to be close to the action, whether it’s for business or pleasure, or both.
The fast pace of these high-fliers’ business lifestyle demands the best in technology to ensure that they’re never out of touch. They work hard at staying fit and expect the highest quality leisure amenities.
For these individuals, their room is their sanctuary, so rooms must consciously work to bring the guest back.
Finally, these travellers require outstanding facilities and service at competitive rates.