Leisure scores big with business travellers, finds survey

Mixing leisure with business is making business trips more enjoyable

Business travellers are enjoying their trips away from the office, according to a survey polling 1,500 corporate travellers around the world.

The annual TripAdvisor survey found that 62 per cent of respondents said they “often” enjoy business travel and 18 per cent “always” enjoy it. The best part about travelling for work is “seeing new places,” according to 34 per cent. Business travellers’ favourite luxuries are deluxe bedding and high-end bath products.
Almost half the respondents (49 per cent) said they often tie leisure time to business trips to take advantage of the company-expensed travel. This is particularly popular among Americans, as 53 per cent often tie leisure time into business travel, compared to 28 per cent from the UK.
Twenty-two percent of business travellers plan to take fewer business trips this year than last year, while 18 per cent intend to take more.
With 88 per cent flying for business, flight delays and cancellations are, for the second year in a row, the biggest irritant, according to 53 per cent, up from 48 per cent last year. Thirty-one percent said the recent airline delays and cancellations will affect their business travel plans. Of those, 15 per cent will consider driving more for business travel this year, nine per cent will consider taking a train, and seven per cent will consider more video conferencing. Thirty-nine per cent said they have no option but to fly and 30 per cent said they choose to fly regardless of the delays and cancellations.
Marriott emerged the top choice for business for the second consecutive year. Hilton was the second favourite, also for the second year in a row, followed by Sheraton and the Holiday Inn, which tied for third. The most important hotel features according to 30 per cent of respondents are location/ proximity to meetings, high-speed internet access (26 per cent) and onsite dining and room service (19 per cent).
Fifty-nine percent of business travellers “often” stay at the same hotel chain, while seven percent “always” do. Americans are particularly brand loyal, with 66 per cent often staying at the same hotel chain, compared to 61 per cent of Europeans. The greatest motivation to stay at the same hotel chain is the hotel rewards programme, according to 27 per cent of respondents. Location was the next most popular factor (18 per cent) followed by comfort of rooms (16 per cent), rates (13 per cent) and familiarity with the brand (13 per cent).
Seventy-eight per cent of business travellers surveyed are members of a hotel points programme. Americans are more interested in points, with 85 per cent taking part in such a programme, compared to 58 per cent of Europeans. Fifty-three per cent of all respondents said they are “often” loyal to the hotels with which they have points, 10 per cent said they are “always” loyal.
Thirty-four per cent of business travellers surveyed spend more on food and drink when it's on the company dime. An additional 36 per cent tip more generously than they ordinarily would when it is a business expense.
New York City was chosen as the top city for business travellers for the second year in a row, followed by Chicago, London, San Francisco and Washington, DC.
Some other business travel tidbits:
• Sixteen percent of business travellers fly into less convenient “secondary” airports to save money
• Twenty-five percent of travellers would pay a five to 20 per cent premium for a “business traveller-only” flight
• Twenty-four per cent said their business travel is always based on lowest fare
• Six per cent of travellers occasionally take longer routes to build up their frequent flyer miles
• Twelve percent admit to having visited a strip club while travelling on business
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