OAKVILLE, Ont. — The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) recently conducted a study on business travellers’ most commonly used technologies in hotels across North America. Findings show internet-based technologies, such as smartphone apps, to be the most desired hotel amenity — 61 per cent of business travellers have downloaded at least one of seven major hotel chains’ apps on their smartphones in the past year.
GBTA’s study, Hotel Technology Study: How Do North America-based Business Travellers Use and Feel about Hotel Technology?, was based on an online survey of 831 U.S. and Canadian business travellers, between April 18 and 26, 2016, who were either employed or self-employed, had travelled for business at least once in the past year, had stayed at a hotel on business travel at least once in the past year and had not exclusively stayed at economy hotels during business stays in the past year.
Of those who use hotel smartphone apps, 39 per cent used them to check the status of a reservation; 43 per cent managed rewards points or account; and 39 per cent booked hotel stays. Baby boomers were more likely to check the status of a reservation while millennials typically used apps to seek additional information about available amenities, order room service and contact hotel employees.
“Hotels have room to expand the capabilities of their mobile app as well as promote increased awareness of those capabilities as the interest is there,” says Monica Sanchez, director of Research at GBTA Foundation. “In the future, hotels could invest in innovative new technologies, but should also continue to focus on improving existing amenities — especially Wi-Fi, as that remains most important for business travellers.”
GBTA also found that business travellers are interested in technologies not yet offered by most hotels, such as USB outlets (34 per cent), streaming services (34 per cent) and in-room chargers for laptops and phones (32 per cent). Millennials showed the greatest interest in streaming services. Medium- and high-frequency business travellers most often asked for “guest profiles” — a system that delivers a personalized stay based on collected information on individual guests.
In general, internet access is of the highest importance to business travellers — more than half of the subjects spent at least one hour each day on in-room internet for business purposes and 48 per cent spent an average of one hour for leisure. General in-room internet access satisfaction was high, with 75 per cent satisfaction rates with connectivity and speed and 62 per cent satisfaction with level of security. Finally, GBTA reports that 73 per cent of business travellers used Wi-Fi in a hotel common area in the past year.