The business travel market will remain unaffected by the growth of travel review sites, according to business travel specialists meeting at a recent roundtable event organised at The Grange Hotel, St Paul’s in London.
The roundtable, the third in a series of four organised by The Travel Tech Show at WTM and travel portal Amadeus, gathered 12 bosses from companies in the business travel sector.
Holidays Please Board Member John McEwan said he did not view travellers that travel as a result of business as customers, but rather as “employees who have to go out there and do a job”. This meant they were far less interested in reviewing where they have stayed.
Advantage Travel Corporate Director Ken McLeod believed that even where business travellers do find a hotel that seriously impresses, they were unlikely to share the information with more than a few of their closest colleagues.
“If everyone goes to it, it pushes the price up. A leisure traveller doesn’t go back to a hotel they recommend, a business traveller goes back time and time again,” he said.
Amadeus Director of Marketing Rob Sinclair-Barnes agreed, adding: “The business travel market must do more to meet an increasing desire among business travellers to do more overseas than just work.
“I want to have an experience that isn’t just airport, taxi, hotel, meeting. I want something in the middle that gives me an experience.”
The group also queried Amadeus figures raised by Sinclair-Barnes that 66 per cent of business travellers had access to self-booking tools while 60 per cent use them.
McLeod argued the figure was more likely less than 25 per cent. “Corporations are unimpressed by open booking but they understand they need to give some leeway to travellers and tech companies are trying to find a way around that,” he said.
Expedia Managing Director UK and Ireland Andy Washington said up to 40 per cent of business travel trips could be unmanaged and booked by secretaries. “Having people manage business travel is more expensive than having people do it for themselves,” he added.
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