Monday, June 28

Targeting Business Travelers: How Social Is Mobile?

A new survey from Omni Hotels & Resorts found that business travelers ranked adjusting travel plans, making dinner reservations, and hotel check-ins among the applications they use most often during trips. Other activities, such as checking the latest sports scores and looking for the nearest coffee spot, also rated very high.

But what about social? While younger business travelers, ages 25 to 34, update Facebook to keep up with and connect with friends and family (65 percent), the greater demographic tends to be more private, tapping mobile applications for conveniences rather than connections while traveling.

Traveling With Conveniences

• 61 percent say that they surf the Web during travel.
• 49 percent of business travelers would like to pay hotel bills online.
• 48 percent said they they would like to order hotel and outside services.
• 34 percent said they use Skype or other chat services to connect with family.

Traveling With Connections

• 40 percent of business travelers check social networks using hotel WiFi.
• 45 percent of business travelers said they use Twitter during business trips.
• 34 percent of business travelers said they "boast" about trips on Facebook.
• Only 11 percent update frequently during their the entire trip.

Interestingly enough, 70 percent of those who do connect via Twitter and Facebook said that they share positive hotel experiences and incentives such as room upgrades. Sixty-two percent said they are more likely share positive experiences over negative ones.

One specific service mobile users are hoping hotels add is the ability to request hotel car service from the airport. But business travelers are trending toward wanting to make travel easier by accessing every service — ranging from room service to booking lunch — via their mobile phones. In general, mobile tends to be used more for such personal conveniences than personal connections. The survey skewed toward business travelers who stayed in hotels with rates at least $150 per night.

Omni Hotels & Resorts does employ social media incentives designed to encourage consumer promotions. Currently, the hotel chain is offering a 30 percent discount on cocktails to those who tweet about their stay at the hotel. Other incentives include a variety of early adoptive ideas, including 25 percent off a Snapfish photobook.

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