What do mobile business travellers want?
The “always connected traveller” is probably one of the phrases of the year as it signifies how important the world of mobile and web access has become.
In a global survey conducted by Collinson Latitude of 2,400 business travellers (decent sample size), as well as focus groups of another 50 working in corporates, respondents have outlined some of the key areas that make up their connected (or not) experience when on-the-go.
Often central to the connected experience for business travellers is access to lounge services.
The study found, at a global level, access is either the most or second most highly valued travel loyalty product when offered by banks and credit cards.
But the need to have such services is so important to business travellers that many are willing to stump up their own money to pay for it.
Meanwhile, trips are now managed principally on a traveller’s smartphone or laptop, with paper-based itineraries serving only as a backup when access cannot be obtained.
This leads nicely into another finding in the survey – that of wifi access.
Being able to connect to the web at any time is now viewed “almost as a necessity”, Collinson Latitude found, with travellers expecting wifi to be available.
Such is this desire that many are becoming less tolerant of hotels and airports where access is either limited or incurs a charge to the user.
Authors of the report say:
“Our findings suggest hotels will need to adopt more innovative charging models (such as paid-for member benefit bundles) to continue deriving revenues from wifi without damaging overall customer relationships.”
So-called concierge services are also having a major influence on the lives of travellers, whether they are provided by travel managers or service holders such as credit card or insurance providers.
The Asian market has a better understanding (and history) of concierge services, Collinson Latutide says, with travellers put a higher value on providers being able to service them when on-the-road, either by phone or the web.
Perhaps the most interesting element of the study revolves around mobile applications.
Travellers, according to the survey, only appreciate apps that are “instantly engaging and useful”, with those failing the test “quickly being deleted to make way for better alternatives.
So what is the ideal business traveller app?
The study found that the “killer app” would be one that offered a combination of check-in support, lounge access and premium wifi, a trio which Collinson Latitude calls the “Holy Trinity of prized traveller benefits”.
“We believe such tailored apps offer huge potential as loyalty tools, both as delivery channels for digital loyalty inventory and brand-enhancing customer touchpoints in their own right.”
Kevin May is a senior editor and one of the co-founders at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and will be publishing his first book - a biography about electronic band, Depeche Mode - soon.