5 years ago

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.”

NB: Mobile woman travel bags image via Shutterstock.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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  1. Evan

    WiFi at hotels and airports will be a moot point in the next 12 to 24 months, as 4G/LTE becomes ubiquitous. All of these issues will just go away. At a panel at the ACTE conference in San Francisco last month, road warriors confessed that hotel wifi had become irrelevant to them because of 4G/LTE — they just didn’t care anymore.

    They are the fringe right now, but that’s will be mainstream very soon. Only on planes will we still rely on travelco’s for wifi.

    • Timothy O'Neil-Dunne

      Evan… i have to disagree with your assertions here.

      4G is nothing like wifi for performance.

      I dont disagree with you that there will be some form of convergence but your timeframe is WAY OFF.
      4G is a marketing name. It is really 3.5G. A small step upgrade in performance. We need a full upgrade and that is not coming for a long while. Part of the attraction of 4G is being able to use much of the same technology for Data traffic over existing telco infrastructure. (Don’t forget that many telcos got burned badly paying huge amounts for Data spectrums in the late 1990s and 2000s and then the 3G adoption didnt take off.

      However my biggest concern is with the business model. 4G is metered (largely) and will stay that way. Few Wifi connections are metered. This will have a big impact on how fast it is adopted as a ubiquitous form of untethered connection.

      The other problem that is emerging is the deployment of multiple devices by individuals. I carry 6 devices that are WIFI and wide area data enabled. I typically connect 2 (PC and Tablet) of them sometimes 3 based on performance issues.

      The models for many data scenarios did not assume the rapid evolution of multiple data devices with individual connections. This is going to get a LOT worse before it gets better.

      SO my time line is about 5 years not 12-24 months as you state. I REALLY hope that I am wrong but I dont think so.


  2. Ciaran - Meetingsbooker.com

    nothing new here, the 3 main points are very obvious ones. US airports are getting clever at delivering free wifi access which seems to be funded by advertising as you have to watch a short 2 min video ad first. Im still amazed that so many hotels charge for wifi and havent found some way of offering this free of charge to business travellers and from our selfish point of view meeting delegates as well.

    • Timothy O'Neil-Dunne

      There are two caveats I would add to this. No one has discussed the elephant in the room which is the explosion of connected devices. At a recent industry function – the number of accesses ran out because many were using multiple devices. Oh yes – GUILTY (I had 3). I carry on average 6 Wifi possible devices. OK so I am a little out of the ordinary. But I recall reading somewhere that inflight wifi access is being finally adopted by Tablet usage.

      Hotels are stuck with their outdated service contracts and their inability to figure this out. And the consumer is voting with his feet. If you dont give him decent wifi he will leave and never come back. He wont complain – (well not the boomers – Gen X and Ys are a different matter 😉

      The connected traveller is still suffering all forms of issues. High cost of Data Access AND/OR inconvenient ways to access. EG SIM Swapping. to boost things I am starting to leave an open port on my laptop and allow others to access my unlimited data if I have it.

      This is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.

      • Milind

        In my experience complaining about lack of free wi-fi at hotels is only of value if you know you are going back, as being stuck with those old contracts it takes a while for them to sort out. I have been travelling regularly to Zurich since 2010, at that time wifi was not free in a lot of places, since then new hotels have opened up and the competition now has forced the older hotels to review their services – to the traveller’s benefit 🙂

  3. Carlo

    Kevin – Enjoyed the article – Amadeus and Travel Tech consulting published an industry report last year titled “The Always Connected Traveler”

    Cjeck it out – http://www.amadeus.com/us/x204330.html

  4. Dick Jordan

    If the survey included leisure travelers, odds are quite good that they would want exactly what the business travelers polled are seeking.

    • Jackie Robson

      You are absolutely right Dick, leisure travellers do have very similar needs. However, we did find that because they do not travel as frequently as business travellers they are slightly less concerned about emergency assitance and lost luggage. Very often, its not until you’ve had a travel hiccup that you value these services!

  5. What Do Mobile Business Travelers Want? | Corporate Travel Forum

    […] Read the rest of the article on Tnooz. Forward to a friend! ← Travel Managers Out of Touch on Key Trends, Study Finds […]


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