Luxury Business/Leisure Travelers-Profiles

Part
01
of two
Part
01

Luxury Business Travelers: Profile

Quality is the most important factor to US business travelers (44%), in which 77% are men. Private villa rentals have become the ultimate in luxury travel lodging for business travelers due to its privacy, security, accommodation, and amenities. On the other hand, flight delays are the leading concern among US business travelers and the second concern is the dreaded middle seat.

Luxury Business Travelers: Profile

Findings

  • The United States has the highest number of business travelers exclusively choosing private condos (18%) and private houses (18%). The unique experience of private accommodation is the top driver of choosing to stay there for US travelers.
  • Fort Washington, Pennsylvania-based Gate 1 Travel, is capitalizing in providing business groups the convenience of an escorted tour.
  • Bluesmart Suitcase, which can be a business traveler’s best friend is billed as "the world’s first smart suitcase".
  • Hilton™ and Marriott™ are allowing guests to make various “on-demand” requests through their mobile apps.
  • Hotels are tapping into the “bleisure” trend by offering business travelers extra services, such as guided tours and additional support from the concierge.
  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts offers new Five Feet to Fitness room, which incorporates 11 pieces of equipment in the room, including a stationary bike and a Gym Rax™ training station.
  • Quality is most important to the US (44%) business travelers.
  • Americans make more than 405 million long-distance business trips per year, accounting for 16% of all long-distance travel.
  • Only 7% of business trips are accounted for over 100-mile trips and three-fourths or 77% of business travelers are men.
  • The most common mode of transportation for business travels is the use of a personal vehicle (81% of all trips), while air travel accounts for about 16% of all business trips.
  • Majority of long-distance business trips in the United States are taken to destinations within 250 miles from home and are by automobile.
  • Flight delays are the leading concern among US business travelers. The second concern is the dreaded middle seat.

Hotel selection criteria

  • Today’s breed of private villa rentals have become the ultimate in luxury travel lodging for business travelers. This is due to the vast array of benefits and comforts it proffers for VIPs and small groups.
  • According to luxury travel agent Sandy Webb who books elite vacations all over the world "private villa residences offering first-class, one-of-a-kind services are ushering in an entirely new era of bespoke business hospitality around the globe".
  • Privacy and security, 5-star accommodations, Uber-tailored guest service, and amenities are chief reasons the trend toward private villa lodging is exploding.
  • One glowing example of this is the Bluesmart Suitcase, which can be a business traveler’s best friend. Considered as “the world’s first smart suitcase,” it keeps bags secure, trips hassle-free, traveler’s belongings tracked, and their devices charged. This was done through its integrated technology which is a mobile app that is designed compatible with both Android and iPhone.
  • Despite the widespread geopolitical uncertainties, the future is bright for this crucial category of business-borne luxe hospitality.

Expectations for a travel experience

  • Business travelers want a place where they can relax and recharge their mind and body yet also need an environment that is conducive to work.
  • They want some interaction with the hotel staff to feel like they are special but also require fast and seamless service.
  • InterContinental Hotels Group™ (IHG), for example, has been working with design firm IDEO to develop innovative “Flex Meetings” spaces with different configurations throughout the public areas of their Crowne Plaza™ properties.

Travel preferences

  • US travelers rely most on having someone else books their travel or going offline to speak with a travel agent (27% and 22%, respectively) and 32% of US travelers are more likely to stay in upper-midscale properties.
  • The typical business traveler work in a professional, technical, or managerial position; is likely to be male; about 30 to 49 years old; and have an above-average income.
  • US travelers already took about 462 million domestic business trips. This figure was forecast to rise to 499.4 million by 2022.
  • In the US, 47% of business travelers are now women and personal cars are used for 81% of business trips.
  • Only two US cities made the world’s top 10 list of the most expensive cities for business travel in 2018, but in 2019, the list included four US cities. Los Angeles and San Francisco joined Washington DC and New York on 2019’s top 10 list. Nearly 59% of US business travelers always book their hotel themselves and 30% usually book their hotel themselves.
  • The proportion of business travel spend grows by about .05% each year. In 2017, the most recent available year, business travel accounted for 30% of all travel spend in the US.
  • Nineteen percent of US travelers will board a first-class flight for leisure travel in one year, while 20% of US travelers will fly first class for a business trip in the span of one year.
  • Based on a 2017 survey from Egencia, 20% of US business travelers said they have booked shared lodging; 47% haven’t, but said they would consider it.
  • Meals, as part of corporate expenses, are the most frequently used category. Employees are increasingly choosing to order those meals through online platforms like GrubHub and Uber Eats.

Research Strategy:

Our research team initially searched for data points about the US Luxury Business Travelers. In this research, many online travel magazines, US travel industry, travel industry insight news, trends, and other industrial sources were referenced.

For US luxury business travelers, our team started searching for the comprehensive detail through US travel industry, US business travel, and US travel associations. We found information and business travel statistics and business travelers' transportation statistics as a whole but not the US luxury business travelers specifically.

Secondly, the strategy was focused towards business travel agents like TravelPerk, USA Travel, FCM Travel, Egencia, Global Traveler USA, TravelPulse, Emerald, WorldHotels and their reports and news articles related to business travelers who engaged in the respective hotels booked through travel agents. But unfortunately, this research did not yield particular information regarding US luxury business travelers, instead, general preferences of business travelers were identified.

Thirdly, the team switched its focus towards leading luxury business travelers in the US through industrial insight sources like Deloitte, American Express Global Business Travel, and Vox. With the help of the above said identified sources, our team unearthed a lot of information regarding business traveler insights and luxury travelers insights respectively. Then with the references made from the above identified sources, our team formulated the US luxury business travelers' profile as a whole and narrated a brief overview regarding both business traveler insights and luxury travelers insights. Most of the sources refers business travelers as VIP or luxury business travelers. And hence our team compiled the above study by merging business travel and luxury travel together to resort this study.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

Luxury Leisure Travelers: Profile

Authentic experiences, like an exclusive selection of regional wines at a hotel, appeal to the US luxury travelers. US luxury travelers prefer shorter stays (e.g., weekend excursions) and beach trips.

LUXURY LEISURE TRAVELERS: PROFILE

GENERAL

  • The wealthiest 5% of affluent travelers in the US spend a total of $390 billion on leisure travel annually. Though luxury travelers formerly sought opulence in their destinations, lately they are more interested in experiences (e.g., new and diverse cultures). Additionally, the luxury traveler demographic is shifting away from older, wealthier individuals to experience-seeking millennials willing to "trade up on exclusive activities." [4]
  • According to survey data from Skift, 73% of affluent travelers indicated enjoyment of the trip planning process (i.e., researching and booking flights, hotels, and local activities). And only 10% of respondents viewed travel agents as an important source of information for trip planning. However, those respondents with children were almost twice as likely to have a travel agent handle trip planning duties.
  • In contrast to those findings, a survey from Expedia found that 72% of affluent travelers were open to help and ideas on destinations.

HOTEL SELECTION CRITERIA

  • Luxury brands that have made offering experiences a part of their image are already reaping the rewards. For example, the Four Seasons has made unique experiences part of its brand narrative and is now one of the top five brands most familiar to the wealthiest 5% of travelers. Furthermore, the Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, and Hilton are the to preferred hotel brands for the wealthiest 1% of travelers.
  • Skift’s data indicate that 82% of affluent travelers usually spend only $101 to $300 per night on a hotel room. Skift reported that although fancy hotels may no longer be a priority of affluent travelers, the latter still seek out top-notch service and on-property amenities. Another firm, Resonance Consultancy, echoed these findings (i.e., affluent travelers' preference for luxury hotels) in their research that examined the travel and leisure habits of the wealthiest 1% and 5% in the US.
  • But affluent travelers are increasingly embracing alternative accommodation options such as Airbnb and HomeAway (in particular families traveling with children). Skift reported that 50% of respondents stayed at a short-term vacation rental at least once, compared to 36% the previous year.

EXPECTATIONS FOR A TRAVEL EXPERIENCE

  • Luxury travelers seek unique, memorable experiences; authentic experiences (e.g., an exclusive selection of regional wines at a hotel or visiting a winery for dinner with the family-operators in Italy) and companies with reputations for sustainability are highly appealing to luxury travelers. Among the most affluent 1% of US travelers, over two-thirds (69%) indicate they regularly take part in “once-in-a-lifetime” activities while on holiday.
  •  Luxury travelers enjoy lots of personal touches, hands-on staff connections, and high-tech options that provide a more seamless experience (e.g., mobile check-ins, kiosks, apps, smart rooms, and "AI-powered butlers").
  • Nevertheless, luxury leisure travelers seek authentic, healthy, and socially-responsible adventure travel opportunities. Consequently, luxury travelers are more willing to spend the money needed to enjoy these unique experiences.Skift found that 67% of affluent travel respondents spend more on experiences and activities like attractions, tours, and dining.

TRAVEL PREFERENCES

  • Affluent individuals in the US travel more than the average US traveler. The former take approximately 14.3 trips per year compared to the latter's roughly 4.8. Similarly, the former spend an estimated $3,115 per person per vacation, which is much more thank the latter.
  • First-class domestic flights in the US continue to account for a significant proportion of all global air travel.
  •  Luxury travelers are increasingly looking for shorter stays like weekend excursions (i.e., micro-travel).
  • According to Skift's survey, 77% of respondents wanted to go to a new destination for their next vacation. While almost half of the respondents indicated a desire for a beach trip for their next vacation, only 23% indicated a preference for adventure travel. And 48% of affluent family travelers indicated their intention to take a cruise within the next 12 months.
  • In terms of destinations, some preferred domestic destinations of luxury travelers include Montana, New York, Washington DC, and Alaska. Luxury travelers' preferred international destinations include Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Europe.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

We began our investigation into the affluent travel market (both regional and global) to collate relevant data. We located pertinent information after a thorough examination of data collected from multiple industry reports, travel articles, and surveys. However, we were able to find some requested information, but not all of it. Specifically, we were unable to locate information on leisure travel. The only publicly available data are on luxury and affluent travel. We inquired into various travel surveys and reports (e.g., Skift, NTA Online, Hubspot, Delloite, TravelMarketReport, and others) specifically for leisure as part of the US luxury travel industry. However, the data we acquired through this method focused on US affluent travel trends, general luxury travel trends, and the like. There were no data or reports citing luxury leisure travel.

Our next step was an inquiry into any travel industry publications (e.g., Imminternational, Luxedigital, Hospitality Net, and MDJOnlin) that might include luxury leisure travel data points. But the only data available concerned the luxury travel of 1%-5% of affluent individuals in the US. There were no indications that affluents who engaged in luxury travel did so for leisure. Due to lack of this proof, we could not proceed further. Though one report indicated that just 6% of respondents described their travel style as “luxury,” which led us to speculate that the low percentage could be the result of a common misconception of the definition of "luxury travel."

Our last step was to check for case studies published by the hotels in this report and other, general case studies that could provide data on US travelers and their preferences. Additionally, we expanded our search criteria to a five to ten-year period. However, this avenue did not yield any relevant data.

We speculate that the category of luxury travel may or may not include leisure travel as a sub-category, hence the latter is not captured in surveys on the former. But we assume that affluent individuals would potentially be considered a part of the luxury leisure travel demographic. And we found reports that suggest a link between affluence and indulgence in luxury leisure travel.
Sources
Sources

From Part 01
Quotes
  • "We asked 2,500 TRAVELERS IN FIVE COUNTRIES about their lodging preferences. Both BUSINESS TRAVELERS (74%) AND LEISURE TRAVELERS (84%) prefer hotels over all other options. But private accommodations are gaining traction."
  • "Message to hotel companies:START PROTECTING YOUR KINGDOM—NOW. Where I would consider staying- TRADITIONAL HOTEL - BUSINESS TRAVELER - 74%. BED AND BREAKFAST 54%. PRIVATE CONDO - 34%. PRIVATE HOUSE 32%. "
  • "The United States has the highest number of business travelers exclusively choosing private condos (18%) and private houses (18%.). The unique experience of a private accommodation is the top driver of choosing to stay there for US travelers."
Quotes
  • "Luxury business travelers are looking for more than just the standard business travel arrangements. They seek to experience exclusive, authentic itineraries and cultural immersion."
  • "The world economy is poised to regain momentum and business travelers are increasingly seeking luxury-level travel experiences for employee group getaways, company-sanctioned prospecting and entertaining activities, and individual free time itineraries, alike."
  • "One notable development is that high-end business travelers want ever more unique and personal experiences proffered with an extraordinarily high quality of service."
  • "Tour companies like Fort Washington, Pennsylvania-based Gate 1 Travel are capitalizing on this trend with offerings that can provide business groups the convenience of an escorted tour with the intimate view of local cultures that large groups just can’t provide. "
  • "Our small group tours option has seen, by far, the most significant increase in booking volume–up 50% in 2016,” the company reports."
  • "Those on business trips are becoming more interested in indigenous experiences, for themselves or while entertaining others. A City Lodge Hotel Group report concurs that the trend of being “connoisseurs of local culture” will boom this year."
Quotes
  • "The amenities business travelers are seeking from their hotel experience can seem like a contradiction at times. Business travelers want a place where they can relax and recharge their batteries yet also need an environment that is conducive to work."
  • "They want some interaction with the hotel staff to feel like they’re special but also require fast and seamless service that quickly can get them checked into their rooms and on their way to wherever they need to go."
  • "So while being able to check in with a smartphone is a nice touch for business travelers arriving late after a night flight or a long day of business meetings, she says hotels also have to figure out how to make these guests feel like VIPs."
  • "Some hotels are providing these personal touches through the very same technology. For instance, both Hilton™ and Marriott™ are allowing guests to make various “on demand” requests through their mobile apps."
  • "Other hotels are tapping into the “bleisure” trend by offering business travelers extra services, such as guided tours and additional support from the concierge, to make the most of their limited time in the destination. Hilton Hotels & Resorts is the latest to do so with its new Five Feet to Fitness room, which incorporates 11 pieces of equipment in the room, including a stationary bike and a Gym Rax™ training station."
  • "InterContinental Hotels Group™ (IHG), for example, has been working with design firm IDEO to develop innovative “Flex Meetings” spaces with different configurations throughout the public areas of their Crowne Plaza™ properties."
Quotes
  • " U.S. travelers rely most on having someone else book their travel or going offline to speak with a travel agent (27% and 22%, respectively)."
  • "32% of US travelers are more likely to stay in upper-midscale properties. Quality is most important to U.S. (44%) business travelers."
Quotes
  • "Americans make more than 405 million long-distance business trips per year, accounting for 16% of all long-distance travel, according to a preliminary analysis of the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS)."
  • "Contrary to the stereotypical image of the business traveler heading off to catch a cross-country flight, the majority of long-distance business trips in the United States are taken to destinations within 250 miles of home and are by automobile."
  • "Nearly three-fourths (74%) are less than 250 miles from the point of departure and most of those are within 100 miles. Trips of over 1,000 miles account for only about 7% of all business trips. Men account for more than three-fourths (77%) of business trips."
  • "The personal vehicle is the dominant travel mode for business travel, comprising 81% of all trips. Air travel accounts for about 16% of all business trips. The typical business traveler is likely to be male; work in a professional, managerial, or technical position; be 30 to 49 years old; and have an income well above the population average."
Quotes
  • "U.S. travelers took 462 million domestic business trips. This figure was forecasted to rise to 499.4 million by 2022. In the US, 47% of business travelers are now women. In the US, personal cars are used for 81% of business trips "
  • "In 2018, only two US cities made the world’s top 10 list of the most expensive cities for business travel, but in 2019, the list included four US cities. Los Angeles and San Francisco joined Washington DC and New York on 2019’s top 10 list. "
  • "59% of US business travelers always book their hotel themselves and 30% usually book their hotel themselves. Flight delays are the leading concern among US business travelers. The second concern is the dreaded middle seat."
  • "Each year, the proportion of business travel spend grows by about .05%. In 2017, the most recent available year, business travel accounted for 30% of all travel spend in the US."
  • "19% of US travelers will board a first class flight for leisure travel in one year, while 20% of US travelers will fly first class for a business trip in the span of one year"
Quotes
  • "A 2017 Egencia survey found that 20 percent of U.S. business travelers said they have booked shared lodging; 47 percent haven’t, but said they would consider it."
  • "Perhaps most interesting, the majority — 60 percent — of stays on Airbnb for Work, the company’s corporate travel vertical, are for two or more guests."
  • "Meals are the most frequently used category of corporate expenses. Employees are increasingly choosing to order those meals through online platforms like GrubHub and Uber Eats."