Thursday 23 January 2020

What corporate travellers want in their bedrooms

BUSINESS TRAVEL

Hotel rooms are a hub for productivity as well as downtime for travellers
Hotel rooms are a hub for productivity as well as downtime for travellers

Mark Evans

Hotels focusing on the corporate client could be missing a trick - with road warriors clear what they want to see in their bedrooms.

Unlike the leisure sector, business people use bedrooms for productivity as well as sleeping, with 80pc reporting that this year they spent an average of at least one hour per day using in-room internet to do work. And a minority - 27pc - worked for more than three hours each day while in their room, which all sounds gruelling.

Not surprisingly, they're quite demanding about what they want from the hotel chains to make their chores that bit easier. The biggest thing travellers (39pc of those surveyed) are crying out for is something as simple as more power outlets to charge their array of equipment, such as laptops, tablets and the humble smartphone.

The ability to check in or out via an app (37pc of respondents) and online or mobile room service requests (32pc) also scored highly.

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But the second and third most wanted services are intriguing - in-room streaming and smart TVs, which both polled almost equally.

Almost four out of 10 respondents to the traveller sentiment survey, by the Global Business Travel Association and RoomIt, want in-room streaming.

First up, it's about productivity. Other surveys have shown that the majority of millennial travellers, for instance, say they want to stream their smartphones (58pc) or laptops (59pc) over their hotel room's screen, far ahead of boomers, on 14.8pc and 23.2pc respectively.

And along with the growth of streaming, guests are demanding TV services at least on a par - or preferably better - than what they enjoy at home for their downtime.

Some hotel chains have taken notice.

Following a partnership with Netflix earlier this year, Hilton's guests who download its reward programme's Hilton Honors app can add Netflix along with other streaming services and TV channels to their favourites list, then tap on Netflix to log into their own account and choose what to stream in their room.

The only catch is that - for now - it's only available in Hilton's 'Connected Rooms'. Introduced in 2017, these high-tech rooms allow guests to control the lighting and temperature via the Hilton app.

Only 3,500 across 15 hotels are 'connected' so far, but there are plans to roll out the technology to the majority of its nearly 5,900 hotels over the coming years.

Other chains, including Accor, are looking at connected rooms, while in-room entertainment technology company Enseo has signed up the global Millennium Hotels chain to its offering. Since a deal with the streaming giant in 2017, Enseo has been integrating Netflix's app into the TVs of hotel rooms worldwide.

But, for now, the vast majority of hotels using the Enseo platform are in the United States or Caribbean.

All of this costs money, and time, for the hospitality chains. But the days of hotels making money (90pc of the revenue came from content of an 'adult' nature) are fading, with estimates that less than 1pc of guests actually access paid content any more.

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