By: Dave Fish
I travel a fair amount. Being a Platinum member with two airlines, I am painfully aware of what irks me about the airlines and hotels where I stay. One of my biggest desires is just for service providers to be consistent. Board the plane the same way, keep the rental car experience pickup the same, etc. I don’t care how, just keep it consistent. Same thing with hotels; just don’t give me any surprises – unless they are good ones – and lodging surprises with business travelers are not usually good ones.
Turning to CEBenchmarks, I wondered, how often do business travelers experience problems? What about those hard core “Road Warriors” – people, like myself, who take more than 24 business trips a year or more away from home. Well, the first depressing fact I found out is that my cohorts turn out to be about 4% of the business traveler universe (n=1,702 in our sample). I am part of a rare and pathetic group.
On the brighter side, it turns out that the propensity for the seasoned traveled to experience hotel problems are slightly less than for the occasional business traveler. About 9% of Road Warriors reported that on their last trip they had some kind of problem at the hotel where they stayed. This compares to about 12% for the less itinerant businessperson.
Ok, so that’s good. Road Warriors through luck, skill, good service, or good spirit are not having as many problems. What’s not so good is that when hotels do make a mistake they are less likely to make it right for their hard-core business traveler. Approximately half of the Road Warriors stated that the hotel either completely or somewhat fell short of expectations on resolving the problem on their last stay. This compares with 40% for non-Road Warriors. Less than a quarter of Road Warriors said they met expectations with the remaining 11% saying they exceeded expectations in rectifying the problem. This compares to 30% and 17% for meeting or exceeding expectations for those less traveled.
Another concern is that 16% of Road Warriors are silent sufferers. That is, they experience a problem, but did not report it. They walked away angry, perhaps never to come back again. Is this really the group you want to have walk away disappointed or angry? The need to reach out to these folks and get things resolved while staying at the property or shortly thereafter is pretty self-evident. Are you a road warrior who is a silent sufferer? Are you a property owner and if so, do you know who your silent sufferers are? Are you tracking your Road Warriors and ensuring things are especially good for them?