Business travelers rank adjusting travel plans, making dinner reservations and checking into hotels as three of the top four mobile applications, according to a late-March 2010 survey from Omni Hotels & Resorts.
The survey, which asked road warriors about mobile and social application preferences and usage, found that access to these tools were an integral part of time management on the road for business travelers.
Beyond taking care of travel matters, the survey also revealed that business travelers used mobile and social applications to take care of personal items, explore the local area and connect virtually with friends and family – making these tools invaluable.
Checking the latest sports scores, updating Facebook, looking for the nearest coffee spot and tweeting were also highly rated in the recent survey. In addition, 61 per cent of all business travelers were burning the midnight oil online – not on business from the day – but rather managing their personal lives remotely.
The younger business traveler was even more focused on finding personal balance. Nearly one third of younger business travelers, ages 25 to 34, were more likely to order perks that make their hotel stay more comfortable; over 40 per cent tweet about their travels and 65 per cent enjoy updating Facebook to let everyone know where they are.
The survey showed clearly that, for business travelers, mobile applications are all about efficiency. Business travelers, who are inclined to order services from a hotel on a mobile device or computer, prefer things which will help travel go more smoothly. When asked which types of services they would order using their mobile device or computer, almost six in 10 business travelers said they would request a car service to the airport, while 48 per cent said they would order anything that would allow them to multi-task while on a business trip.
Omni Hotels & Resorts now uses the ORION online ordering system from GBCblue at some of its hotels to help business travelers fulfill many of their needs using their smart phones or laptops. Beginning in 2007, multi-tasking business travelers at the Omni Chicago Hotel, the Omni Mandalay in Dallas and the Omni Fort Worth Hotel have been able to log on to the system online to take care of a variety of needs, including room service, housekeeping or to arrange for transportation.
The offering has been so successful that Omni says it is expanding it into six more hotels and resorts this spring.
“Omni has always been an excellent partner willing to embrace new technologies that enhance the guest experience,” saidys Joe Adkisson, executive vice presient of hospitality for GBCblue. “First adopters are rare in the industry, and working closely with Omni employees while observing their commitment to their guests has allowed us to better understand how to streamline the ORION system and make it fun for both for the guest and the hotel associate.”
Omni Hotels & Resorts says that in 2007, also, it was among the first hotel brands to launch online check-in, which is available on the company’s mobile website and in mobile applications available for Apple and Blackberry phones.
The company says that in 2003 it became the first hotel brand in the US to offer complimentary Wi-Fi access in guest rooms and public spaces to loyalty program members, and survey results indicated that free hotel Wi-Fi helps business travelers keep up with life and work.
When asked what hotel Wi-Fi is used for at night other than work, 61 per cent of business travelers said they randomly surf the web, while others use the time to catch up with life outside of work. Also in the survey, 49 per cent of business travelers pay bills online and 34 per cent Skype or chat with their family at home.
Some 40 per cent of business travelers check Facebook or other social networking websites on hotel Wi-Fi and 34 per cent of travelers say they update their Facebook status to “let everyone know they are a road warrior”.
Just over half – 55 per cent – of the business travelers surveyed said they never tweet while on a business trip, and only 11 per cent said they tweet often. Among those who said they would tweet during a hotel stay, positive experiences, such as free room upgrades (70 per cent) and free Wi-Fi (62 per cent) were more likely to result in a tweet than negative ones. The survey found an overbooked hotel to be the one negative that would likely make guests tweet.
A total of 200 business travelers completed the online survey, which was conducted from March 29 to March 31, 2010 by KRC Research. To qualify, business travelers had to be at least 22 years old, travel overnight for business purposes at least six times a year, spend approximately $150 or more per night on a hotel room, not including taxes, and carry and/or use a personal communication device (PDA, Blackberry, iPhone, Google Android smartphone or other device) while traveling on business.