GBTA: More than half of business travelers download, use hotel apps

Business travelers commonly download and use hotel apps according to a new study released today by the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), in partnership with Best Western Hotels & Resorts. Three out of five (61%) business travelers have downloaded at least one of the seven major hotel chains’ apps on their smart phone in the past year, with more than half of those travelers (54%) downloading at least two hotel apps and one-quarter (25%) downloading at least three hotel apps.
Business travelers most often use hotel apps to check the status of a reservation (43%), manage their rewards points or account (43%) and book a hotel stay (39%). When breaking it down by age group, baby boomers (55+) are most likely to use a hotel app to check the status of a reservation while millennials (18-34) are most likely to use a hotel app to find more information about available amenities, order room service and contact hotel employees, even though not all hotel apps offer these features. In general, business travelers routinely use hotel apps and are largely satisfied with their use of hotel apps for various purposes in the past year.
One-quarter of business travelers indicate using mobile check-in on their last business stay at a hotel with millennials and Gen Xers (35-54) doing so at a much higher rate than baby boomers. If keyless entry expands, travelers will likely use mobile check-in more frequently.
Business travelers are interested in using a variety of technology amenities that most hotels do not currently offer. The most commonly indicated amenities are more regular outlets and USB outlets (35%), offering streaming services (34%) and in-room chargers for laptops and/or phones (32%). Millennials most commonly chose streaming services as a preferred amenity they would be interested in while medium- and high-frequency business travelers most commonly chose maintaining “guest profiles” to deliver a personalized stay.
Internet access still reigns supreme for business travelers when it comes to hotel technology. More than half (55%) spend at least one hour per day using in-room internet access for business purposes with a similar share (48%) also using it for at least one hour per day for leisure purposes. Satisfaction with in-room internet access is generally high with 75% or higher satisfaction rates for spend and connectivity, but slightly lower levels (62%) for security. Additionally, 73% of business travelers used WiFi or high speed internet in a hotel common area in the past year.
Three out of five (61%) business travelers used free in-room WiFi or high speed internet available to all guests, while 16% received free in-room internet access because they booked direct, were a member of the hotel’s rewards program or had special/VIP status. In the future, a majority of respondents say they are “more likely” or “much more likely” to book directly in exchange for free WiFi or high speed internet, however, the reality is most can obtain free basic WiFi by simply being part of a loyalty program regardless of booking channel.

The study is based on an online survey of 831 U.S. and Canadian business travelers who were employed or self-employed, had traveled for business at least once in the past year, had stayed at a hotel on business travel at least once in the past year and had not exclusively stayed at economy hotels during business stays in the past year. Fielding took place between April 18-26, 2016.
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