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Homewood Suites: Blended Biz Traveler Lifestyle Leads Chase to Bundled Value Proposition

Homewood Suites by Hilton, the highest-ranking extended-stay brand in the 2010 J.D. Power and Associates North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index, released the results of its 2010 Workstyles Study. The independent survey, conducted a decade after the initial study, polled 549 extended-stay business travelers about their current work-life balance and the amenities that they find most valuable while on the road.

According to Carla Raynor, vice president of marketing, Homewood Suites by Hilton, the most significant study finding was that the division between business travelers' professional and personal lives has eroded over the past decade. In fact, 67 percent of respondents have either "frequently" or "sometimes" combined a leisure vacation with a work trip in the past year (16 percent increase since 2000), with over half of those respondents having done so three or more times.

Combining business with leisure travel wasn't the only area to increase. Respondents shared that working after hours has become increasingly more common. Eighty-three percent of those surveyed said they often work in the evenings or on the weekend (an 11 percent increase since 2000).

Maintaining a regular diet and exercise regimen has also become more imperative to a vast majority of business travelers. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of respondents stated that it is either "important" or "very important" for them to maintain their routines on the road, saying that an in-room kitchen, stocked with requested food would make this easier. Participants further confirmed this trend by citing a full refrigerator and microwave as the second and third most-desired in-room amenities, after complimentary internet.

"We frequently survey our guests in order to ensure we're staying as relevant as possible and meeting their needs," says Raynor. "The findings from this most recent study further reinforce that our bundled value proposition is addressing the needs of our guests."

Other big factors
The Workstyles Study also reinforced that location, value and loyalty programs are important factors for business travelers when choosing hotels. Additionally, the results found that the three currently available amenities business travelers most use during their travel were Internet, breakfast and fitness facilities. Although, when asked what amenities they would use most if offered for free, an evening reception moved ahead of fitness facilities, joining complimentary Internet and breakfast as the most valued.

Rather than cutting back on guest services and amenities during the economic downturn, Homewood Suites began a significant capital investment to improve and expand its offerings. The brand's food and beverage program was perhaps the most noticeable change of this "Distinctly Homewood" enhancement, with a 30-day rotational menu which includes a daily full hot breakfast and evening meal with drinks every Monday-Thursday. Additional elements of the program included the installation of flat-panel televisions, granite countertops, wood laminate flooring, upgraded bedding in all guest suites and improvements to fitness equipment.

"Homewood Suites will continue to afford guests the conveniences and bundled value they appreciate and want as reflected by the Workstyles Study," says Raynor. "From complimentary Internet and daily full hot breakfast, to in-room kitchens and a free grocery shopping service, our guests know that they can be at home when staying at one of Homewood's nearly 300 properties."

This independent, external study was conducted in May 2010 using an eRewards panel. A total of 549 travelers responded to the survey, representing an even male/female split. All respondents have taken three or more trips of four or more days in the past year.
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