Economist Intelligence Unit Predicts New Age of Austerity for Business Travellers

  • Amadeus
  • 09.03.09
Amadeus, a leading provider of technology to the travel and tourism industry, is launching a report commissioned from the Economist Intelligence Unit, into the effect of the economic downturn on executives’ choice of hotel.

Titled, “The Austere traveller – the effect of corporate cutbacks on hotels,” the report finds that executives will make fewer, shorter and cheaper business trips in 2009 and prefer basic efficiency and good service over ancillary services. Fully one-fifth of the 354 executives who responded to the survey in Asia, Europe and North America thought an Internet connection was more critical than a quiet room.

“We are entering an age of visible austerity with regards to business travel,” said Antoine Medawar, managing director, Amadeus Hospitality Business Group. “With the eyes of their organizations and shareholders upon them, executives are anxious to make business trips as productive as possible. Forget gyms and restaurants; instead concentrate on efficient checkin and checkout and Internet access. Good Wi-Fi connectivity is now rated above any other extra. There is a flight to trusted brands and the expectation of a common level of good service no matter where you are in the world.”

Forty-seven percent of executives surveyed will be taking fewer trips in the next 12 months, and over a quarter (28 percent) expect to downgrade from four and five-star hotels. In addition, 63 percent of respondents expect their companies to use the economic downturn to extract the best possible rates from hotels. A huge proportion of executives – 61 percent – said a trusted brand with uniform levels of service across locations would be a decisive factor when choosing a hotel in 2009.

When asked which features they simply could not do without, business travellers were impressively devoted to productivity on the road: Internet connectivity is indispensable to more business travellers (76 percent of respondents) than a quiet room (56 percent), good transport links (54 percent) or central location (52 percent). 

These findings suggest that business travellers measure value by price and guaranteed uniform service and efficiency. Respondents cited flexibility to change requirements (68 percent), efficient checkin and checkout (64 percent) and rapid resolution of problems (59 percent) as the best indicators of good hotel service. Almost a third (29 percent) also appreciate hotels which remember their preferences.

“It is clear business travellers’ expectations are changing,” said Bill Ridgers, chief analyst for travel and tourism at the Economist Intelligence Unit. “Economic pressure means executives care less about extras and are instead concentrating on whether hotels deliver on the simple things. In an age of increasing time pressures, security fears and greater bureaucracy – when the conventional wisdom sometimes seems to be that business travel has become something of a chore – perhaps the most heartening finding of the research is that executives still enjoy and see the benefit of travelling for work.”     

Amadeus offers a full range of technology and distribution solutions to the hotel industry. Amadeus Revenue Management System can increase a hotel property’s revenue by four percent to eight percent and currently has 1,450 customers in 35 countries. Over 6,700 hotel properties in 75 countries use Amadeus Property Management System and 80,000 hotels distribute their rooms to a global travel-buying market though Amadeus’ distribution solutions.

Amadeus is a chosen technology partner for providers, sellers and buyers of travel. The company provides distribution, IT and point-of-sale solutions to help its customers adapt, grow and succeed in the fast-changing travel industry. Customer groups include travel providers (airlines, hotels, car rental companies, railway companies, ferry lines, cruise lines, insurance companies and tour operators), travel sellers (travel agencies) and travel buyers (corporations and travellers). Solutions are grouped in four solution categories – distribution and content, sales and e-commerce, business management and services and consulting.

Amadeus has central sites in Madrid (corporate headquarters & marketing), Nice (development) and Erding (Operations – data processing center) and regional offices in Miami, Buenos Aires and Bangkok. At market level, Amadeus maintains customer operations in 76 countries covering more than 217 markets.

The company is majority owned by WAM Acquisition, whose shareholders are BC Partners, Cinven, Air France, Iberia and Lufthansa. Amadeus employs over 8,500 employees worldwide, representing 105 nationalities.

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