The last few years have been turbulent for the travel industry. However, we’re finally starting to get back to normal. If it’s been a while since you last stayed in a business travel hotel, though, you may notice that things look a little differently than they did previously.
From those trends that have popped up in response to the pandemic to trends that are becoming more prominent due to concerns like climate and sustainability, here are the top business travel hotel trends we’re seeing at the start of 2023.
1. Business travel hotels are welcoming travelers for extended “flexcation” stays.
Move over “bleisure” travel. While the bleisure travel trend may have been all the rage several years ago, with travelers heading into a destination for a work trip and then staying over (or in another, nearby, more leisure-focused destination) for a vacation tacked on to the end of the work trip, the flexcation trend blends work and play even further.
Rather than separate a trip into two segments — business and leisure — during a flexcation trip, travelers work like normal and then enjoy the leisure part of their travel experience during their off hours. This trend is definitely something that’s become acceptable thanks to the rise of remote work over the pandemic.
Of course, this trend among employees has implications for the average business travel hotel. Just like your traveling team members, these hotels likewise are blending work and play into one seamless experience. No longer can hotels just offer a suite of business services and in-room workspaces and call it a day. They must also provide fun social spaces, lively on-site dining and drinking options, and entertainment, for one, all-encompassing experience.
2. Sustainability is of utmost importance.
It’s been said time and time and time again, and it continues to be true. Sustainability is more important than ever for travelers, no matter if they’re leisure travelers or business travelers. This attention to hotels’ sustainability efforts seeps into the business travel world, with employees expecting their Travel Managers and companies to share that concern (and show it in their decision-making). Many employees even indicate that they’d be okay with spending more on business travel if it means their travel is sustainable.
So what does this sustainability (and all the terms that go with it — net zero, carbon neutral, et cetera) look like in the real world?
At a business travel hotel that takes an on-trend approach to its sustainability efforts, you’ll be more likely to see those sustainability efforts displayed prominently, both during a stay and with the hotel’s online presence. The hotel may place emphasis on smart energy consumption, using the latest tech to reduce the often-wasted energy that goes into keeping hotel rooms lit and climate controlled. They might no longer offer traditional, plastic hotel room key cards. They may also no longer offer miniature toiletries or bottled water in guests’ rooms.
3. New tech makes for a new business travel landscape.
Just like new technology can help a business travel hotel become more sustainable, so can new tech make the entire business travel hotel guest experience completely different and new. Automation and digital services make a hotel stay seamless and easy, from checking in without the need to even talk to a single person, to using an in-room virtual assistant to make dinner plans.
4. Wellness remains front and center.
Just because your team is on the road, that doesn’t mean that your team needs to neglect their well-being. Wellness travel is trending among business travelers and leisure travelers alike, and this is a trend that aligns well with the increase in flexcation travel. As business travel hotels mix their leisure and business offerings, they likewise can start offering well-being amenities that go beyond your basic gym or even a spa, with workshops (think meditation or yoga) for guests, as well as similar wellness amenities for conference and event attendees.
The end result of jumping on this trend? Increased physical and mental well-being, which your team members will appreciate, but which will also positively impact your company’s bottom line.
5. Business travel hotel costs are going up.
Remember how we said that employees had indicated that they would be happy for their business travel to cost more if it meant that their business travel was more sustainable? Well, that comfort with increased costs is a good thing because business travel hotel costs are going up. The STR 2023 U.S. hotel rate forecast predicts rates up 2.1% compared to 2022, with a predicted average daily rate of $151.10.
The increased cost is expected due to increased demand, increased business travel and increased return of in-person events — but it doesn’t make it any better for Travel Managers who are trying to keep costs on the low end. Luckily, while reports do indicate that hotel rates are going up, they’re not going up to the same extent that they did in years past (according to the Amex GBT Hotel Prices 2023 report).
Still, it’s more important than ever that you put measures in place to properly manage spending. It’s estimated that about half of all travel costs go unmanaged, which can place an undue burden on travel management teams. That’s why JTB Business Travel looks at travel costs beyond just airfare, car rentals and hotel stays, taking into account other easy-to-miss factors like airport parking and baggage fees.
Navigate This Year’s Business Travel Hotel Trends with JTB Business Travel
Changing trends in the travel landscape can prove challenging for Travel Managers. Navigate them all, this year and in the future, with the help of JTB Business Travel. From avoiding extra costs and tracking need-to-know data about your travel spending, to risk mitigation and duty of care, our team can help with it all.
Get in touch today to learn more about JTB Business Travel’s suite of comprehensive corporate travel services.