While hotel companies have continued to enhance their mobile apps, a GBTA study suggests that, technology-wise, business travelers are still more interested in increased in-room power outlets and streaming services than they are in things like mobile key and mobile check-in and check-out.
The study, conducted in partnership with Best Western Hotels & Resorts, surveyed 831 business travelers in the United States and Canada via an online questionnaire fielded between April 18 and 26.
Asked to rank hotel technology by interest, 34 percent of business travelers ranked “more regular power and USB outlets” among their top three. Similarly, 34 percent ranked “streaming services on guest televisions” and 32 percent ranked “in-room chargers for laptops and/or phones” in their top three. Mobile or keyless entry wasn’t too far behind, with 27 percent of travelers ranking it in their top three.
Just because travelers rank certain amenities ahead of app developments, though, it doesn’t mean they aren’t using hotel mobile apps. According to the study, 61 percent of business travelers have downloaded at least one of the seven major hotel chains’ apps on their smartphones during the past year, and 25 percent of those travelers have downloaded at least three.
Business travelers most often used hotel apps to check the status of a reservation (43 percent), manage rewards points (43 percent) and book a hotel. They also used apps in different ways based on age group. Travelers 55 and older are most likely to use an app to check reservations, while those between 18 and 34 use apps to find out more about hotel amenities, order room service and contact hotel staff.
“Hotels have room to expand the capabilities of their mobile app, as well as promote increased awareness of those capabilities, as the interest is there,” GBTA director of research Monica Sanchez said in the study’s release.
Fifty-five percent of respondents spent at least one hour a day using in-room Internet for business, and 48 percent used it at least an hour a day for leisure, as well. The majority would be “more likely” or “much more likely” to book directly with a hotel in exchange for free Wi-Fi or high-speed Internet, even though most can access free basic Wi-Fi through loyalty programs regardless of booking channel.
“In the future, hotels could invest in innovative new technologies but should also continue to focus on improving existing amenities,” Sanchez said, “especially Wi-Fi, as that remains most important for business travelers.”