How online travel agencies can capture more business traveler bookings.

Most online travel agencies (OTAs) focus on leisure travelers in their targeting and leave business up to travel management companies.

However, this is an enormous missed opportunity, considering that 83% of travelers we surveyed said they book at least some of their business travel through OTAs. 32% say they book all of their business travel through this channel.

So, whether you’re tracking it or not, business travelers are booking through your OTA; however, by not capturing this data you’re missing a valuable opportunity to truly personalize your offering with tailored search results – and therefore increase revenue for your business.

Our new eBook, Traveler personas for OTAs, explores the behaviors and habits of both leisure and business travelers in detail, get your free copy today.

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Global booking behaviors of business travelers

Here is a snapshot of the booking behaviors of corporate travelers, based on our analysis of GDS booking signals.

Lead time: book to travel
Booking growth last 12 months
Average trip length
% of global bookings
International bookings

What business travelers want from travel brands

We know a significant number of global travelers book at least some of their business travel through OTAs, but what is it that attracts them to this channel? A number of factors play a part.

  • Great UX: Global OTAs like Expedia, Ctrip, and Booking.com are leaders in user experience and offer a better booking experience than many corporate tools. In fact in China, 42% of corporate bookings come from OTAs compared with 28% from TMCs.
    (iResearch, 2019 China Business Travel Management Market White Paper).
  • On-the-go ancillaries: The upsell opportunities with business travelers are significant. Our research found that those who travel primarily for business are buying beyond-air offers on mobile – hotels, airport offers, Wi-Fi, and car hire are the most popular choices.
  • One-stop-shop: Over half of all business travelers (55%) would prefer to book all aspects of their journey on one website/app only (flights, hotels, ground transport, activities, etc.), making OTAs with a full content offering more attractive to this persona group.
Upsell Opportunities. Hotels, Airport offers, Wi-fi and car hire are the most popular choices.

How to target business travelers

Don’t treat business travelers like leisure travelers

While we know that a large proportion of corporate bookings are made through OTAs, many agencies offer the same booking experience to business travelers as they do leisure. However, tailoring your OTA’s offering to business travelers by offering extras like seat upgrades, lounge access, and highlighting hotels close to conference centers, could help you boost bookings.

You can identify corporate travelers in two ways. Firstly, you can look at your data to find solo travelers who have booked short trips, happening mid-week, which are booked close to the day of travel. Alternatively, you can get travelers to tick a box to identify themselves as traveling for work to capture this data, as Booking.com has done.

Tailor your search responses

As business travelers spend less time researching trips, the look to book window is short – so you need to capture their attention quickly. Central to this is presenting search results that are most relevant to the business traveler. For example the shortest durations should appear at the top of the results list and minimize the number of connections.

Business-focused hotel offering

A business traveler has different hotel requirements to a leisure traveler. Business travelers take short trips and therefore need to be close to the office or conference center they are visiting. So, when displaying hotels on your website, show a map view to allow your users to make quick decisions on the most suitable hotels.

Needs to be identified.
Bleisure trips on the increase.

Bleisure

Bleisure – extending business trips to include some leisure time – has become one of the hottest trends in corporate travel over the last few years. Once you have identified a business itinerary from your data, you can push offers with options to extend the trip to include leisure activities. This is especially relevant if the business trip is due to end close to the weekend.

Traveler personas for OTAs

Get your free copy of Traveler personas for OTAs, where we present research into the behaviors and habits of solo travelers, families, corporate travelers, couples, weekenders, and groups.

Research into behaviors and habits
to enhance your targeting

DOWNLOAD EBOOK >

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