Business travel is valuable, if not essential, to achieving professional success today, not only because of its positive impact on businesses but also for the opportunities it offers employees to expand their horizons and reach their fullest potential.
More than half (58%) of working professionals in the US say experiencing new cultures and destinations adds value to their job, a sentiment echoed most by professionals in Arts/Culture/Sport/Music (65%), Travel & Hospitality (71%) and Construction & Engineering (81%).
These are among the top findings of new research from Booking.com for Business, the global leader in connecting business travelers with the widest choice of places to stay. Conducted with more than 17,000 working professionals from 24 countries, the research reveals the extent to which they view business travel as essential to professional growth and business success, including key differences across professions.
Employees use business travel as opportunities for professional growth
When asked what they most hope to achieve when travelling for business, more than half (56%) of working professionals cite growing their company’s business. But delving further into individual professions reveals a series of personal and professional growth ambitions:
- Charity & Social Services personnel (48%) wish to gain inspiration to apply to their work
- Accelerating their career path is particularly important to Medical & Health (45%) and Travel & Hospitality (41% vs. 29% avg.) professionals.
- Understanding a new culture and its business impact is most important to Travel & Hospitality (43% vs. 25% avg.) and Technology pros (36%)
Across professions, travel also has a broader impact on business success
Half of working professionals (51%) say that being able to take a few off-the-clock hours, or “Bleisure Time,” during a business trip to enjoy the destination is a definite work perk. Nearly half (49%) prefer to spend that time sightseeing, or trying local cuisines (40%). More than half (60%) are influenced to take ‘Bleisure time’ as an opportunity to explore a previously un-visited destination.
Despite the benefits of modern technology and real-time communications, a real business case for in-person meetings still exists. More than seven in ten (71%) of working professionals agree that travelling to meet clients or colleagues face-to-face is essential to business success, rising in importance for those in Retail & Sales (79%) and Construction & Engineering (89%).
Business-ready accommodation is key to boosting business trip potential
Choosing the right accommodation plays a critical role in maximizing the potential of a business trip. More than six in ten professionals (63%) agree that travel and accommodation options that cater specifically to the business traveler are no longer optional, but essential.
A strong Wi-Fi signal tops the list of business accommodation must-haves (53%), followed by a comfortable bed (51%) and a hearty breakfast (38%). The choice of accommodation is also strongly driven by location, with convenient access to meetings (44%) identified as the top priority for overnight stays. With Booking.com for Business, properties that have been favorably reviewed by prior business travelers and tick the boxes for these important business travel essentials are surfaced with priority in the search results.
When it comes to the most-booked business stay types across professions:
- Professionals in Banking & Professional Services are more likely to book a ‘home away from home’ (23% vs. 18% avg.), and prioritize being able to earn points or rewards (43% vs. 30% avg.)
- Technology & Computing professionals mostly prefer a ‘mid-market’ option (47% vs. 34% avg.), but also tend to book a ‘hi-tech’ option with the latest electronics (36% vs. 22% avg.)
- Those in Travel & Hospitality are also more likely to opt for accommodations with a host/guide (27% vs. 14% avg.)
By making it easy to search, find and select accommodation from the wide variety of business-ready stays available today, Booking.com for Business helps connect business travelers with their ideal place to stay – whether that reflects their professional preferences, business trip objectives or overall lifestyle.
“Experiencing different cultures and destinations and gaining new perspectives through travel is becoming increasingly important to professional success, particularly in today’s hyper-connected and globalized business world. Regardless of profession, today’s business travelers are savvier about the value up for grabs, both for their companies and for themselves. Where they choose to stay is crucial in realizing that value, with today’s business travelers seeking places that align with their specific, priority needs when it comes to location, flexibility and certain amenities,” says Ripsy Bandourian, senior director of product development at Booking.com for Business. “Looking at our data and millions of business traveler reviews, we make it easier to find those stays recommended by other business travelers, without compromising on choice. Corporate travelers can enjoy flexibility and freedom to personalize and maximize a business stay experience, all while still working within a company’s policy.”