Last week GBTA released a study, in partnership with WWStay, which revealed that nearly half (48 percent) of all U.S. business travelers have used an extended stay accommodation in the past 12 months when traveling internationally for business.
An intriguing finding from the study showed that 60 percent of business travelers who use extended stay accommodations book it themselves. There are various booking channels used, but that group overwhelmingly books their extended stay accommodation through an online travel site (41 percent) or directly on the extended stay website (38 percent).
Booking outside of a company tool could potentially mean the traveler is not compliant with company travel policy. More importantly, the company may not be able to locate their traveler if an emergency occurs. This is an important aspect of duty of care responsibilities for a travel buyer that can directly impact the safety of their traveler.
The large majority of our survey respondents do work for companies with managed travel programs – 47 percent said they have mandated policies and 33 percent have guidelines in place. More than half (53 percent) say extended stay accommodations are included in their company’s travel policy and another 27 percent are unsure. More than half of the travelers in the 19 percent who work for companies who don’t include them in their travel policy said they would use extended stay accommodations if their company’s policy changed to include it. The top reasons for wanting it included – a fully equipped kitchen, preferring the residential feel and more square feet than a hotel.
If it aligns with their business needs, travel programs that do not do so already should consider including extended stay accommodations as part of their lodging offering to travelers as knowing how to effectively leverage this resource can be beneficial to both the traveler and the bottom line. Travel buyers should also work to continually educate their travelers on their organization’s travel policy to ensure they are benefitting from all possible travel options.
Stay tuned for another post on this report that talks about satisfaction, preferences and challenges when it comes to extended stay accommodations. You can also participate in a webinar on November 18 to learn more about the study’s finding.