Better value, a seamless booking experience and smart technology; all emerged as increasingly important for travellers in 2020, according to a recent study by Travelport. So what is the long-stay market doing to ensure it meets this demand?
In compiling its annual study on global travel trends, tech company Travelport surveyed no less than 23,000 participants across 20 countries. It’s findings, therefore, deserve a closer look.
So what did the study reveal?
Value beats price: Only one in five travellers booked on cost alone, with 85 per cent prioritising value instead – value for which they are more than happy to shop around providers to unearth.
Booking experiences should be seamless: More than half of travellers were frustrated at the lack of transparency during the booking process, while irrespective of age, they wanted booking to be personalised. That led to frustrations when, for example, they were unable to set and save preferences for future use.
Technology matters: Active social media, AR and VR, cloud and app-based systems: you name it, travellers want it. In 2020 they expect to see providers integrating smart technology at every stage of a journey to make their lives easier and more rewarding.
So how does the long-stay market measure up on each of these three fronts?
Tech-savvy business travellers demand more than a warm bed, a few home comforts and a space to work. To deliver value in serviced or corporate accommodation, providers need to go above and beyond. And it’s fair to say that in recent years the sector has undergone a considerable makeover.
Take Aparthotels. Such dynamic accommodation options blur the lines between a traditional hotel and communal living. Inspired by the popularity of home-sharing and co-working, they often offer stylish shared spaces in which to work, socialise and relax.
On the booking process…
Though the long-stay market has begun to innovate in many regards, the booking process still lags behind. At the crux of the problem lies its technology (or lack thereof) which ultimately diminishes choice, value and experience for corporate travellers.
There are some exceptional outliers, with a handful of larger accommodation operators having already automated their processes with online booking and management platforms, some of which even connect to GDS. But the fact is most bookings are still made manually.
It is a practice that is time-consuming and frustrating for users. So much so, for some corporates serviced accommodation is even taken away as an option for their travel programmes. For others, the only tenable solution is to outsource the job to a third-party rather than manage a programme in-house, with an impact on choice and personalisation.
Direct sourcing, though, has unexplored potential as well as the opportunity to eradicate booking frustrations. By removing agencies and other intermediaries, corporates can source accommodation straight from pre-qualified suppliers, removing unnecessary fees and broadening the scope for rate negotiation.
MYSA can provide corporates with just this capability, allowing buying teams to source their own tailored supply of accommodation, compliant with their company policies (including duty of care, safety and security) and creating a seamless booking experience for employees.
When it comes to technology, corporate travellers are like any member of the public. They want the ability to personalise, manage their stay digitally and leverage the latest tech at each stage of their stay. The long-stay market still has work to do in this regard, particularly where it’s seeking to compete with premium hotel brands or home-sharing giants like Airbnb.
It’s important to remember too that innovation is about more than addressing consumer pain points; it is about delivering an overall seamless experience.
MY Oxygen by MYSA allows corporate bookers complete control via a bespoke, company-specific platform. Inventory, bookings and communication with suppliers are all managed from one place rather than on a piecemeal basis, minimising administration. Rich detail and innovative features allow travellers to personalise their stay according to both work demands and individual preferences before placing a booking too.
In this way it delivers on all fronts: value, a seamless booking experience and the latest technology has to offer. Not just better value but a SMARTER experience for guest, booker and company.