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Spending locally ties in to happier, more productive business travelers

Recent survey from Homewood Suites by Hilton reveals more than half of business travelers immerse themselves in local life. According to the survey, respondents are getting out to explore, as on average only 34 percent of total trip time was spent in a hotel room.

MCLEAN, VA. – The secret to having a productive and enjoyable business trip isn’t about packing favorite items from home, but rather unplugging from work and exploring the surroundings. As simple as that may seem, researchers at the University of Edinburgh found that taking a walk outside can lessen brain fatigue and frustration, therefore, increasing levels of engagement. It’s a notion that some of the savviest business travelers know well, which is why many are investing time and money to enjoy the destinations where business takes them.

The 2014 Workstyles Study by Homewood Suites by Hilton, the third edition of the biannual survey, found 55 percent of business travelers relax by participating in and spending money on local activities, in part contributing to a projected 6.8 percent increase in business travel spending this year according to the Global Business Travel Association.

According to the Homewood Suites survey, respondents are getting out to explore, as on average only 34 percent of total trip time was spent in a hotel room. Once out-and-about, travelers are likely to spend on several forms of entertainment that specifically reflect their travel destination including dining out (45 percent), sporting events (18 percent) and museums/art galleries (17 percent).

While dining out was the most popular activity to experience local culture – 77 percent of respondents said trying local food was important – travelers are staying close to “home” in the morning as more than half seldom eat breakfast outside of their hotel.

“Homewood Suites is seeing that many of our business travel guests are taking extra steps in planning trips to make sure they have opportunity to experience and discover what makes their destinations unique,” said Christian Kuhn, vice president of marketing for Homewood Suites by Hilton. “By providing our guests value-added amenities such as free daily breakfast and evening dinner and drinks Monday through Thursday, we allow them the opportunity to stretch their travel budgets to include these activities during their stay.”

Booking Bottom Line: It’s All About Location
When choosing a place to stay, travelers aren’t relying on loyalty points or positive online reviews to sway them but rather location. The survey found that 66 percent of travelers are booking based on locality and 56 percent base it on price.

Travelers are also factoring in proximity from hotel to areas of entertainment when making reservations. Fifty five percent of respondents said they’d prefer walking to taking a cab or shuttle as a form of transportation. And when planning how to explore, 75 percent rely on social media for information on local activities, behind online research and recommendations from friends and family.

Kuhn added, “Opening new hotels in urban locations such as New York, Chicago, Denver Dallas and Atlanta, Homewood Suites is tuned into this trend and the travel experience guests seek. Business travelers want convenience and comfort over bells and whistles that don’t deliver on their basic needs.”

Trends here to stay
Reaffirming the need to be comfortable, productive and maintain parts of their normal routine, survey respondents were definitive when it came to what matters most.

  • Internet connectivity (87 percent) and bed/pillows (80 percent) were the two in-room amenities that help maintain comfort and a feeling of home
  • Business travelers like to maintain their fitness while on the road, as 76 percent try to exercise
  • The “bleisure trend” is alive and healthy, as sixty two percent of respondents were likely to extend business trips to enjoy local activities

The Workstyles Study was conducted in June 2014 using a Research Now online consumer panel. A total of 559 business travelers responded to the survey, representing an even male/female split. All respondents have taken three or more trips, or one trip of four or more nights in the past 12 months.

Vicky Karantzavelou
Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.