Most North American business travellers use hotel apps

Internet access at hotels remains paramount for business travellers

October 19, 2016
Purchasing B2B


Alexandria, VA—Business travellers commonly use hotel apps according to a new study released today by the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), in partnership with Best Western Hotels & Resorts.

Three of five (61 percent) business travellers have downloaded at least one of the seven major hotel chains’ apps on their smartphone in the past year, with more than half of them (54 percent) having at least two and one-quarter (25 percent) downloading at least three.

Business travellers most often use hotel apps to check the status of a reservation (43 percent), manage their rewards points or account (43 percent) and book a hotel stay (39 percent). When broken down by age, Baby Boomers (55+) are most likely to check the status of a reservation while Millennials (18-34) are most likely to use apps to find more info about available amenities, order room service and contact hotel employees, even though not all hotel apps offer these features. In general, business travellers routinely use hotel apps and are largely satisfied with their use of hotel apps for various purposes in the past year.

One-quarter of business travellers indicate using mobile-check in on their last business stay at a hotel with Millennials and Gen X-ers (35-54) doing so at a much higher rate than Baby Boomers. If keyless entry expands, travelers will likely use mobile check-in more frequently.

“Hotels have room to expand the capabilities of their mobile app as well as promote increased awareness of those capabilities as the interest is there,” said Monica Sanchez, GBTA Foundation Director of Research. “In the future, hotels could invest in innovative new technologies, but should also continue to focus on improving existing amenities, especially Wi-Fi as that remains most important for business travelers.”

Business travellers are interested in using a variety of technology amenities that most hotels do not currently offer. The most commonly indicated amenities are more regular outlets and USB outlets (35 percent), offering streaming services (34 percent) and in-room chargers for laptops and/or phones (32 percent). Millennials most commonly chose streaming services as a preferred amenity they would be interested in while medium- and high-frequency business travellers most commonly chose maintaining “guest profiles” to deliver a personalized stay.

Internet access still reigns supreme for business travellers when it comes to hotel technology. More than half (55 percent) spend at least one hour per day using in-room internet access for business purposes with a similar share (48 percent) also using it for at least one hour per day for leisure purposes. Satisfaction with in-room internet access is generally high with 75 percent or higher satisfaction rates for spend and connectivity, but slightly lower levels (62 percent) for security. Additionally, 73 percent of business travellers used Wi-Fi or high speed internet in a hotel common area in the past year.

Three of five (61 percent) used free in-room Wi-Fi or high speed internet available to all guests, while 16 percent received free in-room internet access because they booked direct, were a member of the hotel’s rewards program or had special/VIP status. In the future, a majority of respondents say they are “more likely” or “much more likely” to book directly in exchange for free Wi-Fi or high speed internet, however, the reality is most can obtain free basic Wi-Fi by simply being part of a loyalty program regardless of booking channel.

The study is based on an online survey of 831 US and Canadian business travellers who were employed or self-employed, had travelled for business at least once in the past year, had stayed at a hotel on business travel at least once in the past year and had not exclusively stayed at economy hotels during business stays in the past year. Fielding took place between April 18-26, 2016.