NZ travellers keep corporate travel “strictly business”
New Zealand business travellers keep corporate travel “strictly business”
Business travel research highlights differences between corporate road-warriors from eight Asia Pacific countries
Auckland, 31 July 2012 - New Zealanders might portray themselves as bargain hunters and always looking for ways to get more ‘bang for their buck’, but surprisingly that doesn’t mean that they take advantage of corporate credit cards or extend business trips to take a holiday, visit friends and family or invite friends along to enjoy the free hotel night.
The Accor Asia Pacific Business Traveller Survey 2012 shows that out of the 2,586 respondents, New Zealand business travellers were the least inclined to mix business and pleasure while travelling on company time and money.
The research, conducted by leading global research consultancy ORC International, surveyed business travellers from eight destinations: Australia, China, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand. Accor is the largest hotel group in New Zealand with over 30 hotels under the Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Grand Mercure, Novotel, All Seasons and Ibis brands.
Highlights of the research findings include:
New Zealanders concentrate on business, rather than pleasure – when asked whether they had extended their business trip to take a holiday break or to visit friends and family or had taken a friend or partner on the trip, New Zealand corporate travellers were the least likely of the eight countries surveyed. Only 11% of New Zealanders said they had extended their trip to visit friends and relatives, a mere 10% had tacked on a holiday and 12% of respondents had taken a friend or partner along on a business trip. This compares with 33% of Taiwanese, 25% of Malaysians and 20% of Hong Kongers who have extended their business trips to take a holiday. New Zealanders only just pipped the Aussies (12% verses15%) when it came to taking a non-work companion on business.
Kiwis are also reluctant to take advantage of their company credit card for “non-work” activities while on business travel, though men are more likely than women to take advantage:
Q24a: Please indicate how much you agree or disagree with the following statements – New Zealand travellers surveyed
|% of total who agree||% of males who agree||% of females who agree|
acceptable to use and have the company pay for usage of
services such as the
|It is acceptable to use and have the company pay for usage of the hotel Spa facilities||13||16||7|
|It is acceptable to watch and have the company pay for usage of services such as pay-per-view movies||8||9||5|
|It is acceptable to go to late-night entertainment venues when travelling for business||27||30||19|
Kiwis travel on business and attend meetings more for networking and internal purposes rather than their Asian counterparts whose mantra is simple – SELL, SELL, SELL. For instance, while the principal reason for business travel by Indian and Chinese corporate travellers is for “visiting customers”, New Zealand business travellers stated that “internal company meetings” was their primary reason for travel.
Meanwhile, MICE travel accounted for 28% of all trips taken in the first six months of 2012. The quality of the agenda/program (60%) is what drives New Zealand business travellers to attend MICE events rather than seek business development opportunities.
Business travel still dominated by the boys – almost three quarters of business travellers who responded to the survey across the eight countries were male. Very little changed from 2011, with 70% of Kiwi corporate travellers being male and 30% female.
Location is still number one when determining choice of hotel - while location was the primary reason for selecting a hotel by travellers from all Asia Pacific countries, New Zealanders (60%) and Australians (68%) placed the highest importance on location well ahead of free Wi-Fi and price. As was the case in 2011, the majority of respondents in all countries believe it is more important to be located near to where they are doing business rather than located close to shopping, nightlife and entertainment areas.
A comfortable bed is key – proven once again by Accor’s business traveller survey, a comfortable hotel bed is of the utmost importance for all business travellers. Of the top three services when staying in a hotel, New Zealanders voted for a comfortable bed number one (74%), followed by a good quality clean bathroom/shower (43%) ahead of free internet (36%) And that is why the world’s leading economy hotel brand, Ibis has instigated the largest ever upgrading of beds to meet what road-warriors want. The Ibis ‘Sweet Bed’ moves the brand into premium economy extending on what 5-star hotels used to provide travellers back in the nineties to make 3-star sleeping a 5-star experience today.
New Zealander corporate travellers prefer to book it themselves – business travellers in Asia Pacific are most likely to book their hotel accommodation themselves with online the preferred medium (82%), while only a minority using offline travel agents or reservation centres. 62% of New Zealanders usually book directly with the hotel online compared to 50% of Australian respondents.
Business travellers keep quiet on social media - regardless of whether they had a positive or negative hotel experience business travellers are unlikely to always post comments on social media websites such as Facebook to TripAdvisor. More than half (52%) of New Zealand business travellers have never posted reviews on social media and the majority of respondents prefer to contact the hotel directly via comment card or email/letter in the case of a negative experience, rather than posting comments online.
New Zealanders not so keen to be green – while Kiwis pride themselves on a clean, green image with strong environmental credentials, it appears that New Zealand business travellers would not choose a hotel above another simply because it is more environmentally conscious with only 26% driven by environmental factors. However, 69% of Kiwis would be willing to reuse their towels and linens if the hotel shared its laundry cost savings with environmental initiatives.
Personalisation a key driver for choice in ‘hotels of the future’ – New Zealand business travellers would like to see more personalised services in hotels including a dedicated check-in and check-out counter for loyalty card members (64%) with more than half of Kiwi respondents wanting to see more hotel amenities and products from New Zealand.
New Zealand corporate travellers’ plan more business travel in the next 6 months – looking to the remainder of the year, the average number of business trips planned is higher than this time last year. Chinese and Indian business travellers lead the pack in terms of projected business travel, where as New Zealand corporate travellers anticipate a marginal increase in travel in the second half of 2012 compared to the first six months.
Australian neighbours top destination for New Zealand business travel – while Singapore and China have emerged in the ‘Top 3’ destinations for New Zealand business travellers, not surprisingly Australia was the most popular destination for Kiwi travellers in the first half of 2012 accounting for 72% of all international business trips. However, intra-Asia travel, rather than travel to New Zealand and Australia, was the hottest travel pattern, with neither Australia nor New Zealand in the top three destinations of any of the Asian countries. The good news is that the Australians love the Kiwis back with New Zealand in Australia’s ‘Top 3’ destinations for business travel alongside Singapore and Hong Kong.
“While some of the survey results were not too dissimilar to the 2011 survey, the survey found that business travellers in New Zealand and Australia are generally far more focused on business rather than pleasure during their trips, despite regular reports from both sides of the Tasman about officials rorting their travel expenditure,” said Accor Pacific’s Peter Hook.
“One thing that doesn’t seem to change, however, is the disproportionate number of men to women involved in business travel. Despite all efforts made to bridge the gender gap in senior management roles, males are still well ahead of women (12 verses 7) in taking business trips.
Accor, the world's leading hotel operator and market leader in Europe, is present in 92 countries with more than 4,400 hotels and 530,000 rooms. Accor's broad portfolio of hotel brands - Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Novotel, Suite Novotel, Mercure, Adagio, ibis, all seasons/ibis Styles, Etap Hotel/Formule 1/ibis budget, hotelF1 and Motel 6 - provide an extensive offer from luxury to budget. With more than 180,000 employees* in Accor brand hotels worldwide, the Group offers to its clients and partners nearly 45 years of know-how and expertise.
*Including 145,000 in owned, leased and managed hotels