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La Quinta has lots of appeal for budget-conscious business travelers and the chain is pulling out all the stops to sign on additional corporate accounts and to appeal to road warriors whose companies have less-stringent travel policies.
The peak demand days at La Quinta Inns & Suites are Wednesdays for business travelers, and Fridays and Saturdays for leisure travelers, but it’s clear that the hotel chain’s most acute interest is on pleasing that midweek business guest.
CEO Wayne Goldberg told analysts last week that the company’s advertising and marketing focus over the last few years has been on wooing business travelers, and that continues to be the main thrust.
“Again, we get the leisure travel without really having to focus on that,” Golderg said last week during La Quinta’s second quarter earnings call, adding that the chain sees opportunities to win even more corporate business.
Business Versus Leisure
In 2013, corporate accounts, including those for civilian government and military agencies, generated 25% of La Quinta”s room revenue at its owned and franchised hotels.
If you consider that unmanaged business travelers — those whose employers don’t have formal contracts with La Quinta — also frequently stay at La Quinta properties, then its business travel revenue is likely considerably greater than 25% of the overall mix.
“We will seek to increase room revenues from corporate accounts, as we believe such accounts are associated with more consistent demand and longer stays,” La Quinta stated in its IPO papers before it went public in April.
The chain is making changes geared to cater to business travelers, and ironically it says it is cutting costs at the same time.
Too Much Information?
Goldberg said that La Quinta is nearly finished with swapping out its entire high-speed Internet system, increasing “bandwidth on average over 10 times the existing service,” and in the process the chain expects to save more than $1 million annually by eliminating a T-1 line at each property.
In a cost-savings category that almost borders on too much information, La Quinta has also saved $100,000 in costs on toilet paper and tissues by participating in reverse auctions, and it likewise saved $400,000 on trash bags.
In addition to the Wi-Fi upgrade, a service that guests seem to like is Ready For You, with Goldberg stating that 45% of guests making bookings on the hotel website using their desktops now using the service.
In what La Quinta describes as a hotel industry first, guests booking their rooms on LQ.com optionally select their expected arrival time and receive a text or email when their room is ready. The service officially kicked off in May
That service is available every day — and not just on the on the peak demand days of Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.