About half of business travelers say their company's travel policy doesn't address extended stay lodging, leading them to book on their own.
Most business travelers who are on the road for long periods of time prefer to book their own accommodations and have yet to turn to the sharing economy or serviced rentals en masse.
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) released an updated report this week pulling from a survey of travel buyers and conversations with travel managers on the subject of extended stay accommodations. It found that while many business travelers prefer the amenities of an extended stay property, they still end up staying in a traditional hotel for long periods instead of serviced apartments or shared rentals.
“Most respondents mention traditional hotels (71 percent) or extended stay hotels (80 percent) as types of accommodations their travelers have stayed in in the past 12 months for extended stay trips,” the report finds. “This does not come as a surprise as these are the most common types of accommodations that can be booked through traditional channels such as a corporate online booking tool, or through a travel management company. Half of respondents mention serviced apartments with 18 percent mentioning community sourced rentals like Airbnb, Flipkey, HomeAway, etc.”
Most business travelers took an extended stay trip to attend a conference, client meeting, training session, or internal company meeting, according to GBTA’s research.
Here are three more takeaways from the report.
Business travelers want a kitchen
Why spend your business trip at an extended stay hotel? The ability to cook for yourself, according to respondents.
“For those travelers who prefer to stay at an extended stay hotel or serviced apartment, the previous survey mentioned found that almost half (45 percent) do so because they want to have access to a kitchen,” the report reads. “In addition to a kitchen, amenities are mentioned 40 percent of the time while a residential feel is mentioned more than a third of the time (36 percent).”
Interestingly, 20 percent of U.S.-based international business travelers polled said they prefer an extended stay property or serviced apartment because they travel with their family.
Most say an extended stay trip is simply more than five days long
There’s not even a standard definition of what a travel manager deems to be an extended stay lodging request.
Of those polled, 27 percent considered a trip of five or more days an extended stay request, while 24 percent considered it ten or more days; 22 percent they don’t have a definition of an extended stay trip.
Why is this important? Different departments handle different kinds of business travel trips in big organizations.
“What is most important is for your organization to have a definition for what is considered an extended stay trip for your travelers as this is the first step in managing this part of your travel program,” reads the report. “How extended stay is defined within your organization can help dictate which department claims ownership.”
Most extended stay bookings are made out of policy
International business travelers are booking international extended stay accommodations themselves, and causing headaches for their travel managers in the process.
A surprising 60 percent of international business travelers booked their extended stay lodging outside of their company travel department, and 47 percent of travel policies don’t even address extended stay trips.
“This poses a number of potential challenges including lost visibility, increased likelihood of poor decisions as a result of limited knowledge, and reduced productivity,” concludes the report.
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Photo credit: A HomeAway vacation rental at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. A new report says business travelers continue to choose extended stay hotels over short-term rentals. HomeAway