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April 4, 2008

Jacky Selway: Make your destination the must stay place for business tourists

Research suggests that overall the business tourism sector is worth £20 billion
to the wider economy. So it’s important to identify what business tourists want and easy to understand why the hospitality sector should give it to them.

Ensuring that business tourists have the best possible stay is vital. Research has found that around 40% of business travellers return as leisure visitors with their family to places they have enjoyed staying on business. The hospitality sector will benefit if it focuses even more on how to make the business traveller's stay more enjoyable. Providing quality service and identifying how a business tourist's needs differ from a leisure tourist's will encourage return trips.

Although business tourists have shorter stays than other visitors, they spend twice as much per day. The hotel and hospitality sector should make an effort to focus on the small detail, as that is what can make the difference.

So what exactly do business tourists look for when away from home? Well I believe the following four factors are vital:

Having access to the internet is important to every business traveller so that they can check emails and continue with work. Wireless enabled laptops are a key
business tool for people on the move, so it is important to have Wi-Fi access in
rooms or in communal areas. Keeping up with developments in technology is
important if a business tourist is to return.

Business facilities
Having access to business facilities such as copying, faxing and printing equipment is a necessity for business travellers. It may be an obvious service to provide a room with various business amenities, but is one that is appreciated and should not be overlooked. Business tourists will return to hotels where they know they can access adequate facilities as and when required.

Going above and beyond
There are a variety of simple services an accommodation provider can offer a
business tourist which can make their stay more enjoyable. For many, not even
having easy access to an iron can become an inconvenience, so providing an one in every room is a good idea. Other services, such as bath robes in rooms and an extended laundry service are also useful.

Travelling on business often means that your day starts early. Offering a take-
away breakfast service and express check out and key drop facilities are
convenient for busy business tourists.

Providing an escape route
Around 75% of business tourists have some leisure time on their hands while on a business trip. Why not encourage them to see some of the surrounding sights and taste some of the local cuisine by having a recommended list of restaurants,
bars, entertainment, unusual activities and historic landmarks within the hotel?
This will give the business tourist a taste for the local culture, which may encourage them to return on a leisure holiday.

Jacky Selway is business tourism manager of Aberdeen Convention

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