Business Travel Budgets Increasing And Younger Executives Hitting The Road This Fall, Finds Best Western International Survey Also Finds the Top Reason Business Travelers Sign Up for Travel Loyalty Programs is to Earn Free Hotel Stays

PHOENIX, Oct. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- For the travel industry, the good news this fall extends beyond an expectation of increased business trips, as many road warriors have larger budgets to spend on travel expenses according to a recent survey from Best Western International and Wakefield Research. Best Western found that nearly two in five (39%) business travelers surveyed indicate their budgets have increased this year compared to 2011, with only one in ten saying their business travel budget has been cut in 2012. 

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With increased budgets, travelers are changing their tune for how they approach business travel. Despite the guilt some feel when being away from family and friends, more than three in four people surveyed (77%) indicated that they have a positive attitude about business trips.

"The combination of strong corporate travel, along with an emerging number of small business road warriors, has helped push advanced booking numbers for Sunday through Thursday travel at Best Western hotels significantly higher this fall compared to last," said Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Best Western International. "Business travelers have learned lessons from the past, and are more value conscious than ever. Offering complimentary high-speed internet access, a strong breakfast option and free parking is the price of entry to attract these travelers, and something we pride ourselves on providing all our guests at each Best Western hotel." 

When it comes to travel planning, Best Western discovered that this year's business class is empowered to make their own travel decisions and often use tools more commonly thought of when planning for vacation travel. Nearly seven in ten road warriors research and book their own travel, rather than use a corporate travel department or travel agent, and 82% of business travelers who book their own business travel often use third-party review websites such as TripAdvisor prior to booking their hotel stays.   

Additional highlights from the annual Best Western business travel survey include:

  • Expect more travelers in airports and on the road: Forty-three percent of business travelers expect to travel more for business this fall than last.
  • Many of those jetsetters and road warriors will be fresh faces this year. Fifty-one percent of business travelers aged 21 to 44 expect to travel more this fall than last year, compared to only 28% of those aged 45 and older.
  • Free hotel stays reign supreme: The top reason why business travelers sign up for travel loyalty programs is to get free hotel stays (48%) followed by airline tickets or upgraded seats (45%), hotel upgrades (40%) and discounts on travel staples like food and gas (32%).
  • Business travelers feel generous: Road warriors aren't just concerned about making their own lives easier when it comes to travel loyalty programs, as more than 1 in 10 (12%) have signed up to donate some of their future points to charity.  

"Just because it's business travel doesn't mean it has to be all business all the time. Road warriors are finding the positive of traveling for work by enjoying new destinations, meeting new people and just getting away from the office," said Chris McGinnis, Best Western's business travel expert and editor for the travel blog YouMustBeTrippin.com. "Increased demand, though, can mean higher airfares and hotel rates in key cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco. During periods of peak demand, road warriors should book as far in advance as possible and also consider redeeming loyalty program points to control their cash flow."

To best meet the needs of individual business travelers, Best Western's "Business Advantage" program offers small and medium sized businesses extra incentives including the following:

  • Additional savings: Business Advantage members receive an across-the-board 10% discount off the hotel's best available rate.
  • Special recognition: Both owners and employees enjoy automatic elite-level membership in Best Western's popular Best Western Rewards program, along with other perks.
  • More Rewards points: While each traveler earns Rewards points during each stay, Best Western credits the business owners' account with an additional 10 percent of the total points earned by traveling employees as well.

Best Western Resources:

Survey Methodology
The Best Western Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 502 U.S. business travelers, between September 11 and September 18, 2012, using an email invitation and an online survey.

Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 4.4 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

ABOUT BEST WESTERN INTERNATIONAL, INC. 
Best Western International, Inc., headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., is a privately held hotel brand made up of more than 4,000* BEST WESTERN®, BEST WESTERN PLUS® and BEST WESTERN PREMIER® hotels in more than 100* countries and territories worldwide. Now celebrating 66 years of hospitality, Best Western welcomes hundreds of thousands of guests nightly. Best Western provides its hoteliers with global operational, sales, marketing and promotional support, and online and mobile booking capabilities. More than 15 million travelers are members of the brand's award-winning loyalty program Best Western Rewards®, one of the few programs in which members earn points that never expire and can be redeemed at any Best Western hotel worldwide. The brand's partnerships with AAA/CAA, racecar driver Michael Waltrip, and Harley-Davidson® provide travelers with exciting ways to interact with the brand. Best Western in 2011 was named AAA's and CAA's Hotel Partner of the Year and bestwestern.com was named the 2011 Compuware Best of the Web Gold award winner. For more information or to make a reservation, please www.bestwestern.com.

*Numbers are approximate and may fluctuate. 

CONTACT:

Laura Cherry

Meghan Lee


Best Western International

Allison+Partners


(602) 957-5668

(415) 277-4901


Laura.Cherry@bestwestern.com

bestwestern@allisonpr.com

SOURCE Best Western International, Inc.



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