Social habits of business travelers: survey

How business travelers spend free time on the road

During their waking hours, business travelers frequent the hotel restaurant or bar with colleagues more than other activities. Aside from sleeping, which, not surprisingly, is the activity that occupies the largest share of travelers’ time at a hotel, hanging out at the hotel bar or restaurant with colleagues or business partners is the top ranked activity on the road, according to a recent survey by Four Points by Sheraton (a brand of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide),

These are among the results of a 2012 hotel business travel study commissioned by Four Points that polled a total of 6,000 business travelers globally – 1,000 each from the United States, the United Kingdom, China, India, Germany and Brazil. Four Points is growing rapidly across nearly 30 countries and carefully monitors the needs and habits of business travelers. The first phase of the survey, released in August, explored the
use of mobile technology to stay in touch while traveling, while the second phase focused on leisure activities.

“Business travelers have a real need to connect on the road – both virtually and in person,” said Brian McGuinness, Starwood’s senior vice president, specialty select brands. “Our survey results reveal that road warriors are social, preferring to network or to relax in the company of colleagues rather than just enjoying solitary pursuits.”

Among key survey findings:

By a wide margin, business travelers confirm they stay in touch with contacts whom they’ve met on a flight or at a hotel. 64.42% of respondents indicated that they had stayed in touch with someone they had met on a plane or at a hotel while traveling, vs. 35.58% who said they had not.

Business travelers prefer separate flights. They may be happy to toss back a brew with a co-worker once they arrive at their hotel, but the majority of business travelers (61.13%) report that they would rather not share their flight with a colleague.
Differences by nationality:

Americans are the most frequent business travelers. American business travelers hit the road more often than their international counterparts, with more than a third (36.36%) reporting that they average more than 10 trips per year for business. Conversely, Chinese travelers were the least likely to average more than 10 annual trips with only 7.07% of respondents at that level.

Chinese and Indian business travelers socialize more. Chinese business travelers are the most receptive to sharing a flight with a co-worker (49.5%), and a full 70% have stayed in touch with someone they met on the road. Indian road warriors are the most likely to hang out with colleagues at a bar or restaurant (61.05%) and the most likely to catch up with friends who live in town (52.63%).

Brazilians go it alone. At 31%, Brazilians are the least open to traveling with a colleague, with 53.62% reporting that they don’t want to have to worry about anyone else. They are also the least likely to hang out with colleagues at a bar or restaurant (30.93%).

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