Business As Usual


Despite an 80-cent dollar and an increase in everything online, it seems the state of business travel in Canada is just fine with participants in a Best Western Business Travel Summit yesterday (Feb. 26) in Toronto reporting stable or increasing numbers.

Taking part in the summit were Chris Vukelich, VP Egencia, Dorothy Dowling, senior VP of sales and marketing for Best Western, Ian Race, senior VP Vision Travel Solutions, and Tony Pollard, president, Hotel Association of Canada.

If there’s one thing trending in the travel industry today, all participants agreed it’s “mobility” with more and more travellers travelling with and using their mobile devices for travel purposes. In fact, it was reported that 85% of business travellers carry two or more electronic devices with them. And, number one on the wish list for hotel properties is free in-room WiFi.

HAC’s Pollard noted that a recent survey showed the top three reasons travellers use their smart phones while on the road are to communicate with family and friends, to check the weather and to use GPS (get directions).

Also on the rise are travellers combining business with leisure travel, dubbed “bleisure.” A survey shows that 58% of business travellers – a number that is on the rise – now extend their trips for up to three days for leisure activities. And, when travelling for business and leisure, 47% take along their spouse or partner, while 1% take their pet. It was shown the top five extracurricular activities while on the road are exploring new locations, visiting local attractions, shopping, nightlife/local bars and adventure sports.

When it comes to demographics, Best Western’s Dowling noted that “Millennials,” also known as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y, may be younger, but want the same things as others when travelling.

“Younger, yes, Different, no,” she said. “They want the same things. WiFI is number one on any list, and they want it to work.”

Pollard agreed, noting that friendly service no longer tops the list of hotel wants – it’s free wireless Internet.

Trending in the future, according to the panel, will be expanded mobile services, travel safety and security and global health concerns.

Pictured at the summit are (l-r) Vukelich, Dowling, Race and Pollard.