Business travellers have voted online check-in as the ‘innovation of the decade’; followed closely by Wi-Fi, flat beds, notebooks and the Eurostar. The top five innovations, hailed for immeasurably improving business travel over the last ten years, were revealed in a survey of 2,400 business travellers in London.
Survey respondents also threw down the gauntlet to the industry with a list of demands for future innovations to further enhance their enjoyment of business travel. Top of the list is speed, speed, speed, with travellers calling for faster security, check in and immigration processes. This was followed by the invention of a miracle child silencer, supersonic aircraft, carbon free travel and Wi-Fi on planes.
Back to the here and now, air travellers voted British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, Singapore and Lufthansa as their top five favourite airlines. British Airways also won through in the customer service category, followed closely by the same four airlines, though in a different order: Singapore, Lufthansa, Emirates and Virgin. But travellers tipped the nod to Lufthansa when voting for the world’s greenest airline (next up were Singapore, KLM, Qantas and Virgin Atlantic).
Despite longing for ‘sky-Fi’, 82 per cent of business travellers still don’t want mobile phones to be allowed on board. They rate punctuality and cost ahead of legroom, on board catering and access to a lounge. And more than half - 57 per cent - believe the first round of APD increases was unfair, and 87 per cent are strongly opposed to a second round of price rises, currently set for 1 November 2010.
Intercontinental was voted top hotel group – ahead of Marriot, Four seasons, Hilton and Radisson. And the top reason for choosing hotels (after location, which goes without saying) is cost, bedding, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi and a good quality restaurant.
When it comes to the economy, things are looking up for 2010. While 73 per cent travelled the same or more for business in 2009; this figure is predicted to increase to 91 per cent for 2010. And if travellers have anything to do with it, it won’t drop. They love being away from home. It’s their number one perk of travelling on business. That, and the opportunity to see new places, using the peace and quiet to be strategic, the air miles and chilling out in the first class lounges. And the secret to making it all happen smoothly. Well, believe it or not, it’s taking him/her indoors along, followed by planning ahead and making sure there’s time set aside in the schedule to make the most of the hotel spa and leisure facilities.
“The ‘noughties’ have been a hotbed of innovation when it comes to business travel. Innovations in technology, infrastructure and services have all contributed to make it easier, more comfortable and more enjoyable than ever for professionals to both travel and do business effectively,” commented David Chapple, event director, Business Travel & Meetings Show.
Innovations that will change the face of business travel in the new decade will be on show at The Business Travel & Meetings Show in the Innovation Awards Arena. BTMS 2010 takes place from 9-10 February 2010 at Earls Court 2 in London.