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High-Tech Rooms and Safety
Top the Poll for Future Business Travellers
London (28 January, 1998)  --  The world's most demanding travellers, those who travel frequently on business trips abroad, are set to become even more demanding about their needs in future -- and they are prepared to vote with their feet.
This is among the key findings of the latest survey of nearly 6,000 executive travellers in almost all parts of the world commissioned by Inter-Continental Hotels and Resorts -- the largest independent research project of its kind in the hospitality industry.
"This extremely comprehensive research project has built up a powerful  -- and indeed unique -- global picture of travellers' needs and aspirations, not only now but way into the future," says Michael A. Stajdel, senior vice president, marketing and sales of Inter-Continental Hotels and Resorts, introducing the Argonaut II survey.
"The key results of this survey will assist us in keeping Inter-Continental Hotels and Resorts at the forefront of the world's hotel industry way into the next century," he concluded.
The comprehensive Argonaut II survey, conducted for Inter-Continental Hotels and Resorts by leading UK-based international research organisation Focus, was produced after researchers interviewed nearly 6,000 frequent travellers from all parts of the world, in their homes, offices or at airports when they were actually travelling.
The sample, none of whom were aware which organisation had commissioned the research, was drawn from travellers based throughout North America, Latin America, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, the
Middle East and Africa.
They responded to dozens of detailed unprompted and prompted questions covering issues ranging from brand awareness and their choice of hotel chains to the class of airline seat they buy when they travel and which are the most crucial factors when they choose a hotel both now and in the future.
While quiet, spotlessly-clean rooms top the list of essentials for today's frequent travellers, it is high-tech in-room business and communication facilities which will prove essential to the business travellers of the future -- and hotel chains which don't provide such facilities in guest rooms will lose out.
Following close on the heels of high-tech in-room facilities on the list of priorities for frequent travellers of the future will be safety, with an overwhelming majority emphasising that they would be looking both for properties located in safe locations and enhanced safety and security features in hotels themselves.
Health-conscious travellers will also be demanding non-smoking rooms as the norm, rather than the exception; they will want to know that the hotels they choose are active in their efforts to protect the environment; they will want more control over temperature and humidity in hotel rooms and they will expect their loyalty to a hotel chain to be rewarded by the ability to earn airline mileage points.
And the days of formal fine-dining restaurants in some top hotels could be numbered, with guests of the future demanding a choice of  informal and healthier food along with a wider choice of in-hotel restaurants.
Hotel customers of the future will want to feel safe and secure when they are away on a business trip but at the same time they will need to be able to choose from a number of options available to them, the Argonaut II survey reveals.
They will need to know they have access to "appropriate" luxury if they want it, a choice of places to eat, just as they have when at home, and a relaxed, rather than formal, interaction with hotel staff.
Guests will want to feel "empowered" to exercise their options and to know that they can control their environment. They will demand "perfect" delivery of their core and peripheral needs. In other words they will want to "stay relaxed" when they are in a hotel. They will want their visit to be a "de-stressing" experience, rather than one which causes anxiety.
Increasingly, too, frequent business travellers will be seeking out hotels which provide an "international" experience by offering world-class standards mixed with plenty of local flavour, rather than
the standardisation provided by some large hotel chains.
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Melanie Baker
VP, Corporate Communications


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