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Travel Management

 July 17, 2012
FCm Travel Solutions: 'Business Tourists' Emerge As The New Breed of Corporate Travellers

 Australian business travellers want a 'home-away-from-home' when they travel for work and are shying away from using third-party online travel websites to book accommodation. Meanwhile, their employers, which are generally corporates at the big end of town, are increasingly turning to tailored client hotel programs to reduce the cost of accommodation.

These trends have been highlighted in a new research paper on the hotel sector, released by Australian corporate travel and expense management specialist FCm Travel Solutions.

FCm's General Manager of Global Product - Corporate, Joe McCormack, said FCm's research paper discussed how the corporate sector's pursuit of more all-round value from their hotel investments was driving changes not only in the booking and buying process but for hotel owners.

"Corporate travellers are now being viewed as 'business tourists'," Joe said. "They want rooms that have high-speed internet connectivity capable of supporting their personal devices. They want to be able to listen to their Ipod through a docking station, watch Foxtel, download a movie or TV series or exercise in well equipped gyms.

"Because of this, hotels are starting to focus more on creating a 'home-away-from-home' for corporate guests, where they can more easily blend business with leisure, and access the same high-quality information and communication technology, as they would at home.

"Tapping into the trend of fusing business with leisure are chains such as IHG, which is developing a new line of health and wellness properties. EVEN guestrooms are designed for workouts with coat racks that double as pull-up bars, luggage racks that can be used as a work-out bench, yoga mats and a circuit training guide with routines that can be done without having to leave the room."

FCm's whitepaper also points to an industry study that says Australia's domestic hotel market will see only a two percent increase in new hotel supply during the next five years.

Joe said strong demand for hotel accommodation around Australia and minimal new hotel supply now and in the next few years would put pressure on rates, forcing more companies to look for ways to increase ROI on their travel.

"FCm has experienced an increase in new and existing clients investing in specially developed client hotel programs. These programs are not only providing the best rates for businesses with a large volume of accommodation in their company travel programs, but also the best selection of properties," he said. "A client hotel program will include accommodation options that suit not only a company's budget but also the needs of their employees and travel culture, fuelling the rise of this new breed of corporate traveller.

"Through our Client Hotel Program, where we have led the evaluation, negotiation and implementation process, FCm has helped companies save thousands of dollars on the cost of their accommodation."

In cutting costs, corporate travellers are also moving away from the restricted rates on third-party online travel websites in favour of more flexible corporate negotiated rates or last minute rates available through a TMC-managed online website.

"Booking through a third-party online website can be fraught with costly challenges if something goes wrong or plans change," Joe said. "While bookings on our own last-minute hotel website remain strong, this is generally because travellers know they have FCm's support if they need help."