Embassy Suites Hotels' Third Annual Business Travel Survey Reveals Face Time is Key to Strong Business Relationships

Survey Confirms In-Person Client Meetings Trump Technology

April 26, 2011 // Franchising.com // McLEAN, Va. – "More client face time for my dime," is a phrase that captures the results of Embassy Suites Hotels' Third Annual nationwide Business Travel Survey*. The survey offers an insightful look into the state of business travel, revealing perceptions on the importance of client face time and its implications when it comes to business relationships. It also gives an insider's look into hotel and flight preferences and the top destinations and airports for business travel.

"We think it's important to take the pulse of America's business travelers each year to validate current travel trends and uncover new ones," said John Lee, vice president, brand marketing for Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Worldwide. "As 60 percent of our guests are business travelers, it's a priority to ensure that we are consistently providing an offering that makes each and every business trip even better."

Face Time Trumps Technology . . .

Ninety-seven percent of business travelers think face time is the most important part of developing and maintaining strong client relationships and over half (53 percent) of business travelers reported having more in-person meetings with clients than in previous years. "Face-to-face meetings are irreplaceable when it comes to the health of client relationships," says business travel strategist Joel Widzer, Psy.D. "We connect with our clients better when we are able to meet in person, which certainly makes it worth taking that business trip on a regular basis."

In fact, 76 percent of business travelers who had less face time with clients in the past 12 months reported it had a negative impact on their business relationships. For those still skeptical about planning a trip for the next business meeting, the survey found that almost 1-in-5 (18 percent) of business travelers reported losing a project because they were unable to travel to see a client and 17 percent say they lost the client altogether.

In this digital age where professionals rely on technology for just about everything, the question remains – can apps, emails and video chats replace old fashioned face time with clients? According to Embassy Suites' survey, the answer is no. Respondents indicated it would take an average of five video conferences, 10 phone calls or 20 emails to replace one hour of face-to-face contact with a client.

On the Road More, But Still Looking for Value…

According to Embassy Suites' survey, business travel is on the rise compared to 2010. While business travelers are on the road again, it's clear they are still looking for value when it comes to booking hotels (27 percent, up from 24 percent in 2010). Business travelers remain budget savvy about accommodations, but they report splurging more when it comes to flights and food. This year, less road warriors are flying exclusively coach to reach their business travel destinations (down to 21 percent from 29 percent in 2010), and only 1-in-5 are cutting back on meals this year, down 4 percent from 2010.

"At Embassy Suites Hotels, we are proud to provide business travelers great value and more bang for their buck as they make face time with clients a priority," says Lee. "Our spacious, two-room suites give business travelers ample space to spread out, while our complimentary, cooked-to-order breakfast helps them fuel up for the day, and the nightly Manager's Reception** with complimentary appetizers and beverages offers a great venue to celebrate the day's successes. These offerings, ideal for the business traveler, are available at every Embassy Suites Hotel for approximately the same price of another full service, upscale hotel."

Big Apple Ranks Best for Business Travel...

When it comes to the best U.S. cities for business travel, New York City is king—the Big Apple was ranked first by survey respondents (20 percent), with the "Windy City" of Chicago in second place (12 percent), and Los Angeles in third (10 percent).

Business travelers are torn when it comes to choosing the easiest U.S. airport – John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in Texas are tied for first (each receiving 10 percent of the vote), while Los Angeles International Airport and O'Hare International Airport in Chicago are tied for second (each earned themselves 8 percent of the vote).

Embassy Suites Hotels strives to cater to business travelers' needs, through a variety of resources including 24-hour Embassy BusinessLink™ Centers. To book your next business trip hotel stay at Embassy Suites, please visit www.embassysuites.com.

About Embassy Suites Hotels

Founded in 1984, Embassy Suites Hotels defines the upscale, all-suites segment and today has 210 hotels, with an additional 33 in the pipeline. With spacious two-room suites, engaging team members and an inviting atrium environment, guests are welcome to put their feet up and feel right at home. Embassy Suites' complimentary, cooked-to-order breakfast helps guests gear up for their day, while the nightly Manager's Reception with complimentary appetizers and beverages offers guests a great way to wind down. To learn more, visit www.embassysuites.com.

About Hilton Worldwide

Hilton Worldwide is the leading global hospitality company, spanning the lodging sector from luxurious full-service hotels and resorts to extended-stay suites and mid-priced hotels. For 92 years, Hilton Worldwide has been offering business and leisure travelers the finest in accommodations, service, amenities and value. The company is dedicated to continuing its tradition of providing exceptional guest experiences across its global brands. Its brands are comprised of more than 3,700 hotels and 610,000 rooms in 82 countries and include Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Hotels, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages the world-class guest reward program Hilton HHonors®. For more information about the company, visit www.hiltonworldwide.com.

* Survey Methodology The Embassy Suites Business Travel Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.WakefieldResearch.com) between March 23 and March 28, 2011. For this research, 709 interviews were fielded among nationally representative American business travelers ages 21 and older, using an email invitation and an online survey.

Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of that variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews conducted. For the interviews conducted, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.68 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

**Service of alcohol subject to state and local laws. Must be of legal drinking age.

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