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Marketing to Business Travellers - China - May 2019

Covered in this report

For the purpose of this report, frequent travellers are defined as those who have travelled 4 times or more for business in the last 12 months.

“Business travel in China accounted for about 30% of the total travel market in 2018. Business travel is driven more by the B2C market than the B2B market in China. The post-90s generation have become key frequent business travellers. Mid-scale hotels are the most chosen business travel accommodation. Catering has been identified as a top consideration factor for business flights and accommodation. This provides an opportunity for travel service providers to differentiate.”

– Saskia Zhao, Research Analyst

This report examines the following issues:

  • Improved in-flight catering is an opportunity to attract business travellers
  • Why are business travellers hesitant to choose Airbnb for business travel?
  • Differentiating from high-end hotels brings more opportunities for apartment hotels

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Business travel accounts for 30% of total travel market
              • Business travel outsourcing services are not yet widely adopted
                • Figure 1: Decision-makers for business trips - I chose it myself within a budget, December 2018
              • Business travel market expected to grow at a moderate pace
                • Japan and the US see rapid growth of Chinese business travellers
                  • Figure 2: Number of business travellers from mainland China to major business travel destinations, 2014-18
                • Future business demand from Mid-West China
                  • Key business service providers
                    • Innovations highlights
                      • The consumer
                        • Consumers taking more domestic than outbound business trips
                          • Figure 3: Business travel frequency, December 2018
                        • Business travel outsourcing is not a common practice
                          • Figure 4: Business travel decision maker, December 2018
                        • Mid-scale hotels are the most popular business travel accommodation
                          • Figure 5: Types of accommodation chosen for business travel, December 2018
                        • Good breakfast is attractive to business travellers when it comes to accommodation
                          • Figure 6: Consideration factors when choosing accommodation for business travel, December 2018
                        • Business travellers choose chain hotels as well as independent hotels
                          • Figure 7: Hotels most satisfied with, coded by hotel type, December 2018
                        • Good in-flight food service is an attractive feature of business flights
                          • Figure 8: Attractive features of business flights, December 2018
                        • What we think
                        • Issues and Insights

                          • Improved in-flight catering is an opportunity to attract business travellers
                            • The facts
                              • The implications
                                • Why are business travellers hesitant to choose Airbnb for business travel?
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                      • Differentiating from high-end hotels brings more opportunities for apartment hotels
                                        • The facts
                                          • The implications
                                          • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                            • Business travel makes up about 30% of the total travel market
                                              • Japan and the US are fast-growing outbound travel destinations
                                                • Future market to grow at a moderate level
                                                  • Future business travel demand in Mid-West China
                                                    • Business travel outsourcing services not yet widely adopted
                                                      • Airbnb finds partners to dive into business travel market
                                                        • Airlines are offering improved food services to attract business travellers
                                                        • Market Overview

                                                          • Business travellers make up about 30% of total travellers
                                                            • Figure 9: Travel frequency in the last 12 months, by travel types, September 2018
                                                          • Market Factors
                                                            • Slower economic growth will push companies to be more prudent with business travel
                                                              • Domestic travel demand will come from cities in Mid-West China
                                                                • Figure 10: GDP growth by key tier one and tier two cities, 2014-18
                                                              • Industry sectors that are important for targeting business travel
                                                                • Figure 11: Growth rate of number of enterprises in different industries in China, 2014-17
                                                              • Outbound business travel: Japan and the US are fast-growing destinations
                                                                  • Figure 12: Number of business travellers from mainland China to major business travel destinations, 2014-18
                                                              • Key Business Travel Services

                                                                • Outsourced vs non-outsourced business travel
                                                                  • Figure 13: Decision-makers for business trips - I chose it myself within a budget, December 2018
                                                                • Accommodation: mid-scale hotels driving growth
                                                                  • Figure 14: CitiGo Hotel by Huazhu Hotels Group
                                                                • Airlines: market-based air ticket pricing may push up travelling costs
                                                                  • Trains: expanded rail network covers more regions
                                                                    • Figure 15: Number of travellers by transportation type in China, 2016-18
                                                                    • Figure 16: City scales in China
                                                                  • Seamless train connections to airports in major cities
                                                                  • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                    • Airbnb dives into business travel by collaborating with partners
                                                                      • Airlines feature food and drink services to attract business travellers
                                                                        • New service provider for business car rental
                                                                        • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                          • 60% of consumers have taken domestic business trips
                                                                            • Most business travellers decide the business travel services
                                                                              • Mid-scale hotels are the most popular business travel accommodation
                                                                                • Increasing competition between high-end hotels and apartment hotels in future
                                                                                  • Good breakfast quality is attractive to business travellers
                                                                                    • Business travellers prefer comfortable in-flight experiences
                                                                                      • Business travellers are not price sensitive
                                                                                      • Past Travel Experience

                                                                                        • 60% of consumers have taken at least one domestic business trip
                                                                                          • Figure 17: Business travel frequency, December 2018
                                                                                        • Business travel is no longer just a man’s game
                                                                                          • Figure 18: Business travel frequency, by gender, December 2018
                                                                                        • Foreign enterprises still lead in outbound business travel
                                                                                          • Figure 19: Business travel frequency, % any travelled, by company type, December 2018
                                                                                        • Less sophisticated business travellers in lower tier cities
                                                                                          • Figure 20: Business travel frequency, domestic business travel, by city tier, December 2018
                                                                                        • Frequent travellers getting younger
                                                                                          • Figure 21: Business travel frequency – 4 times or more, by generation, December 2018
                                                                                      • Business Travel Decision Makers

                                                                                          • Outsourcing business travel is low
                                                                                            • Figure 22: Business travel decision maker, December 2018
                                                                                          • Lower tier cities may be potential market for B2B air ticket sales
                                                                                            • Figure 23: Business travel decision maker – Non-decision makers, by city tier, December 2018
                                                                                          • Outbound air tickets: more chance to reach the state-owned through B2B channels
                                                                                          • Accommodation Types

                                                                                            • Mid-scale hotels are the most chosen
                                                                                              • Figure 24: Types of accommodation chosen for business travel, December 2018
                                                                                            • Economy hotels still important in lower tier cities
                                                                                              • Figure 25: Types of accommodation chosen for business travel, economy hotel, by city tier, December 2018
                                                                                            • Rising competition between high-end hotels and apartment hotels
                                                                                              • Figure 26: Types of accommodation chosen for business travel, high-end hotels and apartment hotels, by demographic groups, December 2018
                                                                                          • Consideration Factors for Accommodation

                                                                                            • Breakfast quality is a top three factor for business travel accommodation
                                                                                              • Figure 27: Consideration factors when choosing accommodation for business travel, December 2018
                                                                                              • Figure 28: Breakfast campaign of BTG Homeinns Group, 2019
                                                                                            • Online reviews are particularly important for targeting younger business travellers
                                                                                              • Figure 29: Consideration factors when choosing accommodation for business travel – good online reviews, by generation, December 2018
                                                                                            • Post-90s are interested in fancy room design
                                                                                              • Foreign enterprises are less price sensitive
                                                                                                • Figure 30: Consideration factors when choosing accommodation for business travel, large discount, by company type, December 2018
                                                                                              • Business travellers from South China are interested in hotel leisure facilities
                                                                                                • Figure 31: Consideration factors when choosing accommodation for business travel – Various leisure facilities in hotel, by region, December 2018
                                                                                            • Hotels Most Satisfied With

                                                                                              • Business travellers choose from a wide range of accommodation
                                                                                                • Figure 32: Hotels most satisfied with, coded by hotel type, December 2018
                                                                                              • Home Inn received most mentions
                                                                                                • Figure 33: Hotels most satisfied with, word cloud, December 2018
                                                                                              • Jinjiang Inn is preferred by elder business travellers
                                                                                                • Figure 34: Hotels most satisfied with – Jinjiang Inn, by generation, December 2018
                                                                                            • Attractive Features of Business Flights

                                                                                              • In-flight experience holds more weight than flight times and airport location
                                                                                                • Figure 35: Attractive features of business flights, December 2018
                                                                                              • Comfortable seats are much more preferred by employees from privately-owned companies
                                                                                                • Figure 36: Attractive features of business flights, Have comfortable seats, by company type, December 2018
                                                                                            • Meet the Mintropolitans

                                                                                              • More frequent business travellers
                                                                                                • Figure 37: Business travel frequency, domestic and outbound travel, by consumer classification, December 2018
                                                                                              • Biggest gaps in luxury and premium hotels
                                                                                                • Figure 38: Types of accommodation chosen for business travel, by consumer classification, December 2018
                                                                                              • MinTs business travellers also look for leisure facilities
                                                                                                • Figure 39: Consideration factors when choosing accommodation for business travel, selected factors, by consumer classification, December 2018
                                                                                              • Priority boarding is more appealing to MinTs business travellers
                                                                                                • Figure 40: Attractive features of business flights, December 2018
                                                                                            • Appendix – Methodology and Abbreviations

                                                                                              • Methodology
                                                                                                • Abbreviations

                                                                                                Marketing to Business Travellers - China - May 2019

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