Four Points by Sheraton Survey Reveals Mobile Device Habits of Business Travellers Worldwide

2012-08-20
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  • Four Points When today’s road warriors hit the trail, they are armed with three or four mobile devices to help them stay connected to office and home. They are more inclined to carry a tablet than a laptop. And, when these business travellers communicate with home from their hotel room, they are most likely do so with a video chat.


    When today’s road warriors hit the trail, they are armed with three or four mobile devices to help them stay connected to office and home. They are more inclined to carry a tablet than a laptop. And, when these business travellers communicate with home from their hotel room, they are most likely do so with a video chat.

    These are among the results of a hotel business and technology study commissioned by Four Points by Sheraton Hotels, a Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (HOT) brand. The survey polled a total of 6,000 business travellers globally – 1,000 each from the United Kingdom, Germany, United States, China, India and Brazil. Four Points, with the second largest brand pipeline in the Starwood portfolio, is growing rapidly across nearly 30 countries and carefully monitors the needs and habits of business travellers as part of its commitment to remain “best for business”.

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    Four Points is perfectly positioned to help keep business travellers connected, offering fast, complimentary WiFi in public spaces at all of its hotels around the world. Complimentary in-room Internet access is also provided across the entire North American division.

    Brian McGuinness, Starwood’s Senior Vice President, Specialty Select Brands, commented, “The Four Points study contains compelling results, including evidence that trends such as staying in touch with family via video chat – preferred even over email, text and phone – are accelerating.”
“While hotel business centres remain important,” McGuinness continued, “the study affirms that the Four Points brand is meeting a continued need by offering complimentary WiFi or in-room Internet access, and by continuing to expand bandwidth throughout the portfolio. We know what our business travellers want and we don’t nickel and dime them – we just deliver it.” Among the key findings:

    How business travellers connect

    They travel with 3-4 mobile devices. The majority (55%) of respondents bring three or four devices with them on the road. This is true across all nationalities. Brazilian respondents were more likely than others to juggle five or more devices while traveling (27%), while Germans were the least device-dependent, with 33% reporting they travel with only one or two.

    Smartphones are their #1 device. What three or four devices are respondents likely to bring? Smartphones are tops (74%), followed by tablets (65%), music players (43%) and laptops (32%).

    Business travellers are glued to their smartphones. After landing, the majority (54%) turn on their smartphone while the plane is still taxiing on the tarmac, while 12% -- ahem -- never turn it off in the first place. The remaining respondents wait until they’re in the terminal or settle into their taxi/car (17% each).
Checking their smartphone is also the first thing respondents do when they wake up in their hotel (36%). Only 19% turn on the TV first and 18% take a shower. Checking Facebook (12%) ranks fourth, while calling home has a distant fifth (7%).

    Tablets beat laptops. Nearly seven in 10 respondents (68%) use their tablet more often than their laptop, and accordingly a similar number (69%), if told they could take only one of the two on the road, would choose to travel with their tablet. In Europe, UK (67%) and German (70%) respondents prefer their tablets to a computer.

    Why business travellers connect

    To keep up with email. For most respondents, the primary purpose of travelling with mobile devices is to keep up with email on the road (90%). This is followed by internet browsing and social networking (75%), and maintaining communication with the office (73%). However, the majority of respondents from the UK (89%) use their mobile devices for web browsing and social networking. Least popular: reading a book (43%).

    To stay abreast of the news. Overall, respondents are likely to subscribe to 4-7 RSS news feeds (46%), although respondents from India are more likely to subscribe to only 1-3 (55%). Reuters is by far the most popular news feed at 21%, followed by the BBC (15%) and The New York Times (7%).

    To make their lives easier. More than 60% of total respondents believe that travelling with technology makes their lives significantly easier and more convenient. This is even higher in the UK (73%). However, the majority of German respondents report their lives are only somewhat eased by technology (53%), and 14% of Germans believe it makes life harder.

    Business travellers’ communicating style

    They :) and LOL! Most respondents report they use emoticons (72%) and shorthand (77%) in their daily texts and emails. They do consider shorthand inappropriate when applying for a job (84%), sending condolences (67%) or emailing their boss (66%), but less so when emailing their mother-in-law (38%). In the UK, emoticons and shorthand are favoured.

    For friends and family, nothing beats face time. To communicate with family, friends and loved ones back home, the majority of business travellers prefer to video chat/conference (67%) versus sending an email or picking up the phone (47% each). Instant messaging or texting is the least popular means (37%). Almost eight in 10 get dressed, do their hair and make-up before a video chat/conference. In Europe, German travellers are the most inclined to primp before a video chat (83%) while UK travellers are less likely to do so (78%).
Even more interesting, 60% of German respondents would prefer to go on a first date over a video conference than go on an actual blind date.

    Methodology

    This study is based on a survey conducted by STUDYLOGIC LLC via telephone of 6,000 business men and businesswomen across the globe who travel away from home for business at least once a year. There were 1,000 respondents from each of the following six countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, China, India and Brazil. Interviews were conducted between March 1st and March 31st, 2012 and the survey contains a margin error in the totals of +/-3%.

    About Four Points by Sheraton

    Great Hotels. Great Rates: With over 160 Four Points by Sheraton hotels in nearly 30 countries, travellers can find the timeless style and comfort they’re looking for with genuine service and everything that matters most, all around the world. From Santiago to Shanghai and Milan to Milwaukee, Four Points hotels can be found in big urban centres, by the airport, near the beach, and in the suburbs. A recent $1 billion invested in renovations, conversions, and new-build hotels has made the brand stronger than ever.

    Four Points by Sheraton, like all brands within Starwood’s portfolio, is proud to offer the Starwood Preferred Guest® program, which offers a breakthrough policy of no blackout dates on Free Night Awards. To learn more, visit www.spg.com.


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