As we slowly emerge from a COVID-induced hiatus, travellers with itchy feet are looking forward to their long-awaited, eagerly anticipated trips. Now that there’s less reliance on Zoom with more face-to-face business engagements on the cards, coupled with a resurgence in leisure trips, those in the travel and tourism industry can finally rub their hands in glee.
While travellers primarily fall into two groups, business and leisure, the priorities for each of these are not the same. Hospitality industry expert, Director of First Loyalty Plus and seasoned traveller, Rioma Cominelli, highlights five key factors to consider when booking a trip, whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure:
This is usually the only factor that business and leisure travellers will consider in equal measure. Pre-COVID, many businesses may have been less budget-conscious when selecting which class of seat to book on a plane, or which hotel to book, but cutting costs has become essential in a post-pandemic world.
One of the ways that travellers can save money while not compromising on luxuries previously enjoyed, is by joining a loyalty programme. Most hotel groups offer these or consider subscribing to a rewards programme such as First Loyalty Plus, to gain access to a wide range of travel and other related discounts of up to 50% on accommodation, meals and so much more.
When it comes to the timing of the trip, bear in mind that business travel mostly happens on Mondays and Fridays, making these pricey days for flights as the demand is higher. Try, where possible, to book mid-week meetings for cheaper flights. Remember that early morning flights are usually more expensive than an hour or two later, so it sometimes pays to fly the night before your meetings/conference, which will also allow for any travel delays.
Leisure travel is a lot more likely to take place on the weekend, but flights on Fridays and Saturdays are generally more expensive, so think about flying on a Thursday instead. Remember that many hotels and resorts offer amazing mid-week deals for leisure travellers. In fact, sister company First Group, offers 25% off mid-week accommodation and to sweeten the deal, if you are a First Loyalty Plus Member, you instantly get 30% off.
Location! Location! For business travellers, this is the number one factor. It’s no good securing a meeting to close the deal of a lifetime, if you don’t make the meeting on time (or at all). So, make sure that you stay close to wherever your meetings/conferences are to minimise the chance of traffic disrupting your schedule.
Leisure travellers aren’t under the same time pressures, so go where your heart takes you – whether it’s city or sea, berg or bush! Just make sure that where ever you are, you are able to sit back, relax and enjoy a good view and some much-needed time out.
If you are travelling for business, a couple of non-negotiable amenities that should be on your checklist are free, fast, stable WIFI, an iron and an ironing board, a desk/place to work from (with ample plug points!), and at least one meal included!
To optimise a leisure traveller’s downtime and to maximise value for money, one should opt for a hotel or resort with amenities that will keep you and your family occupied and entertained without having to break the bank. Non-negotiable amenities should include: a swimming pool, play area for kids, free, fast, stable WIFI and rooms with fridges and microwaves for the days you don’t feel like dining out!
Depending on the length of their stay, some business travellers may prefer to rely on a car-hailing service (like Uber) if available, rather than hiring a car to get around. But leisure travellers would usually want unrestricted access to a vehicle and may be staying in remote areas in which Uber is not an option. This makes a rental car more practical. Some loyalty programmes, like First Loyalty Plus, offer generous discounts on car rentals.
“Taking all these factors into account, savvy travellers should consider subscribing to a loyalty programme that offers massive discounts on flights, accommodation and car hire, among other things. First Loyalty Plus is one such programme, so sign up personally if you’re travelling for leisure, or get your company to sign up for business travel, to start reaping huge savings,” Rioma concludes.