July 22 2009 by Chris McGinnis
Over the last few months, I've been working with Best Western on a project aimed at identifying trends, opinions and habits among its very best customers.
We wrangled this group together by emailing invitations to Best Western Rewards members who have spent more than 250 nights with the chain in the last five years. Nearly 400 members agreed to participate in monthly surveys and other forms of outreach and research.
We just completed our first survey which illustrates just who Best Western's top customers really are. To me, this group represents the core of the North American business traveler population-- entrepreneurs or those employed by small- or medium-sized companies.... out there on the road, in their cars in small towns and rural areas, probably eating alone and spending nights in roadside hotels. They always keep a keen eye on saving money, getting the job done and then getting home.
Who are Best Westerns best customers? Here are some top-line survey results:
Bargain Seekers: Three-quarters of them spend less than $100 per night, on average, at hotels. Most of them spend between $75 and $100. (To me, this means they seek out bargains wherever they can, given the average North American hotel rate is now about $100.)
Real Road Warriors: Sixty three percent say that less than 10 percent of their business trips over the last year involved air travel. (That should come as a big surprise to folks who think business travelers are always on planes.)
Hotel Junkies: Forty four percent spend between 11 and 20 nights at hotels each month. A whopping 29 percent sleep on a hotel pillow between 21 and 31 nights per month. (And 62 percent choose Best Western 75 to 100 percent of the time, bless 'em!)
Small is Good: Half of this group is employed by small/medium-sized businesses (or are self-employed). Forty four percent are from small- or medium-sized towns or cities. And what's the typical destination of their trips? You guessed it: 62 percent say they travel to mostly small/medium sized towns or rural areas.