June 18 2010 by Chris McGinnis
We've just completed another survey of the Best Western Diamond 100 advisory board (or The BWD100) regarding their thoughts and plans for summer travel this year.
When the super-frequent travelers in this group talk, Best Western listens closely-- it's made up of nearly 400 Best Western Rewards member who have spent more than 250 nights with the chain in the last five years.
Here's what they have on tap for this summer:
- The decline in business travel over the last two years has definitely hit bottom with this group: 82 percent say they plan to take as many or more business trips this summer as they did last summer. However, we're not out of the woods yet. Several members report that the economy is still a drag on their normal business travel routines. "The economy is still down, and that affects the window treatment business. With that in mind, I'm actually finding myself out on the road more, trying to make a difference," wrote one member. Another added, "My company is still not running at full capacity and that fact determines my level of travel." But speaking for the majority, one member said, "Business has finally picked up, and thus more travel is needed."
- Plans for leisure travel are up over last year, but it's recovering at a slower rate than business travel with 77 percent stating they plan as many or more vacation trips this summer compared to last. After a year of cut backs and cabin fever, members are enthusiastically looking forward to summer trips. "Our Corvette Club is planning a nine-day Napa Valley trip which has us staying at nine different Best Western hotels," wrote one member. Another said, "I did not travel much for leisure last year at all, so it will be easy to do more this summer." While most said it's unlikely they'll combine business and vacation trips this year, one member said, "I've got one business trip to Alaska this summer and I'm bringing along my son and grandson for some salmon fishing!"
- Most BWD100 (54%) members generally have positive feelings about business travel during the summer months for a variety of reasons, with many saying better weather makes their trips easier. Those who are less enthusiastic about summer business travel mention higher prices, more road traffic and crowded hotels, airports and airplanes.