July 8, 2021 at 12:01 am ET
As employers bring staff back to offices and travel demand begins to ramp back up this summer, travel and hospitality brands have steadied their gaze on the actions of one key group: business travelers.
Trust looks different for this group, which makes up a reported 10 percent of airline travelers but up to 75 percent of its revenue. Using data from Morning Consult’s Most Trusted Brands 2021: Travel and Hospitality report, we unpack how to build trust with business travelers, whose prolonged absence from the travel space could reshape the entire industry.
1. Business travel is ramping back up, but major warning signs remain for the industry.
Sixty-six percent of business travelers have already taken at least one business trip in the past year, and majorities say they’ve planned trips for this summer (58 percent) and fall or winter (62 percent).
Yes, but: One-third of business travelers haven’t traveled for business at all in the last year, and roughly as many say they’re not planning work travel for the rest of the year. And most business travelers who say they’re traveling are only doing it a few times in 2021.
2. Trust is more important for business travelers.
More than 9 in 10 business travelers said trust was at least a minor factor when considering which travel or hospitality brand to use, about 10 points higher than what the general public says. Travel brands need to dust off the cobwebs of 2020 and start focusing on how to regain the trust of business travelers. With less traveling for business, trust will be critical to earning the loyalty of this coveted, but perhaps shrinking, market.
3. 61% of business travelers will go out of their way to buy from a brand they trust.
That’s 17 points higher than what the average American said, and a reminder for why this market is so important for airlines, hotels, and others in the travel space.
4. Legacy and sustainability build trust with business travelers.
Top trust builders look fairly similar to that of the population overall: Being reliable, having good customer service and maintaining a good safety record. But there are some trust builders that business travelers hold up as more important compared to the rest of the public.
Business travelers say that brands that have been around for a long time, have shown a commitment to sustainability and have earned the recommendation of a trusted individual are key trust drivers more than the average American does.
5. Business travelers are more flexible with trusted brands.
Earning the trust of a business traveler means getting more revenue, more personal data and long-term loyalty.
Eighty percent of business travelers said they’ll pay more for brands they trust, and 75 percent said they’ll engage with them on social media — figures with a double-digit difference compared to the attitudes of all U.S. adults.
6. Business travelers’ Most Trusted Brands look different.
Business travelers overall have higher net trust in travel and hospitality brands when compared to that of the country overall, and they tend to trust airlines at a higher rate as well.
Just one airline made the general public’s top 10 Most Trusted Travel and Hospitality brands in 2021, while three made the top five for business travelers: American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines.