Personalized Service Improving at Hotels

New York -- Hotels are providing guests with better personalized service, according to a survey of business travelers released today by Accenture, the global management consulting firm.

Nearly one-third of the more than 1,100 U.S. business travelers surveyed said that hotels recognize them as frequent customers and tailor reservations to fit their preferences, such as room location or pillow type. This is a significant improvement from last fall's business travel survey, when fewer than one in five respondents said they were recognized as frequent guests and received customized service.

"Hotels know they must meet the needs of business travelers - their most profitable group of customers - and these results reflect the technology and process investments hotels have made during the past few years," said Paul Chiu, managing partner of Accenture's Transportation & Travel Services practice. "While there has been progress, the results also show continued opportunity for significant improvement."

The latest survey also found that 40 percent of respondents have not redeemed any points from airline reward programs and 56 percent have not redeemed any hotel reward program points. Half of those surveyed have not used hotel rewards because too many points are required. For airline travel, 42 percent of respondents said they have not redeemed any miles because of restrictive blackout dates.

Business travelers continue to expand their use of the Internet to book hotel reservations. Eighty-three percent of respondents said they used the Internet to book a hotel room, up from 76 percent in the previous survey.

"As use of the Internet becomes second nature for travelers, they will expect capabilities well beyond simple rate search and reservations, " said Chiu. "These include features such as electronic folio access, virtual concierge, and integrated trip planning."

The web-based survey of business travelers who traveled more than 300 miles in the last six months was conducted last month.