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Valuing the small & medium size corporate travel market in Asia Pacific

Hospitality industry leaders in Asia Pacific anticipate a continuation for a demand for business travel despite the current economic climate and see small to medium enterprise (SME) corporate travel as a prevalent factor, expecting increased growth from this sector. To retain corporate travel business, they felt that relationships were still the key as well as maintaining the opportunity for face to face negotiation. These observations were made at a breakout session at a recent roundtable event co-hosted by The Cornell-Nanyang Institute of Hospitality Management (CNI) and the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Asia Pacific chapter in Singapore last week. The roundtable was sponsored by the Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau. At the breakout session were representatives from Mov?npick, Raffles International, Rendezvous Hotels International, and UOB Travel Planners.

Another trend identified in the SME segment was that SME’s are now taking the opportunity to make day trips to short haul city hubs rather than multi-sector trips. Apparently the trend is occurring because it is more economical to make two or three day trips to locations such as Hong Kong or Manila due to the airline sector pricing strategy and the increasing cost of hotel accommodation . To address this, hoteliers feel that there is now a higher demand for 2, 3 to 4 star rated hotels and serviced apartment properties.

Other key trends noted during the session were that the SME sector is increasingly making just in time bookings and has a strong need for connectivity plus access to work applications whilst traveling. The participants felt that technology was influencing behavioral patterns in particular markets and those markets with higher internet penetration provided more opportunities to do business with SME’s. It was observed that SME’s demand a personalized level of service and that seeking out the needs of SME’s is more challenging than other guest segments.

The industry leaders asked students of the 2009 CNI Masters of Management in Hospitality (MMH) program, who were observing the roundtable to research the SME corporate buying process and to assess the value perceptions of SME’s and identify cultural differences across the region in SME travelers.

Vicky Karantzavelou
Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.