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BW's "Back to Business Travel Season" Survey

9/14/2011

BEST WESTERN’S “BACK TO BUSINESS TRAVEL SEASON” SURVEY REVEALS THAT HALF OF ALL BUSINESS TRAVELERS USE A CAR MOST OFTEN WHEN TRAVELING FOR BUSINESS
Survey: 73 percent of business travelers expect to travel the same amount or more this fall compared to fall 2010

PHOENIX (Sept. 14, 2011) – Seventeen percent of business travelers plan to travel more for business this fall compared to the fall of 2010 and more than half (56%) expect to travel the same amount for business this fall compared to last year, according to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Best Western International, Inc. (www.bestwestern.com) this month among over 2,000 U.S. adults and released today.

Best Western’s “Back to Business Travel Season” survey also found 51 percent of business travelers most often use a car most often when travelling for business, followed by 36 percent who most often use a plane.

The survey looked at fall business travel trends and amenities that are important to business travelers. According to survey findings, travelers don’t want to be “nickel and dimed” when on the road, as 80 percent of business travelers expect high-speed Internet to be included in their hotel’s advertised room rate.

“Despite uncertainly on Wall Street, we expect to see a growing number of business travelers back on the road this fall as advance bookings at our hotels are up eight percent this fall over last,” said Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Best Western International. “Guests and business travelers are growing tired of surprises at check out, and we’re seeing that pricing transparency is growing in importance. All of our properties offer free high-speed Internet as we know that our loyal business guests appreciate it and rightfully so, have come to expect it.”

Additional highlights from Best Western’s “Back to Business Travel Season” survey, conducted September 7 through 9, 2011 among 2,038 adults aged 18 and older, include:

• Business travelers expect value. Nearly 40 percent of business travelers say a travel pet peeve is paying for amenities such as breakfast or parking (38 percent) that they expect to be included in the room rate. When it comes to being charged for amenities, 74 percent of business travelers expect parking to be included in a hotel’s advertised room rate and 65 percent expect breakfast to be included.

• Loyalty programs pay for business travelers. Of those business travelers that belong to loyalty programs, 38 percent use hotel-based loyalty programs (i.e., earning points when staying at a specific hotel chain) most often while 34 percent use airline-based programs (i.e., earn miles when flying with a specific airline) most often. Twelve percent of business travelers use a travel branded credit card (i.e., a credit card that, when used, earns miles or points when you fly with a specific airline or stay at specific hotel chain) most often.

• Free hotel room nights are valuable to business travelers. Of loyalty program members, 66 percent of business travelers would like to redeem their loyalty points for free nights at a hotel. Thirty eight percent said they would like to redeem points for retail and restaurant gift cards and 13 percent would redeem points for charitable donations.

• Business travelers are savvy with loyalty programs. Nearly half of business travelers who belong to a travel loyalty program (48 percent) consider themselves an “intermediate” or “savvy” loyalty program user in that they check their points balance often, redeem points and tend to use multiple programs at once.

• Airport woes continue to peeve business travelers. Flight delays and long security lines at the airport are pet peeves amongst 39 and 32 percent of business travelers, respectively. Other travel pet peeves include lack of quality sleep (29 percent) and lack of healthy food options (29 percent).

This “Back to Business Travel Season,” which unofficially begins after the Labor Day holiday weekend, business travelers can earn double points with Best Western Rewards® (www.bestwesternrewards.com) during the chain’s Fall Promotion. Guests who stay two separate times at any Best Western hotel worldwide will earn double rewards on their second stay. Points can be redeemed for global free room nights with no blackout dates. For more information and to register for the Fall Promotion, visit www.bestwestern.com/fall .

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Best Western International from September 7-9, 2011 among 2,038 adults ages 18 and older, among which 780 say they travel for business (“business travelers”). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Meghan Lee at Meghan@allisonpr.com.

ABOUT BEST WESTERN INTERNATIONAL, INC.
Best Western International, Inc. is THE WORLD’S BIGGEST HOTEL FAMILYSM, providing marketing, reservations and operational support to over 4,000* BEST WESTERN®, BEST WESTERN PLUS® and BEST WESTERN PREMIER® hotels in 90* countries and territories worldwide. Each Best Western-branded hotel is independently owned and operated. Now celebrating 65 years of hospitality, Best Western has grown into an iconic brand that hosts hundreds of thousands each night. Equally committed to the business and leisure traveler, Best Western has embarked on a mission to lead the hotel industry in customer care. World Vision is the charity of choice for Best Western in building the world's biggest family, with our hotels and staff sponsoring children in need around the globe. Our partnerships with AAA/CAA, Michael Waltrip Racing™ and Harley-Davidson® help guests make the most of every trip. For the fastest way to a free night globally, join Best Western Rewards®. For more information or to make a reservation, please visit www.bestwestern.com.

*Numbers are approximate and can fluctuate.

ABOUT HARRIS INTERACTIVE
Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com .