23 February, 2010

Business Traveller has different needs

An increase in business travellers last November was a bright spot in an otherwise negative time for tourism.

According to the latest figures from Central Bank, tourism earnings dropped 17 percent ($4.2 million) to $21.3 million in November last year.

Earnings were lower by 16 per cent on earnings in November of 2008, Central Bank said.

Amidst the negative trends in November last year, however, was a $1.3 million increase to $3.2 million in proceeds from business travellers “which reflected increased arrivals and a seasonal 37 per cent expansion in average spending,” said the bank.

Le Alaimoana Hotel specialises in hosting business travellers.

“What’s really important to them is the cleanliness, the conveniences like the internet … quality meals and things like that,” said managing director, Mara Coffin Hunter.

Business travellers have a slightly different set of needs to the holidaymakers who want to swim, stay out late and entertainment generally, said Ms Hunter.

Internet link is critical to the business traveller, it doesn’t matter to the holidaymaker so much, she said.

“They come for a specific purpose. They don’t have that much time for socialising.”
They want quiet.  They don’t want to experience Samoa culturally, they’re here to work.”

They might seek the cultural experience in the weekend in their spare time.

For a small property like theirs, it’s important to specialise, she said.  “For a smaller property you have to really understand who your customer is, and what’s important to them.

“You can’t afford to try to be everything to everybody.”  It’s a matter of maximizing your capabilities, said Ms Hunter.

“We are close to Apia. I’m very happy with the way things are going in the sense that I didn’t expect much in the first year-two years … the business is going reasonably well.  And we have repeat customers.”

SOURCE: Samoa Observer