BTA Accommodation Conference 2023: Situ’s Hannah Trigg

Sandra Oberg

Industry News, Situ News, Travel News

Hannah Trigg, Senior Account Manager at Situ, kicked off 2023 by attending as one of the panellists at the BTA (Business Travel Association) Accommodation Conference in London for an insightful discussion about the accommodation sector.

Here’s a recap of some interesting topics that were discussed.

Hannah Trigg at Situ as one of the panellists at the BTA Accommodation Conference in London.

Business travellers want more flexibility

One of the most striking discussion points was the appetite in business travellers for flexible cancellation policies. Uncertainties in travel due to frequent train/ flight strikes and disruption, as well as Covid and other factors, have all created this desire for flexibility. The current ideal is a policy that allows for cancellation 24 hours prior to stay.

Although rail companies now have to give 14 days’ notice of any strikes, which makes it easier to amend travel dates, the demand for more flexible arrangements looks here to stay. Companies across the serviced apartment industry can see that bookers are now booking these flexible options, even if prices are higher.

Retaining the business traveller is now paramount. One of the panellists observed that there is significant pressure to level out rates between business and leisure travellers. Rate integrity is now necessary to avoid a split between business friendly hotels and leisure hotels, a situation which has happened in the past.

BTA Accommodation Conference 2023

Service issues a significant challenge

Discussion also centred on just how many companies are facing service issues post-pandemic. This is not only within the UK. Travel industries across Europe are struggling too, and businesses need to find ways to get more people into the industry.

Panellists noted that the travel industry could demonstrate how much it has to offer as a career. A good strategy might be to reach out to people at an earlier age while they are still exploring their career options. They could also be recruited at university/college/ BTEC level; or the industry could offer apprenticeships with training available on site.

There is also a pool of people coming back into the travel industry after having time off for various reasons, such as caring for children or elderly parents. Panellists pointed out that this is a great opportunity for the industry to welcome people who are skilled in service, going above and beyond for guests.

Putting sustainability into action

Panellists agreed that increasingly, serviced apartment agents and suppliers are working together to go green. There is a widespread commitment to reducing carbon emissions. It is now crucial that agents and suppliers know CO2 emission data in order to track carbon footprints within their businesses, and to ensure that corporate travel is as sustainable as possible. It was also noted that awareness around sustainability must continue to be built, and that the buildings provided are green.

Discussion also touched on the issue of sustainability in large hotel chains where, for example, guest towels are replaced each day. This is not a necessity and not sustainable. Some cleaning staff believe that they can’t maintain the hotel’s ratings if they don’t replace the towels each day, which is not the case.

The industry needs to educate both travellers and colleagues in sustainability,  and must make sure that plans are put into action. 

The conference recognised that more serviced apartment agents and suppliers are now working more closely together to go greener – and Situ’s ESG approach was highlighted.

Altogether, the BTA Accommodation Conference 2023 provided thought-provoking ideas and interesting discussion, delving into important and timely topics in the accommodation sector.

BTA Accommodation Conference 2023