Technology Takes off with the Canadian Business Traveller

By Dave Pierzchala

Technology Takes off with the Canadian Business Traveller

Every year, Ipsos lifts off with a comprehensive study of Canada's frequent business travellers. Now in its twentieth year, the 2012 edition of the Canadian Business Travel Study revealed some interesting findings that show Canada's business travellers are mobile and connected - and that includes their technology.

Let's first define and profile the frequent business traveller. For this purpose, all respondents to the study have taken six or more round trip flights for business purposes in the past 12 months. Overwhelmingly, they are male - 76% compared to 24% female. And they are high income earners, with close to two-thirds (63%) reporting personal incomes in excess of $100,000.

In a 12 month period, these frequent business travellers will average 17.4 round trips by air and spend 45.5 nights in a hotel. Their top destinations by air travel are within Canada (83%) with flights to the United States coming second (64%).

But what's as interesting as where they are going, how they are getting there and where they are staying is what they are bringing with them.

Indeed, in the assortment of contracts, toothbrushes, business cards, passports, and to-do lists that get stuffed into an overnight bag, many of Canada's top business travellers are finding room for devices that keep them inline, online and connected.

In our 2012 study, we discovered that Canada's business traveller packs along a number of electronic devices. The most common devices are as follows:

  • 90% of respondents report bringing a laptop or notebook computer
  • 89% bring along some form of smartphone device
  • 60% bring a cell phone
  • 44% bring a tablet

With the creation and growth of the market in recent years, 2012 was the first time we asked about tablet usage. We were somewhat surprised to learn that 44% of frequent business travellers in Canada bring along a tablet device on their business travels. Clearly, this segment of the population is well ahead of the market norm in Canada. In another Ipsos study - Mobil-ology, a study of smartphone, tablet and e-reader device usage across Canada - tablet penetration was measured at 15% of the general population in August 2012.1

Of course, we live in a multi-screen universe, and so do Canada's frequent business travellers. When we ask them how many devices they take with them on their business travels, only 5% say they pack one device. In fact, these road-warriors carry-on an average of three devices when they hit the trail for business. Breaking it down further, we find:

  • 24% report travelling with two devices
  • 35% report travelling with three devices
  • 36% report travelling with four or more devices

And when they pack three, four, or more devices with them, it's most likely a combination of laptop, one or two different phones, and then a tablet. If they bring any more than that, it would most likely be an e-reader. Also, a majority (52%) will bring along a smartphone and a regular cell phone, and four in ten (40%) will take both a Tablet and Smartphone.

Clearly, Canada's business traveller cannot afford the luxury of being out-of-touch when they are away from the office!

So what does that mean for you as a marketer trying to reach this segment? Mobile is certainly hot with this segment and that means mobile marketing is a hot way to reach them. Whether for travel, accommodation, dining or amusement purposes, your goal is to reach them and get them to place your brand top of mind. Opening up the channels to make it more convenient for them to access, learn about and use your product or service will give you an advantage in reaching this busy, sophisticated and lucrative travel segment. From mobile websites, apps, or special mobile device advertising and offers, reaching this segment comes with new challenges and opportunities in an increasingly mobile world.

Findings in this article are based off the 2012 edition of the Canadian Business Travel Study. Now in its twentieth edition, all data collected for this study were collected via an online methodology. All samples from the study came from Ipsos Reid's Canadian Household Panel. Study data was weighted to be representative of Canadian business travel volume using Statistics Canada data. All respondents to the study have taken 6 or more round trip flights for business in the past 12 months. The study is based on 1,291 responses.

1 Ipsos Mobil-ology Wave 4 - Fall 2012

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