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Global media makes business
travellers easy to target
Away from home, the media habits of business travellers change and they become
voracious users of TV, internet and mobile, says Jeremy Nye, BBC Global News
Morning radio shows to accompany
atmosphere of the exotic about
Travel changes media habits
breakfast; newspapers and outdoor on the
overseas business travel. The commute; lunchtime surfing online; then
chance to jet off, at someone else’s ex-
Proportion of news moments by
crashing in front of the TV in the evening
pense, to a far-flung part of the world and media channel when at home might represent a typical day’s exposure.
carry out some kind of mission has a whiff
The media channels consumed at these
of spies and Secret Service about it. Even if points would vary little, in spite of the
that whiff is dispelled once you’re grind-
choice available. Perhaps because time is
ing through a Powerpoint presentation on pressured and attention stretched across
air conditioning systems for some bored
work, shopping, household admin, family
finance executives in Nebraska. and friends, time pressures tend to make
In a way, travelling on business is rather
convenience the key factor in media choic-
like being in a club. The members occas-
es on home ground. New channels will
ionally acknowledge one another with enter the mix relatively rarely, and the core
knowing glances, and there are symbols of
remains fundamentally unchanged.
membership, such as the heavily stickered T
Mobile or
All of this alters as soon as the traveller
passport, the weathered laptop case and
Conversation BlackBerry
departs on a business trip. From the
the involuntary eyelid twitches. And like moment they cross the threshold from
many clubs, little is known about its mem-
Proportion of news moments by
media channel when in hotel room
home to the outside world, travellers enter
bers’ habits. The need states and media a new state of existence. With the severing
consumption of business travellers is
of connections to their day-to-day routines
shrouded in mystery. In the UK alone, and relationships, an entire section of
these wanderers represent around 2.6 mil- their minds is unburdened, leaving space
lion people every year – that’s 25% of that the traveller needs to fill. Emotionally,
upscale Britons (source: EMS Winter 2008
this first step on the journey is a crucial
Survey). So, it’s a mystery that advertisers period, and media use immediately forms
would do well to unravel. Especially given
3% 2%
4% part of the security blanket that business
that, despite the recession, environmental travellers drape around their shoulders.
concerns and the charms of video-confer- Leaving the comfort of the familiar cre-
encing, overseas travel is increasing.
ates a degree of vulnerability. Shorn of con-
Mobile or
Conversation BlackBerry
nections to friends, family and colleagues,
UK travellers’ habits
Source: BBC/Mesh Planning
travellers begin to seek comfort and con-
As an international media organisation, trol, and media takes on a greater impor-
we wanted to shed some light on this tance. The traveller is immediately more
important section of our audience, so BBC We have often researched travellers, receptive to information, with a height-
World News and enlisted re- but never during their actual journeys. ened interest in all media. At this point,
search company Mesh Planning to carry Gaining responses in real time provided mobile internet devices begin to feature
out an in-depth study of UK travellers’ insights that would not have been avail- more heavily in their routines, in marked
media habits when away from home. The able from a standard recall survey, and contrast to home. This is the period at
survey was carried out live, following trav- these more illuminating responses justi- which travellers have begun to surrender
ellers as they took their various journeys, fied the additional effort. control. They have checked their luggage
and took in a combination of qualitative The approach yielded some intriguing and are now at the mercy of boarding
and quantitative techniques. results and a vivid picture of the group’s announcements and air traffic control.
The sample of 100 frequent flyers in- habits. We discovered some quite univer- Often, even their accommodation will
cluded 30% travelling outside the EU, and sal behaviour patterns and idiosyncrasies. have been booked for them by an
the group was connected to us for a full We also found that travellers entered a assistant, so the only way to regain some
week of travel. Subjects sent us text up- mindset that was far more open and flex- degree of authority over their situation is
dates each time they consumed some ible than the one in which they might be by accessing media channels for news
form of news, detailing the medium, found at home. and information.
(including word-of-mouth), the media The key to understanding the media Mobile technology becomes an ideal
owner, their level of attention and feelings habits of travellers abroad lies, first and filler during such periods of downtime,
of positivity from the experience. This was foremost, with their behaviour patterns at whether stuck at the airport, sitting in the
followed up with 20 interviews to dig out home. Home life for the business traveller back of a cab or waiting for the hotel tran-
some deeper insights. means routines that are largely ingrained. sit bus; handheld devices provide access
38 Admap • December 2009 © Warc 2009
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