Corporate Hotel Policies As They Are Now …
“Every other year I take a deep review of my hotel program. I look at where we’ve got volume and where we might need new discounts. I think about which discounts are performing well. I benchmark a little bit. I do my bidding, get it all in place, do an audit to see if it’s loaded correctly, and then I forget about it for the rest of the year.”
Does this sound like how your company manages its hotel program or policies?
If so, you might be missing out.
Hotel chains don’t just update their pricing only once a year – rates simply aren’t that stable. Availability can also fluctuate, deals can be renegotiated, discounts can be applied. In today’s world of technology, data, and benchmarking, the process of contracting and sourcing hotels for your business can be far more dynamic than ever before.
Corporate Hotel Policies As They Can Be
Benchmarking data alone can transform your contracts. Cornerstone’s Tom Ruesink sat down to discuss this process with TRIPBAM’s founder and CEO Steve Reynolds. Steve has been helping clients benchmark their hotel sourcing for years and gives the following as an example:
“Let’s consider a client-specific perspective where we can tell that they’ve got a rate of $189 at one hotel chain. According to our benchmarking, everyone else has a rate of $169 at that hotel chain even though this client actually has more volume going into that property and into this market than the other companies of similar size.
So this client should have a better deal, right? It’s those kinds of insights, I think, that really helped get that incremental value from a hotel program and say, ‘look, you’ve got $189, everybody else is $169. Based on your volume, you should be $149. Let’s go get that deal right now.”
Dynamic Hotel Sourcing also doesn’t just favor buyers. The hotels are always looking for ways to entice more business. If a more competitive rate means that your company uses them more often, or books extra rooms per trip because they can budget for more attendees, then everyone wins.
Steve explained further:
“So that was kind of the big surprise — the acceptance, the adoption [of the hotels]. I think the industry is hungry for something new and different. The properties have been extremely receptive to it. The average discount we’re getting is around eight percent on a dynamic deal. The equivalent on a static as compared to what the chains have been offering, which is around a five to six percent discount. So the properties are all on board … Some chains are on board wanting to work with us providing APIs so that we can feed it directly in the system.”
End-to-end automation, of course, is the end goal. See the whole interview here.
Automating Your Travel Systems
While the COVID pandemic has certainly put a damper on hotel stays in general – and certainly diminished the priority with which corporations may be reviewing their hotel policies – now might be the best time to take some action.
Making changes to your company’s processes is always going to involve some growing pains, but COVID really has given us the opportunity to take a step back and reevaluate how things are done. When your employees (or your clients’ employees) start to travel again and book hotels, you’ll want the best deals. And perhaps more than that, you’ll want to show that you’ve come out of the pandemic stronger than ever. Incorporating automation is a perfect way to solve both of these needs.