DELIVERING A SUCCESSFUL CORPORATE HOTEL PROGRAMME
In the 19 years I’ve worked in business travel, I’ve seen and experienced the time and expense that goes into managing corporate hotel programmes. It’s an enormous undertaking that can quickly feel overwhelming, and at times the resources required can outweigh the potential ROI.
Here are five questions to ask yourself before your next hotel RFP:
- What’s your budget? The number one objective behind implementing a preferred hotel programme is to save money, and the only way to realise those savings is to establish a budget. Consider where savings will be realised. Is the budget company-wide or at a business unit level? What about any relevant value adds, like breakfast, wi-fi or parking? Having a clear, calculated savings target will save you time in the negotiation process.
- What does your data tell you? An in-depth analysis of your data will help you uncover savings opportunities. Find out which hotels and where your travellers are booking, when they’re booking (e.g. seasonality, advanced booking practices) and what is being spent (e.g. average room rate). If you have preferred properties, are they being used? If not, why? If they are, are your travellers booking the negotiated rate? Gathering such details can impact both the negotiation process as well as how you drive compliance.
- What are your travellers’ preferences? Look at what your data tells you about your travellers’ booking behaviour. For example, if you find out your travellers aren’t booking at your preferred properties, is it because they selected a hotel closer to their client site? Are they booking based on their own loyalty programmes? Consider surveying your top travellers to ask about their preferences. This will help you maximise the value your programme delivers to both your travellers and your company’s bottom line.
- Could a third-party programme fill any gaps? In locations where your company may not have significant room night volume, consider what value an out-of-the-box hotel programme can bring. Look at what your TMC has negotiated and weigh that against the potential ROI of your corporate programme. Be sure to calculate the time, effort, and resource you need to source, negotiate, manage, audit and service your own hotel programme. There may be an opportunity to take advantage of a third-party programme for certain markets.
- Are you communicating the value – and often? Your travellers are a click away from booking outside of your programme. They may be selecting a property because it seems cheaper than your preferred hotels, not realising the impact their single-stay saving may have on the annual discounts you’ve worked so hard to negotiate. Ask your TMC to help your travellers understand the value your preferred hotel programme delivers, not to mention the duty of care risk when you don’t know where they’re staying until it’s expensed. Communicating the big picture regularly will help them make better booking decisions.
Here’s to your success!
Director, Global Supplier Relations
Ali manages Radius Travel’s supplier relationships within the EMEA and APAC regions. Her experience in the business travel industry spans 19 years and includes positions in sales, supplier relations, and account management. Ali is based in the United Kingdom.