Shatter traditional approaches, save beyond sourcing and drive adoption. That’s the plan behind Stay by BCD TravelTM , the travel management company’s recently launched offering designed to help clients realize bigger hotels savings in their managed travel programs. April Bridgeman, recently appointed senior vice president of BCD’s new global Hotel Solutions division, spoke with Business Travel News about the Stay by BCD Travel strategy.
Savings beyond sourcing
Stay by BCD Travel encourages clients to go beyond sourcing to achieve their program savings goals. Why? Because companies can get more value than offered by traditional sourcing alone. “There have been decreasing incremental returns for years around sourcing,” said Bridgeman, who is also managing director of Advito consultancy group. “They’re negotiating rates and markets where they just don’t have enough spend or leverage to achieve a competitive rate. Clients end up sending travelers to hotels that are not really giving them anything in return. And that can have all sorts of unintended consequences.”
BCD Travel’s approach? Source in markets only where there’s true volume leverage. Diversify the rate types negotiated. And incorporate other spend management strategies, e.g.:
- Managing rate availability and holding suppliers accountable for making those rates available
- Price assurance
- Applying market-level rate targets instead of rate caps
- Implementing price assurance technology
- Increasing content, so travelers see not just traditional GDS content but also HBA and OTA content for a broader range of independent hotels and rate structures
More savings with market rate targets
“For one client, we implemented market rate targets,” Bridgeman said. “This client saved more than double in the markets where there was no preferred hotel or no rate target tied to a preferred rate. She saved 4.9 percent just from manipulating rate caps and turning them into rate targets. She saved only 1.9 percent in preferred markets with the target at the top, the negotiated rate. It can be a very effective strategy.”
Increased program adoption
Program adoption is the other primary focus for Stay by BCD Travel. It prevents travelers from moving to other hotel shopping platforms. Adoption starts with increasing traveler confidence in content they see in their shopping and booking experience. The order and relevancy of properties and rates displayed in the online booking tool can encourage or discourage traveler use of other platforms. Digital marketing campaigns let travelers know the strategy their company has taken and what’s in it for them. That’s another confident booster. Enhanced experiences, like virtual payment options and digital invoice management, help ease friction in the payment and expense process and can easily help lift program adoption by 20 to 40 points.
“There’s no reason for your traveler to book outside the program and all sorts of reasons to book inside the program,” Bridgeman said.