How to mitigate rogue traveler risks

So, rogue hotel bookings sneaked up on you, and now you have a leak in your program. Whether it’s a drip or a gusher, your hotel program is at risk of losing volume and negotiating leverage, traveler influence, duty of care compliance, control over the traveler experience and visibility into on-the-road spending.

How can you repair the leak before it causes extreme damage—and prevent another leak from developing? Advito hotel expert Marwan Batrouni, senior director and practice area leader the business travel consultancy, advises you to rethink your hotel program. What worked in the past isn’t working anymore. To stop hotel leakage, you need new approaches, including:

  • Smart sourcing
  • Dynamic program management
  • Strategic content aggregation
  • User-friendly technology tools
  • Updated traveler safety strategies
  • Traveler engagement

Batrouni offers a checklist of strategies for mitigating the risks of rogue hotel bookings—and bringing travelers back into your hotel program:

Source smartly. Sourcing hotel content (properties and rates) is the foundation of your program. Partner with a professional to source hotels based on your program data from travel management companies, suppliers, credit cards, expense providers and more. Get even more data-driven insights by combining this information with advanced analytics and market rate and availability audits. This approach to sourcing means you understand how travelers are booking hotels and what that’s costing or saving your program. That enables you to create a comprehensive and accurate roadmap for strategically improving hotel sourcing.

Manage your program dynamically. Set-it-and-forget-it hotel program management practices are a thing of the past. Today’s hotel market is dynamic, and your hotel program management has to be dynamic, too. Use real-time negotiated rate audits and analytics-driven advice to understand and influence your travel patterns and traveler behavior. Make hotel dynamic pricing work for your program. Using dynamic performance management to move with the market allows you to make timely changes to your hotel program to increase savings or reduce risks.You’ll be able to seize opportunities as they happen, rather than recognizing them only after they’ve passed you by.

Provide the right content. Hotel booking aggregators, online travel agencies and hotels’ own direct booking sites make lots of claims about more content and lower fares. And travelers have bought into them. But no single HBA, OTA or direct.com can provide as much hotel content as a partner that aggregates across all these sources. Want to hook your travelers? Show them you have the content they expect to see at the best rates—all in one place and within your program. They’ll get a more seamless booking experience; save time they might otherwise spend shopping around on different sites; and tap into an end-to-end process that simplifies trip expense filings. Travelers will come back to your company hotel program again and again.

Give travelers tools they love. For years, corporate travel programs were unable to replicate the consumer experience for hotel booking, and that drove travelers to easy-to-use sites that didn’t comply with the program. Now corporate hotel booking and itinerary management tools like BCD Travel’s TripSource offer intuitive, modern functionality modeled on consumer technology design principles. Plus, by booking hotels through TripSource, your corporate travelers tap into plentiful and relevant in-program content that reassures them they’re getting the options they want at the best prices. When evaluating tools for your program, look for a seamless user experience across devices; colorful, professional images; easy-to-view property comparisons; simple booking processes; and itinerary integration. All are key to the traveler experience.

Keep travelers safer on the road. In the event of a crisis, seconds count. Knowing where your travelers are lets you provide them immediate assistance and full duty of care. Locating travelers quickly and precisely is most difficult when travelers book through channels that aren’t connected to your program. On the other hand, helping travelers in need is easiest when air and hotel data reside with a single partner. When your travelers understand that booking through the corporate hotel program means you’ll have their back in an emergency, they’ll do it.

Engage travelers. You can offer the best content and tools, but if you don’t actively work to engage travelers, you won’t succeed. Tailor your strategy to your traveler audience and the communication channels they use most. Educate travelers about how booking in the program saves them time, keeps them safer and helps the company reach its goals. Contact a traveler who books air but not hotel. Let travelers who do book in program know when you’ve found a better rate for them—they’ll gain confidence in your hotel program pricing every time. Remind them when breakfast and WiFi are included in the rate, and when there’s a free shuttle to the airport. Develop a proactive strategy for winning travelers back to your program.

Batrouni’s strategies will help you mitigate risks and fix leaks in your hotel program. That better ensures you’ll have a solid program that delivers benefits to both your travelers and your company.

Learn more by reading Q&A: How to End Hotel Leakage. Then talk to your account manager about how BCD Travel and Advito can help you bring travelers back to your hotel program.