Risks of rogue hotel bookings

Advito hotel expert
Marwan Batrouni

Rogue hotel bookings can sneak up on you. You see airfares booked with preferred carriers through the company’s preferred channel and think everything is going to plan. Meanwhile, hotel reservations are seeping out of the program so silently they’re not noticed—at least not at first. But before long, the risks emerge, threatening your company’s ability to:

  • Get the best rates from suppliers
  • Guide on-the-road decisions by travelers
  • Protect traveler safety
  • Shape your employees’ travel experiences
  • Mine travel data for ways to improve program performance

Advito hotel expert Marwan Batrouni, senior director and practice area leader the business travel consultancy, dives deeper into the risks that rogue travelers pose to your corporate hotel program:

You lose hotel volume and negotiating leverage. When travelers go rogue with hotel bookings, your corporate program becomes fragmented and loses transparency. That leads to a multitude of problems. For example, you have to look at sources other than your travel data to get a clear picture of just how much you spend on hotels throughout the year and where you spend it. (And unless you mandate a particular payment program, you’ll probably struggle to find those sources.) Without a clear understanding of your hotel spend, you lose negotiating power with suppliers. The result—you miss out on preferred rates, and your hotel costs go up.

You lose influence with travelers. Even if you’re able to land a preferred rate by agreeing to a set volume level with a hotel partner, another challenge awaits. How will you influence rogue travelers to book with that hotelier—and help you meet your commitment—if they’ve already checked out of your program? When your travelers go rogue, you lose influence over their decisions and the ability to shift share. That leads to another negative hit to your bottom line.

Duty of care compliance gets harder. In today’s environment, a travel crisis isn’t a “what if,” but a “when.” A disconnect between your air and hotel bookings compromises your ability to help travelers in times of crisis. Even if you have access to both your air and hotel booking data, but your access is via separate reporting channels, you’ll waste precious time consolidating that information before you can find and assist travelers. In an emergency, this has an impact on employee safety, corporate duty of care compliance and traveler peace of mind.

You lose control over the traveler experience. If a rogue traveler has a problem at a hotel booked outside the program, you’ll struggle to remedy it without the backing of a service level agreement. That makes for a doubly unhappy employee—one who was disappointed in their hotel experience and in your ability to help them fix it. Each traveler’s experience influences their satisfaction, behavior and productivity. And that has an impact on the company’s ability to meet broader business goals and—ultimately—the company’s bottom line.

You miss out on big-picture business intelligence. The same data fragmentation that weakens your negotiating leverage also prevents you from having a full analytical view of your program. Holes left by rogue hotel bookings force you to piece together insights from a combination of travel, card and supplier data. Such data fragmentation costs you. You can’t set goals and develop strategies with full confidence; in fact, missing data could cause you make incorrect assumptions and bad business decisions. In addition, you won’t understand traveler behavior as well as you should. That leads to less traveler influence and more rogue behavior—a damaging cycle that repeats again and again

Now, the question is: What can you do to mitigate the risks of rogue hotel bookings? The answers lie in bringing travelers back to your corporate travel program. Check out Batrouni’s checklist of strategies for doing just that.

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.