The hotel sector is following in the footsteps of the airline industry, with more platforms, flexible rates and extra services that may incur extra charges. How do you find the best hotel for the best rate?
Svenja Ullrich knows what travelers need. She’s had 25 years’ experience in the business travel sector and she is now jointly responsible for the BCD EMEA hotel programs. ‘Above all, travelers just want to focus on their visit.’
Location, location, location
‘It all starts with the location. Business travelers prefer to be close to where their meetings are being held so they don’t waste time and money on local travel and don’t have to worry about getting everywhere on time.’
‘The next important aspect is the price. The hotel sector is changing fast and is becoming increasingly complex. There are many hotel booking platforms that display different prices. Many online portals follow their own interests and choose to display those hotels that are most profitable for them, but these are not necessarily the best choices for you. Furthermore it’s not always clear whether the price includes facilities such as breakfast and WiFi. Comparing all these aspects is very time-consuming, so we like to do that for our customers. Our offering includes the customer’s negotiated rates, special BCD rates and rates from external sources. We have the resources to compare all this information effectively. This enables us to find the best hotel that conforms to the customer’s travel policy and meets the traveler’s needs.’
‘All customers, large and small, benefit from our special BCD rates. For large companies with lots of hotel bookings it can be advantageous to negotiate their own corporate rates. Hotels work increasingly with dynamic pricing based on availability. For example, a discount rate may be a percentage of the cheapest price at that moment.’
Food and drink
‘Breakfast is a must. You don’t want to waste valuable time looking for a coffee bar in the morning. It is also important for the hotel to have a restaurant where you can eat your meals. Nowadays at some hotels you can indicate what you would like in the minibar and can ask to have a bottle of water placed in your room.’
‘Business travelers often want to be able to work during a trip. When choosing a hotel, make sure the room has reliable WiFi and a comfortable desk. Some hotels now have workstations in the lobby, as many people prefer to work in a communal environment rather than being stuck on their own in a hotel room.’
‘Of course, hotels are aware of the changing needs of travelers. One good development is that some hotels cater for the needs of business travelers who’re staying for a longer period, for example, while working on a project. These guests can take part in social activities such as a film evening or a barbecue. This encourages social contact and consequently offers added value, both on a business and on a personal level.’
Anything is possible
‘Consider in advance the aspects that are important to you and pass these on to your booking agent. In the booking system, the agent can see which facilities are available at which hotels. Or if you book a hotel via TripSource, you can see for yourself exactly which services a hotel offers. The experts at BCD are happy to give extra information. Hotels are often willing to meet your requests but this is only possible if you tell them what you want.’
- The location is the main criterion when choosing a hotel.
- Let BCD compare prices for you and take advantage of any discount rates.
- Make sure that breakfast is included and that the hotel has a restaurant.
- Check that the room has reliable WiFi and a comfortable desk.
- Save time by settling the bill the evening before your departure so that you only have to hand in your key the next morning.
- Make your wishes known to the booking agent or hotel!
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