Even now when there is nearly no business travel taking place, doing nothing to prepare your hotel program is not a winning strategy. But what do you do? A new 5-step strategy from Stay by BCD Travel™ takes us from where we are today into a post-COVID-19 travel era. It includes everything from sourcing to traveler well-being, how to create a booking process that drives smart buying decisions, and duty of care. Each of these five steps will be covered in-depth over the next several weeks on Advito’s blog. You can read step 1 and 2 already today.
Step 1: Update your online booking tool and add rate targets
When business travel resumes, there will be no time to renegotiate and load new rates. You can’t get ahead of this by renegotiating now, as many hotels are closed, and those that are open are laser-focused on securing the safety for their immediate guests. So, what can you do? It’s simple: leave the rates but change the settings, such as excluding brands and properties that you want your travelers to avoid, setting preferences in sort order first to location, then to price and last to preferred rates, and prioritizing policy aspects like cancellation policies and allowable room types.
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“Now that traveler safety is more important than ever, you want your travelers to be booking via your online booking tool (OBT) so you can provide duty of care. But preferred hotel rates in OBTs today are no longer competitive, as they’re currently higher than non-preferred rates,” says Marwan Batrouni, Vice President Supplier Relations, Global Hotel Strategy for BCD Travel. “If getting your travelers to use your OBT was hard before, they’re certainly not going to use it now if you leave your preferred rates in the system like this. Adjusting some basic settings in your OBT will ensure the first rates your travelers see are competitive, driving compliance – and more importantly – duty of care.”
Step 2: Devise your health, safety and duty of care strategy
New hotel cleanliness and safety standards have quickly become the hottest topic in hotel management. Hotel chains are each publishing their own new protocols. At the same time, national industry associations are also publishing standards. Do your research on chain strategies, country standards and independent third-party certification programs. Then determine what your company’s standard will be and whether your company will accept the chain level promise that their properties will comply or if you will require properties in your program to be certified.
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Coming up soon:
Step 3: Determine your hotel program strategy
Step 4: When the time is right, release your hotel RFP
Step 5: Active hotel category management (it’s not just about sourcing anymore)