Travel program managers are heading into a challenging RFP season shaped by a rise in U.S. hotel occupancy and rates. Experts at Advito, the consulting arm of BCD Travel, offer a few words of wisdom for travel buyers gearing up for negotiations.
- Set clear, realistic targets about where you want to be when hotel negotiations end. Then monitor your progress toward those targets throughout the RFP process to ensure you stay on track, even when negotiations get heated.
- Go in with gusto. Plan to negotiate effectively and aggressively, even in a market where hotels have newfound leverage. Don’t simply submit to hoteliers’ demands for rate hikes. Your company’s substantial spend always gives you power.
- Arm yourself with insights into hotel spend. Having visibility into your volume, current rates and traveler trends gives you a lot of leverage at the table.
- Increase the strength of your spend by negotiating deals for meetings and transient stays with your hotel suppliers.
- Benchmark your rates during the sourcing process, and keep benchmarking throughout the year to ensure your rates remain competitive.
- Call on expert advisers who can guide you to more insights contained in your program data. They’ll also be able to identify savings opportunities you might not know are out there.
- Consider more midscale hotels. Take a good look in all regions at local midscale brands you don’t know well—some are excellent. Remember, too, that some U.S. midscale brands are higher quality outside their home market.
- Above all, execute well. Keep up with hotel program metrics and traveler compliance throughout the year. Deliver on your commitments to retain credibility with suppliers. And set a regular schedule for auditing rates hotels are charging your company to make sure they’re keeping their commitments, too.
Get more strategies for future-proofing your travel program at advito.com, and ask your account manager how BCD Travel and Advito can guide you toward more savings and higher traveler satisfaction.