Only half of business travelers who book a flight through their corporate program match it with an in-program hotel booking, according to Global Business Travel Association data. That is costing companies millions and reducing traveler security.
What’s causing the dismal rate of hotel-to-trip-night (HTTN) attachment? Business travelers have gotten in the habit of booking hotels via the same online sites they use for personal trips. It’s a habit that corporate travel programs have tried—and failed—to break through policy mandates.
But there is a solution, says BCD Travel hotel expert Marwan Batrouni. Stop business travelers from booking around by bringing the rooms and rates they want into the corporate program and making it simple for them to self-book.
Why hotel-to-trip-night attachment matters
When travelers go outside the corporate program to book hotels, companies lose money because they struggle to meet negotiated volume agreements with preferred hotels. They also lose time and efficiency because out-of-program stays aren’t automatically integrated into corporate booking and expense processes. And rogue hotel bookings impede a company’s ability to fulfill duty of care. It’s tough to help travelers in need if you don’t know where they are.
What’s more, those online hotel deals aren’t always as good as they seem. Travelers who book hotels on their own won’t get the same prices and amenities negotiated for them by their corporate travel program. They may end up with less comfort at a higher cost.
How to keep travelers from booking around
Batrouni, vice president of Global Hotel Strategy for BCD, offers some proven strategies for increasing hotel-to-trip-night attachment.
Evaluate and update your policy. “Out-of-date policies that limit traveler options and cumbersome hotel booking processes absolutely will drive travelers away from your program,” Batrouni said.
Maximize hotel offerings. BCD Travel offers all the options travelers want in one place, TripSource®, available as a mobile app or on TripSource.com. TripSource offers traditionally negotiated hotel content, as well as content from online brands like Booking.com, Expedia and HRS. “Travelers can be confident that they can find all the rooms and rates they see online. And it’s all in program,” Batrouni explained.
Learn from others. Ask your travel management company to share what’s enabling other companies to increase their hotel attachment. For example, Ingersoll Rand partnered with BCD to achieve a 28-percentage-point boost in hotel-to-trip-night bookings.
Influence choices. Data from BCD Travel’s consulting arm, Advito, shows 78% of business travelers comparison shop on third-party websites before looking at corporate program options. That fact prompted the consultancy to develop an online booking tool (OBT) merchandising strategy for clients through its Traveler Engagement practice. TripSource also helps here: Companies can use reminders and messages to encourage hotel attachment.
Communicate with travelers. The same OBT and mobile tools also can be used to help travelers understand the rationale behind your travel policies—such as how booking hotels in program keeps them safer.
Seize the power of self-booking. Nearly half of business travelers believe the most important element of a travel program is the ability to control their own bookings, according to an Egencia survey conducted late last year. “TripSource enables that traveler control,” Batrouni said. “It’s designed to make hotel self-booking fast, simple and available anytime, anywhere. Business travelers can book the hotel of their choice in less than two minutes while staying in policy.”