Here’s the reality for most travel buyers today: They go to the negotiating table reliant on data from the very suppliers with whom they’re making a deal.
That situation needs to change, said Advito’s Lexi Honohan. She’s senior director of Intelligence & Analytics, the business travel consultancy’s newest practice area. Her team is advising corporate travel programs about which data streams to capture and how to use the findings. Their hit list of sources:
- Travel management company data and analytics, such as what’s available to BCD Travel clients through the TMC’s DecisionSource® platform
- Credit card and expense data
- Hotel and rate availability audits
- Airline performance
- Traveler sentiment data from surveys and booking trends
- Corporate human resources data
- Corporate financial data
- Sales’ client relationship management data
- And, of course, supplier data
The insights that emerge from these combined data streams are much richer than what comes out of supplier data alone, Honohan recently explained in a Business Travel News article.
They allow a travel manager to go into a supplier negotiation saying, “’You canceled your flights in that market 15% of the time,’ or, ‘Our travelers know that your airline cancels every time there is a weather issue,’ or with a hotel supplier, ‘Our rates are not available 70% of the time,’” Honohan told BTN.
BCD Travel hotel expert Marwan Batrouni said that once your negotiations are complete, it’s important to make sure what you agreed to gets implemented. You can best do that with information beyond what hotels provide. For example, hotels are supposed to make agreed-upon rates and rooms available to travelers. But that doesn’t always happen promptly. That’s why Batrouni advises travel buyers to conduct hotel rate and room availability audits as soon as possible. “Otherwise, it could take several months for rate and room availability errors to show up in supplier data,” he said.
The TMC’s analysis of first-round rate audits indicates up to 30% of corporate rates aren’t loaded on schedule. “If you wait for hotel supplier data to tell you that, you’ve missed out on months of savings,” Batrouni said, “and your travelers aren’t getting the rooms they deserve.”
Check out expert advice on how to get great hotel rates, discover four hotel pricing problems exposed by rate audits and ask your account manager how BCD Travel can help you improve hotel program performance.