Half of business travelers go outside their corporate travel programs to book hotels, according to Global Business Travel Association research. It’s a vexing—and costly—problem for companies, but it can be solved. The fix, says BCD Travel hotel expert Marwan Batrouni, is to bring the rooms and rates travelers want into your corporate program. And make it easy for them to self-book.
Batrouni, vice president of global hotel strategy for BCD, offers six tips for getting your travelers to book in-program hotels every time they book flights for business trips. The aim is to boost your program’s hotel-to-trip-night (HTTN) attachment rate to improve savings and duty of care.
- Evaluate and update your travel 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 “Out-of-date policies that limit traveler options and cumbersome hotel booking processes absolutely will drive travelers away from your program,” Batrouni said.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’ll 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 online booking 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 in late 2018. “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.”