If you’re a Travel Manager juggling a large number of corporate travelers, chances are that you deal with a fair number of hotel headaches. A good hotel sourcing strategy can alleviate some of those headaches — and, to help you build that strategy, we’re dispelling five hotel sourcing myths.
Myth #1: You should rollover your existing rates each year for the best rates.
While it’s certainly easy to rollover existing rates at the end of each year, it’s not always the best choice because, while it might lock you in for your existing rates, you could actually be getting an even cheaper rate.
Consider opting out of the rollover at the end of this year and, instead, see if you can get a better rate based on your company’s current and most recent travel habits. Additionally, if you’re not happy with your rollover rate (or even if you are, and you just want to get more out of the travel experience for your travelers), consider re-negotiating with a hotel to not necessarily lower their rates but, instead, throw in extra amenities for your travelers. Think business travel must-haves like free, high-speed WiFi or discounts on on-site dining.
Myth #2: The more hotels, the better.
While you might think that offering more hotels to your travelers is the better way to go, and with more options comes happier travelers and more affordable rates, that’s not always the case. If you can identify the hotels that your travelers like most and the hotels that they’re most likely to use, you can target your sourcing and negotiations to get the best prices based on a fewer number of options.
Myth #3: Hotels are your only option when sourcing accommodations.
Sure, it might be called “hotel sourcing,” but, there are far more options out there for your business travelers, beyond just hotels, which means you need to broaden your sources.
With the advent of home rentals, some business travelers may prefer to stay in an Airbnb or VRBO property, for the extra space (including potentially a workspace and kitchen), privacy and quiet. Additionally, if multiple travelers from your company are traveling to the same city, you may be able to save money by housing more travelers with one booking. In fact, some reports have found that rentals are far more lucrative for business travelers than other options.
Luckily, many TMCs can help you “hotel” source, but with home rentals, via partnerships with Airbnb and similar providers.
Myth #4: You should stick with your tried-and-true hotel partners only.
While you’ll likely want to work with a narrow portfolio of hotel partners, just like it can pay to not just take the rollover rate each year, it can also pay to explore options beyond your long-term hotel partners. Often, looking to new hotels can be advantageous, as they’re more eager to get your business — which means better rates for your team.
Additionally, there are many other reasons why it makes sense to consider your other options, from time to time, as they arise. For example, if new hotels begin popping up in an area where your travelers frequently stay, then you may be able to get a more convenient option, or a closer option, that reduces travel costs, even if the hotel rate is comparable.
You might also find that, as your workforce changes, so do their hotel preferences. If you have a brand-new batch of travelers on your team, are they going to be satisfied with the same options that you’ve always offered your corporate travelers? Keeping those travelers happy is the best way to promote travel policy compliance.
Myth #5: Once you have a hotel sourcing strategy in place, you’re covered for hotels for my team for the year.
Unfortunately, this is not the case at all, because, in the end, strategy or no strategy, cost savings and similar factors are all going to come down to whether or not your teams remain compliant with your travel booking policy.
After your hotel sourcing strategy is sorted, it’s your job as Travel Manager to ensure that you communicate with your travelers and let them know what they can expect and why. In some cases, you may need to provide incentives for compliance or adjust your travel policy to better meet employee needs.
What makes a strong hotel sourcing strategy?
So now that we’ve debunked those hotel sourcing myths, how can you go about building a strong hotel sourcing strategy? There are a few elements that are key. A strong hotel sourcing strategy will be…
Does your existing hotel sourcing strategy rely on data (and that means data on both your travelers and the hotels you partner with)? Do you work with a diversified portfolio of properties, so that you can meet your team’s travel needs, no matter how they evolve? As you plan your hotel sourcing strategy, are you keeping the future of your company and its travel needs in mind?
If you answered “no” to any of the above, it might be time to rethink your approach.
You might want to approach your hotel strategy using all the data at your disposal, in order to make the best decisions for your team. And would want to be prepared to meet your team’s needs both now and well into the future, as teams evolve and talent changes.
JTB Business Travel can help!
Hotel sourcing is a vital part of your job as a Travel Manager, but if you don’t feel you’re making the most of your potential strategy, hotel sourcing myths aside, consider how JTB Business Travel can help you find the best rates for your preferred properties, using our partners, like Cvent, to source hotels on your behalf. From contract management to price negotiations, data analysis and reporting, we’ve got you and your team covered.
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