Savings is the name of the game in corporate travel. As a travel manager, you’re always looking to negotiate the best contracts, find the best deals and secure the best hotels at the lowest possible prices.
Are you doing everything you can to ensure that you’re maximizing savings? If not, here’s a look at 5 ways you can get better corporate rates for hotels.
1. Consolidate Your Bookings
The travel industry represents a marketplace where providers compete for your business. This gives you negotiating power. When you choose to consolidate your bookings with one hotel chain or hospitality provider, you can often negotiate rates that are far lower than what you would pay if just booking a one-off night.
Consolidate your bookings with one provider, and you’ll be able to better track your spending on hotel stays, and you’ll be able to access better corporate hotel deals across the board. This is a far better approach than trying to negotiate rates with a variety of providers, and then trying to track your spending and calculate your savings.
The consolidation approach does have its drawbacks. For example, not every hotel provider will have a location in the cities your travelers need to visit. When considering consolidation, look for a hotel provider that is present almost anywhere you can anticipate your travelers needing to go.
2. Negotiate Room Nights
Do your travelers often visit the same cities? Do clients and employees visit your corporate headquarters? If so, consider negotiating nights at a specific hotel in the places your employees most often stay.
Here’s how it works: You enter a contract for a specific number of nights in a given year (or over a different term), and the hotel offers a discounted rate (typically 10–15% off) for those pre-arranged nights. Even if you don’t use all of the nights you’ve negotiated, just coming close can deliver significant savings.
This won’t work for all companies. If you don’t often have visitors and employees to your headquarters, there’s no need to negotiate a local contract. And if your travelers are constantly visiting new cities in an unpredictable pattern, you may not have the volume in a single market to make a contract worth your while.
3. Tap Into a Consortia
A consortia is a group of travel agencies, managers and planners who band together to gain corporate hotel discounts around the world. These various parties have far more buying power and are able to negotiate far more concessions from providers than they would independently.
Of course, consortia members can find the best hotel rates and the percent they may take most likely pales in comparison to the savings you enjoy when you gain access to their pre-negotiated rates.
4. Use a 3rd-Party Aggregator
Most travel agents and agencies use what is called a Global Distribution System to make reservations. This System, also known as a GDS, makes accessing schedules and reserving seats, rooms and vehicles easy. While these Systems are essential to the corporate travel industry, they don’t always offer the best-possible prices.
When you’re having a hard time finding reasonable rates for hotel stays, consider checking a 3rd-party aggregator like Booking.com or Hotels.com. These aggregators can occasionally find seats, rooms and vehicles that are available for less than what’s offered through a GDS. This isn’t always the case, but it’s worth a shot when you’re having a hard time finding good corporate discounts for hotels.
5. Check for Last-Minute Rates
Your travelers will want to lockdown a hotel room well in advance of departure. But you can often find last-minute rates that are far more attractive than what you booked months in advance. Hotels don’t want to waste nights with empty beds, so they will often manipulate rates as the date draws closer to ensure they’re getting something rather than nothing.
This is an approach that’s best suited to hotel stays. With flights, you often have to pay a hefty change fee to switch reservations. That’s not always the case with hotel stays (though some discounted rates must be purchased in advance). Hotels typically allow you to cancel 24–48 hours in advance of your stay, which gives you plenty of time to check for better deals before departure.
Choose JTB Business Travel as Your Partner
At JTB Business Travel, we work with companies large and small, assisting them in finding the best corporate deals for hotels, flights, rental cars and more. Behind everything we do is a common sense approach to business travel. If you need support in using any of the approaches listed above, or if you need a corporate travel agency that provides comprehensive services (and significant savings), we’re ready to help.
Contact us today about securing corporate hotel discounts and implementing a common sense approach to business travel.