Corporate Hotel Programmes: How to measure value?
Accommodation is a key part of our customers’ travel spending and Corporate Travel Management (CTM) has the technology and expertise to help them accurately identify savings opportunities. At CTM, we invest heavily in delivering tools and services which maximise savings, including rate forecasting technology, access to pre-paid last-minute inventory and tactical supplier negotiations. Our Account Management team also work closely with our customers to understand what service offerings they consider valuable to their business and employees as this can vary greatly.
What is value?
Businesses should understand what they deem valuable. This does not always solely come down to achieving the lowest possible rate available at the risk of the standard of hotel, level of service, location, amenities or value adds. Considering the wellbeing of travellers may also be valuable to ensure they are well-rested, enabling them to carry out the intended purpose of travel most effectively and productively, often delivering greater returns.
Consolidating all hotel spending, whether it be transient, groups, projects, long stay or hybrid travel, will help to increase buying power. Some organisations are using this buying power not to achieve cost savings, but to increase the quality of hotel selection for a better traveller experience. Corporates are focused on taking the friction out of travel to make it an enjoyable experience and a positive component of the employee value proposition, which is critical to the retention of employees.
The consideration of location is also important. This can be the proximity of hotels to regional offices, project sites, customers’ offices, or conference and event venues. The ability for business travellers to walk eliminates incidental expenditure of ride-share, taxis or private transfers, providing cost savings back to the business and reducing their carbon footprint.
Hotels have also evolved in recent years with many new brands and service offerings coming to market which means deciding on what ‘type’ of hotel solutions are required to service the travellers’ needs. Full-service, self-catering, chain or independent boutique hotels all have different service offerings; each valuable but not necessarily suitable for every business or traveller.
Length of stay can also be considered when measuring value. Placing a traveller in a full-service hotel for an extended stay may be better suited to an apartment-style solution where they have the home comforts of a kitchen, washing facilities and more space to work around a busy schedule.
Value may also be found in preferred hotels that are selected based on a long-term like-minded partnership where they are working towards achieving common goals such as sustainability. According to the 2022 CTM Global Customer Survey, 57% of respondents said they seek environmental sustainability features and or services when selecting a hotel and as such will be important to future hotel negotiations to support business objectives.
Where the duty of care is paramount, consideration of hotel security features including 24-hour reception and dedicated floor swipe access may be incorporated as a mandatory requirement. Enhanced commitment and policies to cleaning with certified programmes may also be valuable to negotiations.
Employee feedback forms, surveys or word of mouth are a great way to understand the performance of your current suppliers’ value and suitability for their intended purpose.
CTM Global Hotel Programme
With preferred corporate hotel programmes, CTM customers have access to special rates, benefits and inclusions that have been negotiated with your preferred accommodation partners. Customers can also access the CTM Global Hotel Programme which provides access to exclusively negotiated corporate room rates and a wide range of value-added experiences at more than 48,000 properties in over 205 countries around the globe. Having a strong connection to local hotel providers across global markets gives CTM the ability to negotiate the best possible rate for our customers, securing significant savings that are not available through independent bookings.
Driving hotel compliance via CTM technology
The intuitive and user-friendly interface of CTM’s online booking tool Lightning, helps drive adoption and policy compliance, in turn reducing leakage for more enhanced supplier negotiations. Lightning also has a hotel policy listing option which only allows hotels that meet in-policy requirements to be displayed in search results, minimising out-of-policy bookings.
Using insights for benefits
Understanding the full picture of our customers’ travel profiles and preferences is the key to identifying savings opportunities. This includes how many nights they are booking, when and where those bookings are taking place and any incidental expenditure. Having the right level of expertise and experience in negotiating with hotel suppliers is paramount for achieving the best possible savings for customers. This includes understanding the ideal time of year to launch requests for proposals for accommodation suppliers to capitalise on market over-supply. CTM’s Account Managers and Supplier Relations team have extensive experience and influential supplier partnerships, and work with our customers to develop corporate hotel programmes that will maximise savings while delivering value to their business.
CTM’s tips to better hotel negotiations
When working with customers to review and rationalise their hotel spending, CTM’s dedicated Account Managers consider several steps, including:
- A thorough understanding of the current accommodation supply chain and how that supply and consumer demand will determine the rates available for the contracting period
- Hotel rate caps may need to be reviewed due to unprecedented demand in some areas meaning hotels that were once preferred partners may no longer be viable
- Consideration of the entire scope of travel including meetings and groups and extended stay. This not only supports increased buying power but will also help towards travel compliance
- Reviewing and forecasting achievable room night volumes per destination/location based on current demand trending
- Consolidating room nights across fewer hotels to maximise buying power
- Reviewing benefits for frequent travellers
- Negotiating discounted or value-adds for accommodation incidentals like meals
- Requesting dynamic rates (discount off BAR) where hotels are unable to provide value via traditional corporate negotiated rates
- Negotiating longer fixed-term (12-24 month) agreements to further drive savings.
CTM’s tips for hotel programme maintenance
Hotels change their daily rates based on market conditions and occupancy, so regular reviews and auditing can assist in identifying more competitive rates and opportunities to evaluate suppliers.
- Where dynamic discounted rates have been applied via the CTM Preferred Hotel Programme, this will assist to achieve cost savings across peak and low demand periods.
- Schedule rate audits with your CTM Account Manager to ensure negotiated rates are always visible in the online booking tool.
- Are there new hotel openings that may provide greater value than your current preferred suppliers? Compare by product, service, location, rates, amenities, environmental and sustainability practices, cleaning protocols, and diversity and inclusion policies for example.
- Where possible, schedule on-site hotel reviews and inspections with your CTM Account Manager to monitor the hotel product and service offering. Viewing the hotel first-hand will provide a clear picture of what your travellers will experience and also what points of convenience there are for them in the local area i.e transport, cafes and restaurants etc.
Providing your travellers with the rooms they want, while driving the value your business needs
With a carefully curated and strategic hotel programme, you can offer your travellers more choices, secure the savings your programme needs and ensure a duty of care for those who are on the road, delivering value to both travellers and business.