When it comes to looking at hotel spend and hotel programs from a corporate travel perspective, focusing solely on the corporate’s negotiated preferred rates and travel policy can limit travel managers’ ability to fully optimize the return on their investment. Traveler’s shopping behavior is a fundamental part of the consideration and program mix. This is because the notion that travelers book corporate preferred negotiated rates because they appear at the top of the display no longer holds true. Machine learning algorithms can now show in-policy options based on a traveler’s historic shopping behaviors which help drive higher attachment rates.
Developments such as rules-based displays, a method of segmenting and targeting hotel content to display uniformly to different audiences, may limit policy-compliant options for travelers. Use of search data vs. ‘just booked’ data can validate traveler’s shopping patterns to inform policy, while real-time rate availability and rate competitiveness data can assist with optimizing sourcing strategies.
Blending corporate negotiated rates, global distribution system (GDS) sourced content, travel management company (TMC) negotiated rates, and other non-GDS content sources, in one integrated display is the trick. This provides travelers with more choices, an efficient and effective process to book within their company’s travel policy and more opportunities to deliver savings for the Corporation.
The availability of these innovations, and in light of hotel rate rises of 18.5% this year and 8.5% next year according to the CWT GBTA Global Business Travel Forecast 2023, means travel managers should ask themselves these four critical questions, as they set their 2023 programs:
- Are you sure that your point-of-sale display is in sync with the parameters of your hotel sourcing strategy?
- Is your hotel program distributed consistently across all points of sale?
- Does your written hotel travel policy match your desired outcomes?
- Do your rate re-shopping and re-booking parameters sync with your point-of-booking parameters?
If their answer to any of these is ‘no’, they need to prepare now, to benefit from the pace of technological advances available today.
Look out for my next blog where I will tackle each of the above questions and share some tips.