Following on from my earlier post on how travel managers can maximize the potential of their hotel programs, I want to look at those 4 key opportunities in a little more detail and show how travel managers can achieve both their strategic program goals and give their travelers what they want.
- Match your booking displays with your hotel sourcing strategy needs
Once sourcing is completed and audited rates loaded, the display should be augmented by the integration of TMC negotiated consortia rates and non-GDS content to enhance relevant choice – and, based on our search data analysis in 2022, such a move improves rate availability by approximately 15%.
Based on past shopping behaviors, and where increasing hotel attachment is a desired outcome, surfacing more relevant properties and rates can help increase attachment rates by up to 5%.
If the need is to increase client-negotiated rate usage, (and again this is based on our data), by using automated continuous audits of client-negotiated rate availability and rate competitiveness against multiple hotel sources leads to targeted supplier conversations, we saw an increase in preferred hotel bookings of up to 13%.
- Distribute your program consistently across all points of sale
When growing up we had a family saying that went: “inconsistency is the mother of missed opportunities,” and never has there been a better example than in the hotel category.
Consistent hotel content across all tools means that local programs and policies do not need to be built separately, instead global category goals can be set with matched local objectives, meaning travel managers receive better data on their total category spend – all of which lead to improved reporting and greater insights. And, as anyone who has ever negotiated anything knows, greater insights lead to better conversations, enhanced leverage and outcomes.
- Check that your written hotel travel policy matches your desired outcomes
We are already seeing high occupancy rates and sold-out situations, especially in large business cities - despite hotel rates being predicted to rise 8.5% this year, on top of an 18.5% increase in 2022. This underlines the need to regularly refresh travel policies to achieve both current and tight sourcing compliance, and traveler experience goals.
Our own analysis in Nov/Dec of last year shows client-negotiated rates were sold out more than 20% of the time and that customers using the above approaches were able to augment their hotel supply and saw the use of client-negotiated rates rise by 3.5% for the same months vs the previous year.
- Ensure alignment between your rate re-shopping/-booking and point of sale parameters
Many hotel programs still have mis-aligned point of sale and rate re-shopping/booking parameters, but simply by addressing that one issue, travel managers can expect to improve program effectiveness before they even get to re-shopping.
The hotel landscape is changing, and so adapting your strategy to be more progressive and flexible is fundamental to ensure your program remains competitive and effective throughout this year.
According to Chinese astrology, 2023 is the year of the rabbit, whose characteristics include being alert, skillful, and responsible. So, if you do nothing else after having read this post, why not embrace those traits and review your hotel policy statements, check your point of sale booking configuration set ups, and ensure that the re-shopping and re-booking parameters are in alignment?