Hotels and hotel chains usually support dynamic pricing models. They offer similar rooms to different guests at different rates. For instance, some hotels increase rates when demand for rooms is high. Likewise, they change rates according to the type of guest, length of stay, and relationships with guests.
At the same time, most hotel suppliers get repeat business by offering corporate hotel rates and corporate hotel discounts to large companies. However, many small businesses and startups still control average business trip costs by managing corporate hotel booking strategically.
Some companies prevent employees from booking luxury hotels by setting well-crafted travel policies. At the same time, many organizations create opportunities for employees to save money on hotel booking by getting negotiated rates and corporate hotel discounts.
Hence, corporate hotel booking strategies vary across enterprises. We are making it easier for you to manage corporate hotel booking by discussing the strategies and best practices companies use to reduce lodging overheads without compromising business travel experience and safety.
11 Corporate Hotel Booking Strategies to Control Business Travel Costs
- Define and Communicate T&E Policies
You cannot control costs without helping employees choose and book the right hotels. You must make it easier for employees to book the right hotels by implementing clear travel and expense policies. While making business travel arrangements, employees can refer to the predefined guidelines to know what hotels to book and what hotels to avoid. They will save money by booking only in-policy accommodations.
- Consider Complimentary Services
Many companies these days boost customer experience by providing complimentary services like breakfast, high-speed internet access, free parking, airport transfers, and room service. In addition to boosting employees’ travel experiences, these complimentary services help your company reduce the average business trip costs. Hence, your strategy should encourage employees to prioritize hotels offering various complimentary services.
- Set Spend Caps
Employees usually make business travel budgets before booking business trips. The budget makes it easier for them to decide the amount they can spend on lodging. Your T&E policies can control costs by setting daily or nightly spend caps. However, you must set location-specific spend caps. The spending cap will help employees choose cost-efficient lodging options. You can save money by preventing employees from booking five-star hotels.
- Get Corporate Hotel Discounts
As noted earlier, most hotels and hotel chains get repeat business by offering corporate hotel discounts. However, the corporate hotel discounts offered by hotels vary based on multiple factors. Your travel manager can negotiate with many suppliers to enable employees to book hotels at off-market rates. Also, he must make the negotiations effective by highlighting booking volumes and leveraging real-time travel data.
- Use a Travel Management Company
Travel management companies provide better hotel rates to customers by partnering with hotels and hotel chains across destinations. While making business travel arrangements for your employees, the travel management company will book hotels at negotiated rates. Also, it will reduce hotel booking costs by choosing options according to your T&E policy.
- Implement the Right Travel Management Software
In addition to streamlining your T&E process, travel management software helps your employees save money on business travel bookings. The software will enable your employees to choose from several hotels according to preset T&E policy. However, employees can use the software to book the desired hotels at negotiated rates. Also, the software will help them save money by using deals and discounts provided by various suppliers.
- Specify Preferred Suppliers and Booking Channels
Some suppliers lower hotel rates than others. Likewise, employees can book hotels at discounted rates using specific booking channels. Your T&E policy must help employees reduce corporate hotel booking costs by identifying the preferred suppliers and booking channels. While making business travel arrangements, employees can save money by prioritizing these preferred hotels.
- Check the Cancellation Window
Cancellation policies vary across hotels and hotel chains. Most hotels charge cancellation fees when a guest cancels a booking at the last minute. At the same time, some hotels do not charge cancellation fees when a guest cancels a booking a specific number of hours before check-in. You should remember that work travelers cancel bookings more frequently than leisure travelers. Hence, you must ask employees to consider cancellation windows while comparing and booking hotels.
- Support Self-Funded Upgrades
When your T&E policy supports self-funded upgrades, it becomes easier for your employees to book their preferred hotels without escalating costs. For instance, an employee can leverage the policy to book a 5-star hotel instead of a 3-star hotel by paying the differential amount out of his pockets. The flexibility will help your company boost employees’ experience without increasing corporate hotel booking costs
- Leverage Offers and Deals
Your company must create opportunities for employees to book hotels at negotiated rates. However, you must encourage employees to curtail accommodation costs using various deals and offers provided by hotels and hotel chains. Many hotels these days increase occupancy rates by offering deals and discounts to guests. Your employees can leverage these deals to book hotels at discounted rates.
- Use Travel Data Analytics
Travel data analytics help you find many cost-saving opportunities by leveraging real-time T&E data. The actionable insights shared by the data analytics solutions help your company adopt a data-driven corporate hotel booking process. You can use data-driven insights to identify preferred hotels, negotiate with new hotels, and remove specific hotels.
While making business travel arrangements, employees spend a significant part of their travel budgets on hotels. Your company or startup cannot increase the ROI of business travel without making employees book hotels at lower than market rates. You can manage corporate hotel booking efficiently using many strategies and best practices.
But you must ensure that none of the strategies affect employees’ business travel experience. In addition to allowing employees to book their preferred hotels, you should focus on controlling costs by getting corporate hotel discounts. Also, you must leverage real-time travel and expense data to negotiate with suppliers for better rates and special discounts.