By Susan Avery
Now that the new year is underway, travel procurement managers are working to ensure that the time they spend negotiating room rates with hotels is paying off: Their organizations do not realize lower cost and other benefits if travelers are not paying the rates they agreed upon.
There are a couple of reasons why travelers don’t pay the negotiated rates. One is that the rates don’t show up in the online booking tool they use to reserve hotel rooms. Another is that the rates show up, but travelers choose other rates unaware that the negotiated rate may include such amenities as Internet access, parking or breakfast.
To help its clients--travel procurement managers--evaluate their hotel programs and identify opportunity for savings, Travelocity Business recently enhanced its Hotel Rate Assure suite of services, collaborating with online booking tool, GetThere, and a client, national insurer Wellpoint.
Hotel Rate Assure consists of the Hotel Shopping Rate Audit, an online audit based on the rates the traveler sees when shopping for a hotel. Hotel Shopping Rate Audit looks at GDS (Global Distribution System) results for all the hotels offered and if the corporate preferred rate is not available, a data point is created containing rate information for each property offered. A managed travel program can yield thousands of such data points a month.
To help its clients manage the information, Travelocity Business created a tool that parses and analyzes the results provided from the data points and formulates a comprehensive audit report. Its consulting team can then use the audit results and provide analysis based on the company’s preferred hotel program.
In an interview with My Purchasing Center, Blake Goodwin, Vice President of Marketing and Product Development at Travelocity Business in Southlake, Texas, explained:
“If you think about it, travel procurement managers go through the RFP process, establish a hotel program for the year, and agree with the hotel chains on rates on properties,” he says. “Travel procurement managers then have to ensure that the booking tools are going to display those rates.” RFP stands for Request for Proposal.
Travelocity Business analyzes the rate information generated by the data points it receives from the booking tool and provides clients reports that show opportunity for savings because the traveler didn’t see or didn’t pick the right rate. “With this information, we can have a meaningful conversation with the traveler or with the property,” Goodwin says.
In addition to the Hotel Shopping Rate Audit, Hotel Rate Assure also includes these features:
Susan Avery is Editor-in-Chief at My Purchasing Center. She writes articles, blogs and white papers and manages and creates other content for the online procurement and supply management publication. She produces and moderates roundtable discussions, podcasts, webcasts and video interviews. Susan has 30 years experience covering procurement and supply management for Purchasing magazine and Purchasing.com.
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