While engaging in domestic or international travel, a work traveler spends a significant part of the travel budget on accommodations. Your company must keep employees motivated and stress-free by allowing them to book their choice of hotels. But you must unlock savings by enabling them to book hotels at lower than market rates.
Your employees can book hotels at discounted rates when your organization secures corporate hotel rates. You can get corporate hotel rates for business travel in several ways – negotiating with the supplier directly, using the best online travel agency, and implementing the right travel management software.
What are Corporate Hotel Rates?
Hotels and hotel chains these days earn repeat business by offering rooms at discounted or negotiated rates to corporate customers. They provide a unique corporate code to each corporate customer. Employees can use the corporate code to book hotels at lower than standard rates.
However, corporate hotel rates provided by individual suppliers differ. Hotels determine corporate hotel rates and discounts based on several factors – duration of stay, volume of booking, and potential repeat business. Most companies offer better rates to large and multinational companies.
Also, some hotels offer customized packages to corporate clients that include free add-ons like complimentary breakfast, airport transfers, Wi-Fi, and room services. Your company or startup can secure corporate hotel rates using a slew of negotiation tactics.
How Can You Save Business Trip Costs by Securing Corporate Hotel Rates?
Large and multinational companies find it easier to secure corporate hotel rates and discounts. However, small companies and startups can enable employees to book hotels at less than standard rates using several tactics. We are discussing several tactics that help you get corporate hotel rates for business travel.
Analyze Travel Booking Data
Employees these days travel to various destinations for business purposes. Hence, you should identify what business destinations your employees frequently travel to. Likewise, you should shortlist the hotels or hotel chains your employees prefer in each frequently-traveled business destination. The initial research will help you secure corporate hotel rates by shortlisting hotel suppliers and negotiating with them using real-time booking data.
Negotiate with Multiple Suppliers
While negotiating for corporate hotel rates, you must consider various hotels and hotel chains in the same destination. Your employees may not prefer some of these hotels at the time of business travel bookings. But you will find it easier to negotiate with these alternative hotels for better rates and discounts. Also, you can use the corporate hotel rates provided by such suppliers as a powerful tool while negotiating with hotels that your employees prefer and book.
Obtain CVGR Letter
Hotel chains issue company volume guaranteed rate (CVGR) letters to companies that agree to high-volume room bookings. Your employees can use the letter to get corporate hotel rates and discounts while booking business trips.
The tactic will enable them to book hotels at fixed corporate rates during peak seasons. But they can get a company volume guaranteed rate only when your company books the agreed number of rooms every year.
Consider Cancellation Rules
Hotels usually charge a percentage of rates as cancellation fees. They require customers to sacrifice a determined percentage of rates when booking reservations. But most hotels and hotel chains these days support cancellation windows.
They allow refund money fully to customers who cancel reservations specific hours before checking in. You should remember that work travelers cancel hotel bookings more frequently than leisure travelers. Hence, your company can save money by partnering with hotels that support lengthier cancellation windows.
Understand Retention Charges
Hotels usually charge a night’s tariff as retention fees. A customer is required to pay the charge in case of no-shows or early departure. Likewise, he needs to pay retention charges while canceling reservations outside the cancellation window.
While negotiating for corporate hotel rates, you should understand the amount and rules of retention charges. It is always important to save costs by negotiating with the supplier for lower retention charges and favorable terms.
Compare Add-on Services
As mentioned earlier, many suppliers offer customized packages to corporate customers. The customized packages help your employees save money by availing of add-on services like airport transfer, complimentary breakfast, laundry services, and late-checkout timing. You can reduce accommodation costs by removing some of these add-on services. Likewise, you must include more add-on services in the package by negotiating with the supplier strongly.
Use an Online Travel Agency
Online travel agencies provide negotiated rates to customers by networking and collaborating with hotels and hotel chains. You can use the best online travel agency to secure corporate hotel rates without negotiating with suppliers directly. This tactic requires your company to pay for the services provided by the agency. But your employees can still save money by booking hotels at off-market rates.
Implement Travel Management Software
The travel management software helps your company reduce business travel costs through automation. At the same time, it enables your employees to book hotels at negotiated rates. Additionally, the software helps your employees find the best hotel deals using intelligence technologies. You can implement the right travel management software to control costs in several ways.
Encourage Employees to Use Business Credit Cards
Business credit cards create opportunities for work travelers to earn reward points and get cashback. Also, employees can get free meals, room service, and other add-on services using business cards at specific hotels.
These options help them control trip costs without sacrificing business travel experience. Your organizational travel policies must encourage and incentivize employees to get company hotel discounts using business credit cards.
It becomes easier for you to increase the ROI of business travel when work travelers book hotel rates at lower than standard rates. You can help employees reduce the average business trip costs by securing corporate hotel rates.
In addition to negotiating with hotel suppliers directly, you can work with the best online travel agency or implement the right travel management software. But you can negotiate with a supplier for better rates only by leveraging real-time travel booking data of employees.