Tuesday 18 December 2018


Our annual Business Travel Show survey revealed that Brexit is not only the biggest challenge facing buyers next year, it will continue to cause them problems as far ahead as 2022.

For the first time in four years, cost-cutting was knocked off the top spot of the list of forthcoming challenges to be replaced by Brexit, which shot up from fourth place – its home for the last two years. Airbus UK travel manager and one of our advisory board members, Geoff Allwright, even admitted that Brexit is the one thing that ‘keeps him awake at night’.

With the news agenda saturated by Brexit, none of this comes as much of a surprise. But there were two interesting results from our survey. The first is that our poll (of 134 European buyers) showed that 65 per cent of travel managers don’t have a post-Brexit plan in place. Whether that’s a cause of concern or simply a side effect of the fact it’s impossible to plan for something so uncertain, is hard to know, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

And the second thing? While Brexit rocked up the chart and pricing, the value of sterling, globalisation and technology also make the 2019 top ten, duty of care and traveller risk have dropped out of the chart completely after taking the second slot for the last two years. Completely dropped out. In a world where terrorism and natural disasters are not getting any less frequent; at a time when travel managers claim that duty of care, traveller risk, traveller tracking – all of these things – are the ultimate priority to them.

In line with the Business Travel Show’s Travel 2022 theme for 2019, buyers were also asked what they expect to be the biggest challenges facing them in three years’ time. Similarly, to the 12-month forecast, Brexit and cost-cutting topped the table. Visas also made an appearance at number seven, mirroring the general concern about the impact that Brexit will have on the free and easy movement of people across borders.

Rising costs
Climate change
Traveller safety
Personalising travel
Travel alternatives
Sharing economy

Whether for or against the UK leaving the Europe Union, the last few months have been particularly frustrating and baffling for both sides leaving everyone possibly even more uncertain about any potential outcomes than they were a year or two ago. Because of that, I think our poll captures the Zeitgeist perfectly and it doesn’t surprise me that – right now – buyers are more concerned about Brexit than cost cutting.

This post was written by Business Travel Show marketing manager Kye Blackett. 
The Business Travel Show is the leading event in Europe for corporate travel professionals, taking place 20-21 February 2019 at Olympia London. Buyers can register for a free visitor pass at www.businesstravelshow.com/register. Buyers with a minimum annual spend of £1 million can also apply to attend as a hosted buyer at http://www.businesstravelshow.com/hosted-buyers.

Monday 17 December 2018

GUEST BLOG: How to survive hotel RFP season

As you work through your annual hotel review and RFP process, you might want to consider incorporating procurement strategy, traveller feedback loops, comprehensive reporting data, and emerging industry trends into your hotel RFP process to ensure the health of your hotel portfolio, say global travel management company CTM.

With hotel rates expected to increase from 1-4% in 2019 and occupancy rates at the highest in recent memory, this hotel RFP season may be bumpier than others. It is imperative travel managers source and select key properties that improve the experience for travellers and drive savings for the company.

Here are CTM’s key tips for surviving your annual hotel RFP portfolio negotiations.

1. Get your bearings
Begin by combining expense and travel data to measure compliance, identify leakage trends to combat, and identify target markets to include or remove from your programme. Focus on high engagement locations with the potential for greater buying power and focus on markets with highest leakage to increase compliance. Also include traveller feedback loops and discontinue properties with poor ratings.

2. Define your buying power
By analysing reservation and expense data, you can identify trends to use at your advantage during the negotiating process. Some industry experts suggest that additional amenities, which have been a major negotiating point in the past, have been less of a priority this year. But do not discount the ability for the hotel experience to encourage, or detract, from traveller satisfaction.

3. Evaluate all available content channels
Work with a TMC who can provide you with consolidated, single channel access to emerging content channels, consortia rates, TMC available rates, chain access deals, member rates, website rates, and non-traditional solutions, that could positively impact programme performance and traveller satisfaction. Incorporating additional available rates within a limited portfolio of properties may reduce the number of individual properties that you will need to negotiate with directly.

4. Automate as much as possible
When you are ready to process your RFPs to designated markets and properties, seek the help of your TMC partner to automate the process as much as possible. This allows you to focus on portfolio strategy, traveller engagement elements, and driving overall programme value. Automation also greatly eases the rate audit process to ensure traveller access to your compliant rates. 

5. Plan ahead for leakage
As a begin and end point to this process, review your hotel policy to ensure that it drives compliance and supports the traveller experience. Look to include direct mitigate leakage and attrition when communicating your updated hotel portfolio to your travellers. By addressing items such as luxury properties for VIPs, rate caps for specific markets, newly included amenities of chain deals, you can mitigate rogue traveller behaviour for the next fiscal period. 

This post was written by CTM, who are exhibiting at the Business Travel Show in 2019 on stand B620. Register now for your free visitor pass at BusinessTravelShow.com