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 

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