Companies that have corporate travel departments often also have healthy travel budgets. Thus, corporate travel managers have long ropes to book the best hotels, ground transportation services, and restaurants.
However, even corporations and enterprises must watch their spending.
Therefore, corporate travel managers who optimize their department’s budget will curry more favor with executives and the decision-makers. For example, managers who can plan memorable corporate retreats on budget might earn attractive end-of-year bonuses as thank-yous.
After the events of 2020 and 2021, hospitality prices increased in 2022. Moreover, inflation has kept them high entering 2023.
Typical travel expenses include:
- Hotel rates
- Airflight costs
- Ground transportation fees
- Meal expenses
Corporate travel managers know that expenses add up quickly. The average business trip costs $1,200, and flights and hotels are the most expensive components. Hotel Engine offers a more detailed list of expenses to consider.
Corporate travel managers must balance costs with personalities and requests. Managers look at their budgets and figure out how to make them work.
In addition, managers must keep travelers safe and comfortable. A few tricks of the trade make the feat easier to accomplish.
The following are seven smart ways to reduce the cost of your hotel program.
1. Book in Advance
In many cases, booking in advance will lead to obtaining the best rates. Hotels make competitive rates available in tiers months in advance.
Properties might release the first tier six months out in groups of 20 rooms. Once individuals, businesses, and entrepreneurs book those 20 rooms, the prices increase to the next tier.
The process continues repeating according to preset parameters automated by algorithms. Thus, hotel pricing has become a dynamic process.
Therefore, corporate travel managers can lower hotel program costs by booking in advance.
2. Negotiate Rates
Sometimes corporate travel managers must book rooms a year in advance. Other times, they will book lodging at the last minute, which will test your negotiating skills.
Therefore, you might not book during the ideal window every time, which can raise hotel program costs.
Complete some research online before contacting hotels to discuss the current market rates. Discount travel sites offer a wealth of information.
After viewing the online rates, decide if they fall within your ideal budget. Then, contact the properties.
Even if the rates fall within your budget, negotiate the ones that favor your company to cut costs.
3. Book Direct
Booking directly with the property helps corporate travel managers establish on-site contacts that make negotiating rates easier. Moreover, many will find better deals using this method.
It also helps them find hidden deals, such as upgrades, extra amenities, and the most comfortable rooms.
Local hotels compete against each other. Pick one or two per city and leverage the competition to decrease costs.
4. Establish Vendor Relationships
In addition to establishing contacts at properties, develop vendor relationships, too.
Corporate travel managers must also book flights and ground transportation. Sometimes the location of accommodations is far from where meetings, training, and conferences occur.
Thus, hotel program costs increase.
Work with vendors to lower the ancillary ones to keep the overall costs low.
5. Consolidate Trips
Sometimes companies must book travelers individually. However, booking business hotels for large groups offers several benefits, namely reducing costs.
Corporate travel managers benefit from preparing annual calendars. Finding out the dates of annual events allows managers to start booking plans promptly.
Booking business trips for employees months ahead of the travel dates has risks. But some hospitality partners will work with you.
For example, you can book a block of rooms and cancel the unused ones before a specific date. Consolidating trips reduces costs since you guarantee the property business.
6. Reduce Overhead Costs
Corporations and enterprises that establish in-house travel departments believe they’ll save more than outsourcing the duties. Thus, find ways to reduce overhead costs.
Experience will allow you to find cost-cutting methods. For example, incorporate software into daily tasks.
7. Automate Standard Processes
Corporate travel managers who oversee small staff can further reduce hotel program costs by automating standard processes.
For example, the software allows travel managers to verify expense reports and reimbursements more efficiently.
Corporate travel managers often receive leeway to run their departments as they see fit. Managers oversee travel itineraries and budgets, and it’s essential to keep costs stable. Reducing hotel program costs doesn’t have to hurt. It’s as simple as negotiating favorable rates or automating processes.