We know it’s hard to persuade employees to book their full trip – i.e., air + hotel – through the corporate booking tool. Despite all the efforts travel managers make, many business travelers tend to book their accommodations separately from their flight, either directly with a supplier or through an unaffiliated online travel agency (OTA). But even if travel managers feel like it’s a losing battle, they must not give up the hotel attachment fight.
Here are some reasons why:
- Unmanaged hotel bookings can lead to missed savings opportunities. By circumventing the typical approved booking process, travelers would not receive previously negotiated supplier rates and amenities. Travelers who book directly with a supplier may unwittingly pay more for less.
- When travelers book outside the corporate tool, you risk losing critical spend visibility, preventing you from referencing it and using it to your advantage during rate negotiations with suppliers.
- The missing itinerary data can lead to potential duty of care troubles. You may struggle to locate travelers during a crisis when travelers don’t book their stays through the corporate tool, creating a huge safety risk.
- In an effort to protect travelers’ health, companies want greater visibility and say over the hotels where employees are staying. But with unmanaged bookings, it’s easier for them to book whatever option they like, including properties whose cleaning and safety standards may not have been adequately vetted.
See the problem? Great, now let’s focus on what you can do to combat the issue. Options include:
A. Utilize expense reporting data to gain more information about your travelers’ trips (though this does nothing to eliminate the duty of care complications posed by direct and OTA hotel bookings).
B. Employ automated data capture systems and other tools to make it simpler for travelers to share information about their stays booked directly or via the OTA. (But this is a temporary fix that doesn’t guarantee maximum savings during the booking process.)
C. Chase down noncompliant travelers and continuously remind them about the importance of booking their hotel through the approved booking tool. (This, however, may cause them to resent you and rebel even more.)
D. Implement an advanced booking solution that naturally promotes hotel attachment to travelers who have booked a flight without lodging. (While this option doesn’t guarantee 100% hotel attachment, it does allow travel managers to take a step back and let technology do the heavy lifting.)
Curious about Option D? That’s our Trip Recommender™ solution and how it works is simple: First, the tool identifies traveling employees who have not booked a hotel room along with their air reservation. Using machine learning technology, it then delivers via email and our app up to three personalized hotel recommendations based on an employee’s travel preferences, colleagues’ travel patterns, and company preferences. Then all the traveler has to do is select one of the options, make a few mouse clicks, and, voila, the booking is made, wiping away any worries and stress over a traveler had over an incomplete itinerary.
We believe once travelers begin using the tool and realize how much time they can save – and that they can still earn their loyalty points – they’ll be convinced this is the way to go.