Hotel expenditure management is a top priority for travel management professionals

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hotel expenditure management is a top priority for travel management professionals

In today's competitive business world, corporate travel is a necessity. Executives must venture overseas and around the country to secure new business, develop relationships with suppliers and partners, and expand into emerging markets. While business travel is an invaluable means of growth for many companies, the need to reduce expenditure has never been greater. Aside from executive-class airfare, one of the largest expenses an organization can incur is that of accommodation. While on the road, it is imperative that executives secure suitable lodging at a rate that aligns with corporate travel management policies. A new survey indicates that managing accommodation expenses is a top priority for many corporate travel professionals.

Opportunities for savings
A recent poll conducted by Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) suggests that, in addition to compliance with internal travel management policies, reducing expenditure on accommodation will be a major goal for corporate travel professionals this year. CWT surveyed more than 700 companies in November to identify corporate objectives for the coming year, and unsurprisingly, the need to exploit potential savings opportunities was a top priority. In the subsequent months since the original study was conducted, it seems little has changed. 

In the most recent report, CWT noted that "as can be expected, travel managers intend to focus most on areas representing the greatest savings opportunities rather than those linked more to the traveler experience," as quoted by Business Travel News. This reveals the potential for service providers offering alternatives to corporate suites in chain hotels such as serviced apartments and corporate housing to secure a greater share of the corporate travel market in the coming months.

Divided loyalties
As executives represent a significant market for hotel chains, the need for service providers in the hospitality industry to attract and retain repeat business is substantial. Many hotels operate loyalty programs to entice guests to stay at their properties on a regular basis. However, according to a recent survey conducted by Deloitte & Touche, such initiatives are failing to tempt travelers into booking with them.

The study indicates that only one in four travelers stayed in a hotel of their preferred brand more than 75 percent of the time. Additionally, 65 percent of respondents indicated they stayed in at least two hotel brands during the past six months. Less than one-fifth of survey participants said loyalty programs were a significant factor in their decision of where to stay when traveling.

Most respondents said that the rate of a hotel suite was the most important aspect of choosing accommodations when on the road, with almost half of participants indicating cost was a top priority.