The hotel industry looks different after a few tough years. New hotels open as fast as others close. Demand is on the rise and finding staff is difficult. Everything is more expensive, including the goods, services and operations needed to keep hotels running. Inflation is climbing – and your hotel program won’t remain unscathed. Here are six tips to help you beat rising costs.

1. Understand hotel demand.

Analyze the demand for hotels in your key destinations to prepare for negotiations. Hotels aren’t returning to business at the same pace because some properties and markets are in higher demand than others. Customer segments, i.e., seminars, business travelers, individuals, or groups, have a strong influence on demand and market balance.  Understanding what factors might be influencing the hotel’s pricing strategy will help improve your negotiations. Identify your key destinations, including office locations, factory sites, or destinations your business travelers visit the most.

2. Adopt a multi-source content strategy.

Travelers shop for  the best rates available at time of booking and demand year-round availability. A multi-source strategy gives your travelers access to various rate types, beyond Global Distribution System (GDS) content. Suppliers tend to restrict some of the content distributed in the GDS. Offering diverse and rich hotel content signals to travelers that the company offering via their hotel program is more complete than rates found elsewhere and will ensure they benefit from discounts, even when your own corporate program is not available for booking.

3. Time sourcing differently.

The calendar year is not a rule. Choose a period, such as May 2023-April 2024, that gives you more visibility over your travel pattern and forecast. If hotel rates are volatile, this approach will lend more insight into the year’s trends and allow you to negotiate with more information in hand.

4. Use the right technology to help you automatically track, monitor and rebook hotels.

Some of WTS/BCD Travel’s vetted technology partners can help streamline air and hotel budgets by automatically booking similar options without disrupting the passenger’s journey. For example, Fairfly saves up to 4.8% of the air budget and TRIPBAM saves around €42-€63 (approx. USD $44-$67) per night on hotels.

5. Get your business travelers involved.

Engage your business travelers so they adopt and advocate for your travel program. Encourage them to understand and comply with the travel policy and book hotel rooms via recommended channels to secure the best rates available, experience seamless travel, and get advice or support from a travel agent, if needed.

6. Pick the right suppliers.

Choose suppliers with the relevant certifications and qualifications to help achieve your sustainability objectives as well as your business goals. In collaboration with our consulting arm Advito, we propose to our clients a 4-step approach: focus on essential travel, travel better, favor the most eco-responsible supplies suppliers, and contribute to global carbon neutrality.