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Article by Monica Sanchez

Improving The Hotel RFP Process

GBTA 16 June 2017
Each year, most travel programs work closely with their hotel suppliers to negotiate rates and amenities, so they can find the best partners in this space. Typically, 12 percent of the properties are dropped and 13 percent are newly signed as preferred providers. Three-quarters of companies issue the same RFP around the globe, while 21 percent have customized RFPs for different regions. Overall the process lasts an average of 3.2 months.In general, most travel managers are satisfied with the RFP process (66 percent), and those who rely somewhat on a TMC for this task have notably higher levels of satisfaction (75 percent). The 33 percent of overall travel managers dissatisfied with the RFP process note several factors driving their dissatisfaction including how long it takes, no tangible benefits from going through the process every year and lack of resources to dedicate to the process.Companies with larger travel spending also have higher levels of satisfaction with the RFP process possibly because they are able to solve some of the complaints mentioned and have greater resources. More organizations with higher travel spend of $30 million or more (67 percent) claim to rely on a TMC somewhat or a lot compared to those with travel spend of less than $30 million (50 percent).In 2012, the GBTA Foundation and the GBTA Hotel Committee worked to develop a Hotel RFP template to try to standardize the process. Two-thirds (66 percent) of those surveyed are aware of the template, while two in five (40 percent) say their companies currently use it. Organizations with travel spend of $30 million or more are more likely than those with lower travel spend to not only know about the GBTA Hotel RFP (80 percent vs 60 percent) but also more likely to use it (59 percent and 26 percent respectively).When looking at specific modules like the Groups/Meetings module and the Corporate Social Responsibility module, a majority of survey respondents indicated they use those modules for informational purposes only, rather than as part of the decision making process.The top three reasons travel managers use the GBTA Hotel RFP template are the ability to add user-defined questions, the fact there is no cost associated with its use and the ability to choose which modules to use. Most travel managers use the Blackout/Fair Dates (85 percent) and the Safety and Security (82 percent) modules."The results of this study confirm the value that TMCs bring to the RFP process, as this is one of their core areas of expertise. By relying on a TMC to assist with the RFP process, travel managers are able to focus on other areas of responsibility, and ultimately deliver more value to their travelers and suppliers alike," said Dorothy Dowling, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Best Western Hotels & Resorts. "This study is valuable as it truly allows us to better understand the Hotel RFP process from the perspective of travel managers, which will ultimately help brands such as Best Western implement changes to improve the process."How can travel managers and suppliers make the Hotel RFP process a more efficient one? Use TMCs for time-consuming activities related to the RFP process while staying involved in the decision-making process. Understand there is not a one-size fits all approach and while yearly reviews may work for some programs, others may be successful with every-other-year reviews.Travel programs should analyze their decision making process to understand the key elements relevant to them, organize them in tiered levels of importance and identify the top elements as essential to making decisions. The bottom-tier elements may not necessarily need to be collected every year. With this method, travel managers can save time and resources and suppliers will know which data is truly needed to develop strong partnerships with travel programs.More Information:The report, Hotel RFPs - The Decision Making Process, is available exclusively to GBTA members by clicking here and non-members may purchase the report through the GBTA Foundation by emailing pyachnes@gbtafoundation.org.Methodology:This GBTA Foundation conducted an online survey of 161 travel managers who are Direct members of GBTA in the United States and Canada. It was conducted in February of 2017.

The Future Of Hotel Technology

GBTA 22 November 2016
With the recent introduction of voice-activated hotel rooms, robot butlers and biometric access control systems, it's no secret hotel chains are investing heavily in technology to improve the guest experience. The question remains, which hotel technologies do business travelers currently use and which do they wish to see offered in the future?Earlier this year, a new study released by the GBTA Foundation, in partnership with Best Western Hotels & Resorts, explored both of these issues in addition to satisfaction levels when using current hotel technologies. GBTA recently held a webinar in which Festive Road Associate Lora Ellis and GBTA Foundation Director of Research Monica Sanchez walked through the results.Sanchez shared that a majority of North America-based business travelers commonly use hotel apps, and three in five (61 percent) business travelers used in-room Wi-Fi or high speed Internet available to all guests during their last stay. She also discussed ways in which hotel apps and mobile technology are currently being used, noting business travelers most often use hotel apps to check the status of a reservation (43 percent), manage their rewards points or account (43 percent) and book a hotel stay (39 percent).The study also takes a deeper dive into which non-standard technology amenities business travelers are interested in using. Business travelers reported interest in additional power and USB outlets, streaming services, in-room chargers, keyless entry and more.The study and webinar are both available through the Hub. These sessions are just around the corner:How Safe Are Your Hotels? (Thursday, November 17 - 2:00 PM ET)Replay: Global Travel Price Outlook: Getting the Most from Your Travel Spend in 2017 (Tuesday, November 22 - 2:00 PM China Standard Time)Best Practices to Enable Your Travelers to Embrace Expense Management (Tuesday, November 22 - 2:00 PM ET)Sustainability - Bringing Value to Your Organization (Wednesday, November 30 - 2:00 PM ET)The full schedule of webinars is available here.

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