Corporate travel involves a lot of hotel stays! At some point, all hotels have more rooms than they can sell through their own web site or call center. Hotels often turn to wholesalers to sell these rooms. Hotel wholesalers are independent companies who buy rooms in bulk and re-sell them to budget conscious travelers. The largest wholesalers sell rooms directly to travelers on their web sites. Expedia and Priceline are well known examples. Hotels require these wholesalers to abide by strict contracts. In particular, they are not allowed to offer a room on their web site at a lower price than the hotel is offering on its web site.
Some wholesalers sell rooms through tour operators and travel agencies. Agencies are allowed to offer these rooms at much lower prices than the hotel is offering on its web site. In fact, a travel agent can often offer a room for 40% less than the hotel. Agencies cannot publish these rates on a web site that is available to the general public. Instead, travelers must call agents over the phone. Agents then make the reservations using private web sites protected by passwords.
How to use wholesale hotel rates for corporate travel?
Agencies know that they are allowed to offer wholesale rates to corporate travel customers. Travel managers find the savings very appealing. Travelers stay at the same quality hotel. However, corporations rely on online booking tools to make most of their reservations. These tools:
1. Enforce their travel policy.
2. Access their negotiated rates.
3. Show travel managers how funds are being spent.
The booking tools supported by travel agencies rely on systems which are decades old and do not have access to the wholesale rates. Companies looking for greater savings should find a travel solution which can:
1. Show wholesale, negotiated, and public rates in one search.
2. Show whether each rate complies with the organization’s travel policy.
3. Direct the traveler to choose the lowest rate which meets the business needs.