Chances are, if your organisation has any requirement for hotel accommodation, rate caps form a fundamental part of your travel policy.
A part that, most likely, your employees aren’t hugely keen on.
But there are ways you can ease this friction, and create rate caps that work for both you and the traveller themselves. So here are a few of our Account Managers’ Do and Don’t rules for creating and implementing rate caps in your travel policy.
Do be aware of annual fluctuations
Particularly if your hotel booking volumes are predictable across the year, it’s worth taking into account events and seasonal factors that may increase the price of hotels in each season. It goes without saying that Christmas and New Year have an impact on travel prices, but have you considered the effect of sport, music or political events on the prices of hotels both in the UK and abroad?
Do be ready to accept an increase in average rates
Average prices will fluctuate year on year, and they’re generally on the up. Keeping last year’s rate caps therefor results in your travellers effectively having less to spend on hotels, as they get less for their money. Take advice from your TMC if you’d like an expert opinion on how much to increase caps by annually in each location.
Don’t forget amenities
Your standard rate cap may just include the basic price of the room, so be sure to account for WiFi, breakfast, parking or other amenities that will make your travellers more comfortable and more productive. Having to fork out for these extras on arrival will only increase your traveller friction.
Don’t ignore emerging hotel requirements
As your organisation evolves, so might the location of your operations. Review your rate caps based on the actual needs of your organisation to fulfil its work. If you’ve opened up a new office location, or are starting to visit new customers abroad this should be factored into your rate caps so your travellers can make hotel choices based on a realistic hotel policy.
And Finally… Remember!
Your negotiated rate may not always be the cheapest
Align your rate caps with your negotiated rates but be sure to inform our bookers and travellers that rate caps aren’t targets! When using a booking tool that aggregates travel content from different suppliers, you will find that prices vary between suppliers and on different dates. Consequently, depending on when you search, you could find prices for the same hotel rooms below that of your negotiated rate. This may mean your employees can stay at a nicer hotel and still be compliant with your policy.