Corporate hotel rates – those that businesses pay for rooms -- have been rising around the globe, especially in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and North America, as an increasing amount of executive travellers get on the road to ply their wares, meet clients and do business face-to-face.
An August report by the Hogg Robinson Group, a corporate travel
company, shows that in 50 of the world’s most expensive cities, 23 saw an increase in average room rate, with
Mexico City (up 20%), San Francisco (up 11%) and Dubai (up 10%) topping the
This is echoed by June data from Pegasus Solutions, a company that processes hotel
transactions, showing that room rates for the corporate market worldwide -- rose
3% compared to June 2011, , while North American hotels doubled that
performance with 6% growth.
Unfortunately, this rise
in price comes at a time when business
travel costs are still being scrutinised following years of global economic
difficulty. Yet road warriors are finding ways to curb expenses.
Many companies are forgoing luxury hotel
stays in favour of integrating budget-level
hotels or apartment stays into their travel policies. Companies are also often
asking or searching for free
amenities like wireless Internet and breakfast in order to optimise their
Planning business trips as early as possible
is also increasingly important; and when you book your flight, book your hotel.
“Advance purchase rates can offer discounts of up to 30% on hotel stays,”
explained Paulo Salvador, head of marketing for Worldhotels, a global independent hotel
The location of a hotel is also important
to consider. If it is too far away from the city centre, travellers will incur extra
transport costs when getting to meetings. But there are also often better
discounts if hotels are farther out of town. Finding a happy medium with convenient
access to fast
and easy public transport can be a money saver.
Join a hotel
loyalty scheme; some help businesses save on travel costs by negotiating
better rates. Hotel groups also reward members with benefits such as free Internet
access and reduced parking fees, as well as discounts on food and beverage.
The timing of a business trip can be
crucial. During conference season and other events that fill out hotels, prices
can escalate. Holding meetings on or around weekends means that hotel meeting space
can be less expensive, as can rooms at hotels that cater mainly to business
travellers. “Tuesday and Wednesday are always peak nights, where availability
is constrained. Why not fly in Sunday and get your meetings done on Monday? It
can save you money on the room rates,” said Chris Day, the business development
manager at Mantra Hotels in Perth,
Australia. “[Or] stay longer and travel less. Discounts are also offered to longer
Consider using a travel agent or a travel
management company. It is still the case that they can get access to more
rooms, more rates, and more availability than if you do it yourself. They also
have more bargaining power with hotels since they book more often than
individual business travellers, and they often trawl faster and more
efficiently for the best deals.