Does the Early Bird Get the Worm When it Comes to Hotel Sourcing?

JS_8780_RTBy Julie Simpson, Senior Consultant

Thanks to all who participated in our 2017 hotel sourcing process survey.  The survey was distributed early in October and closed mid-October.  The results are in and show some interesting outcomes. Unsurprisingly, the majority of our respondents had started the sourcing process at the time of the survey.

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When we then asked when the process had started, or when respondents planned to begin sourcing, we got some interesting responses, however:

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The Big Picture
So when you look at the whole picture, most of the respondents begin early in the year – July or earlier through September – which makes perfect sense. As we well know, almost as soon  as you finish the current year’s project, it’s time to start thinking about next year.

By July, you will have booking data from the first half of the year.  This will allow you to review your selections and determine:

  • Are the properties in your program getting the support appropriate to a preferred program participant? If not, why not?
  • Are there properties outside of your program that are receiving a significant amount of your business? If yes, can you add them or at the minimum key them up for next year’s solicitation?
  • How is traveler/travel arranger feedback? Are they requesting additional properties that would be a good addition to the program?
  • Are your travelers happy with the program? We recommend an independent, reliable and statistically valid survey like SpringBoard Survey to measure satisfaction early in the process.
  • If you are using a hotel rate checker, such as TRIPBAM or Yapta, are lower rates consistently found for some properties? If yes, your preferred discount is not deep enough.
  • If you negotiated LRA rates, are they available?

Armed with this information, you will be well positioned to craft a stellar solicitation list and understand the discounts and amenities you should be looking for.

Does the early bird get the worm?
We asked our respondents if there is an advantage to starting the sourcing process early:

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Clearly, the majority agree that preparing well and allowing sufficient time is the best approach.  However, some believe that starting later has its advantages.  If you are using a sourcing tool, such as Lanyon, that includes market intelligence, you may get better data later in the season.  Depending on trends, you may also be able to negotiate better rates with properties later rather than earlier.  And let’s face it, depending on other demands in your organization, you just may not be able to start sooner.

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Two Months Appears Typical
We also measured how long the sourcing process generally takes and found that, from start to finish, most have found that eight weeks is the right amount of time.  When upfront planning is thorough and thoughtful, the process goes more smoothly and the outcome is better.  The hotels appreciate time to evaluate your business and submit a thoughtful offer. Of course, depending on the size of your program, you may not need eight weeks; or, when circumstances demand it, you may not have the luxury.

The year has flown by and now it is November. What can you do if you haven’t made plans?  Contact us as soon as possible. While we agree with our respondents that six to eight weeks is ideal, our experienced team can help you get a successful program in place for 2017.

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