Leveraging Traveler Feedback During the Hotel RFP Season

MS-0815By Margaret Stead, Senior Consultant

You’ve evaluated your performance, negotiated great rates, and feel pretty satisfied with your preferred hotel program. Just a few months later, compliance is low and dissatisfaction is high. What went wrong?

Getting the “right” preferred hotel program in place is certainly a daunting task for any travel manager. Even with extensive effort on behalf of your travel team, many hotel programs face the following challenges:

  • Good Data is Hard to Find. Tracking down the total hotel spend and hotel locations where travelers stay can be a challenge. Data from multiple sources – the suppliers, the TMC, the online booking tool, the corporate card, and the expense system – make a holistic evaluation of a hotel program difficult. Despite the challenges, however, this information is extremely valuable if utilized during the RFP process and subsequent negotiations with suppliers.
  • No News is Good News… Or is it? Many travel managers don’t truly know how their travelers feel about preferred hotels, or where they stay when outside of the preferred program. Getting input from travelers or project teams can be an elusive and time-consuming process for the travel manager, and often results in disproportionate negative comments, if travelers respond at all. Again, despite the challenges, traveler feedback is incredibly valuable and can substantially alter a program for the better if leveraged effectively.

With these challenges in mind, how can a travel manager best craft and implement a successful hotel program?

The first way travel managers can overcome these obstacles is to evaluate the various data sources available to them. Merging information from these various sources can compromise the data and their interpretation, so the best way to assess the program is to select the source with the most complete data, a choice that can vary between different programs. GoldSpring can provide guidance on which source to select, and can work with any of the previously mentioned data sources.

The second way clients can overcome these challenges is to obtain and evaluate traveler feedback through a survey or other evaluation method. GoldSpring offers this service to clients through our SpringBoard Survey™ tool, which provides the information required to optimize their hotel programs. Our modular “drill down” format allows for multi-dimensional analysis, and the survey has been audited by an independent research firm and judged to be independent, reliable and statistically valid.

By leveraging traveler feedback through consolidated data and survey results, travel managers can enter hotel RFP season armed with the tools necessary for successful program creation and implementation. Unless a travel manager personally stays at all of their preferred properties, he or she is dependent on traveler feedback. If the travel manager keeps the same hotels in the program year after year without leveraging valuable information from travelers, he or she could be leaving potential savings on the table.

This article originally appeared in GoldSpring Insights, the official email newsletter of GoldSpring Consulting. To sign up for our mailing list, please click here.

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