By: Neil Hammond, Partner, GoldSpring Consulting
The last 12 months have been like no other. At times the months and weeks seemed to crawl by, yet Hotel Season is here, reminding us that time did indeed march forward. So what are the dynamics that will determine how we address our hotel programs for 2022 and beyond?
Overall the market has recovered somewhat in most areas. Indeed, hotel rates have mostly recovered to pre pandemic levels even if the full activity has not returned.
Last year, buyers were strongly encouraged to roll over their rates and forego the annual RFP process with the incentive of a small dynamic discount or face the threat of losing valuable chain deals. With minimal volumes in 2021, the consequences of that decision were certainly less impactful than they will be for 2022 as we anticipate a more stabilized return to travel. This year the hotel industry is still angling for less full blown RFPs and more program roll overs. But will a program that was originally designed for 2020 still be relevant for 2022 after two years of change and uncertainty?
Travel patterns have changed, technology platforms have expanded their capabilities to help manage programs and TMCs have retooled their content with accompanying service models and protocols as they try to steer buyers towards their own supplier relationships. Buyers must consider these factors as well as the ongoing trend towards dynamic discounts which finally gained some traction in the market place.
Some programs fully embraced the move towards dynamic discounts and have set themselves up for ongoing program management in place of annual RFPs for large portions of their programs. Other buyers have found success in approaching properties directly instead of using the depleted resources of centralized chain management.
There is so much to unpack and explore as we consider hotel programs. If you are a travel buyer and would like to learn more, please feel free to access our recent webcast "Hotel Sourcing Options for Travel Buyers Today" where we go into much greater depth and hopefully clarify some of the issues facing you determine your path forward for 2022 and beyond.