Tripbam’s European boss has advised buyers to stay “agile and flexible” to manage the current volatility affecting hotel rates.
Peter Grover, managing director of EMEA at the hotel benchmarking and rate reshopping specialist, said he had been “surprised by how quickly rates have rebounded” in the past few months.
“The rates have come back well ahead of demand and you’re seeing a lot more rate volatility than pre-pandemic when rates were far more static,” he told BTN Europe.
“We used to see savings in about 10 per cent of bookings – that went up to 40 per cent in the middle of the pandemic as hotels were fighting for business. It’s now settled at about 20 per cent of bookings.”
Grover said that rates were currently highest in leisure-orientated destinations such as Miami, Las Vegas, Orlando and Dubai.
Meanwhile in Europe, the German hotel market had “performed better with pretty strong rates”, due to travellers attending domestic conferences.
“The important thing for buyers is to remain very agile and flexible with rates so volatile,” added Grover. “Keep an eye on it and be aware of any changes being made by countries and cities, as well as your own travel patterns.”
With many organisations rolling over pre-Covid negotiated rates from as far back as 2019, Grover advised buyers to combine these static rates with more “dynamic” prices, such as those offering a percentage below the hotel’s best available rate (BAR), to ensure they are not caught out by price fluctuations.
“If you bet on market rates to continue to go up, then it’s a good idea to have static rates,” he added. “But if rates come down, then you’re better off having a dynamic discount off BAR.”
Grover said it was still worth negotiating rates with key hotels, such as properties close to an organisation’s offices or around the location of a major new project.
“Benchmarking can identify hotels where you may be paying a higher rate than others,” he said. “It can also identify hotels that your travellers are suddenly using without you realising it.”
Grover added that Tripbam had seen more demand for extended-stay and self-catering accommodation during the pandemic.
“Long-stay and serviced apartments have gained ground, although it does appear things have drifted back towards full-service hotels,” he explained.
Another trend seen by Tripbam has been for slightly longer business trips than pre-Covid.
“Stays seem to be longer as it’s a lot of effort to make trips these days,” said Grover. “Travellers are not just going for one meeting and flying back. They are going for two or three nights. Longer trips are here to stay for the foreseeable future.”
The company is also continuing to develop its new aviation platform, which will be pushed out throughout Europe during the first half of 2022.