Business Travel Tech Talk London, 16 October,
Business Travel Awards Europe, 30 October, JW
3rd Annual Business Travel Intelligence Summit
Companies have become more demanding in what they expect from hotels when booking meetings, Patrick Mendes, vp corporate sales for meetings and incentives with Accor Hotels, told the ACTE Forum in London.Speaking on the session on Gaining Control of Your Meetings, Mr Mendes said companies nowwanted total account management with some key clients including meetings requirements in their RFPs with day delegate rates.“They ask for upgrades, for WiFi and LCDs to be part of the basic service, free welcome drinks, free site inspection, free upgrades for the organisers.“All these things negotiable three years ago but now they are part of the business,” he said.Mr Mendes said corporates were also “reducing the use of intermediaries” and booking direct with hotels. He estimated that 45%-50% of meetings for fewer than 100 people were booked directly.He said another new development was that his company was now signing about 15 global deals a year for meetings.He said clients were clearer about what they wanted and this included a clear net rate for corporate clients with a commissionable price for agents, simple advice, central billing, a reduction in invoices and administration costs. To cut costs, many requests for small meetings were now made online.Mr Mendes said that although many companies did not know what their meetings spend was, the business had become much more competitive. But it was also very important to Accor. 16% of its hotels revenue came from meeting and this was likely to rise to 20% in five years.Earlier, Rajiv Shah, a consultant with AT Kearney, said his company has carried out research with American Express into meetings organisation, questioning 105 firms in the US and Europe.Meetings organisation was a very fragmented business. “It was difficult to locate who does what,” he said.Companies have different hotel for different meetings which make signing global deals difficult, Mr Shah said.He said best practice was for an end to end process which addressed all aspects of organisation, contained clear rules to drive compliance and was backed by senior management.