Business Travel Show Europe Kick Off, 23 February,
Global Travel Risk Summit Europe, May 2023,
3rd Annual Sustainable Business Travel Summit
High hotel rates are forcing corporate buyers to use lower cost accommodation, according to a new report by the UK and Ireland Institute of Travel Management (ITM).The report said serviced apartments were now a "serious threat to mainstream hotels" with 22% of ITM's respondents using them as a cheaper alternative.The report said that 28% of respondents who included travel managers and procurement professionals with a spend of Â£1.3bn, used apartments for stays of five days or more.35% said they used them to reduce costs for stays of all lengths.The report said that 46% of its respondents used either a TMC or a hotel booking agency to negotiate rates on their behalf. But despite this, 57% said they were still "frequently finding rates on line that are lower than their negotiated rates, thereby undermining the whole RFP process."Paul Tilstone, ITM's executive director, said: "Corporate buyers are battling high occupancy and high prices in the traditional hotel sector."Around 60% have seen their hotel costs rise by up to 10% in the last year alone, so they are now using budget accommodation, serviced apartments and independent hotels much more."But buyers are also using other ways to try and keep a lid on hotel pricing too, such as consolidating transient spend with meetings and conference expenditure."More modern procurement levers like audio and video conferencing are also being brought into negotiations by over a fifth of buyers."
Customer satisfaction key to rail success
Keeping the customer satisfied is the key to success for rail companies, delegates at the 2nd Amadeus Rail Forum in the south of France were told.Diane Bouzebiba, head of Amadeus Rail Business Unit, said customer power was growing throughout the world.This allowed them not only to choose how they travelled but also how they bought their tickets and what other services they wanted, both during and after travel.Ms Bouzebiba said that customers were becoming more demanding in whatever form of travel they chose."They are used to a certain level of service from airlines and they want rail to do the same," she said.Customer services was a key them at the two-day event attended by 80 delegates from rail companies and TMCS from 25 different countries.The tone was set by Thomas Mann, head of distribution for Swedish Rail, who outlined the different ways his company was meeting demand from customers for tickets.The aim was to provide as many distribution channels for tickets as it could, including putting kiosks in shopping centres.Mr Mann also said Swedish Rail's website offered opportunities to book hotels and car parking when buying a ticket.Delegates also discussed the use of technology and how to make air and rail travel the same experience when they were art of the same trip.