As a specialist in sourcing accommodation, Jan Jacobsen, global projects manager, global travel, meetings and events at AIG has become all too familiar with hotel account manager tactics and what buyers need to do to ensure their contracts work for their programme. Business Travel iQ caught up with Jan to hear how AIG handles a programme that includes more than 300 destinations and 726 hotels. Watch the full video below for more detail.
1. Get teams and strategy in place. AIG's hotel sourcing has a central team which is split into regions with local in-house teams and travel management companies including an auditor who checks how rates work within the programme.
2. Chain or independent? That's not the first consideration. Location is the most important factor in Jan's preferred programme, alongside value and quality. Although he says the chains are easier to work with.
3. Hotels are trying to adopt the airlines' way of negotiating. Jan is finding there is more flexibility in rates but it's still in the old world of hospitality. Global account managers are savvier but the decision still sits with the operation of the individual hotel; there's still a knowledge gap between the two.
4. There isn't a level playing field between hotels and buyers at the negotiating table. The hotels know which properties the travel manager is currently using and will use that data as ammunition to negotiate.
5. Know your travellers so you have leverage during negotiations. Travel managers should approach suppliers knowing what level of travel is coming up and future traveller movements.
6. Hotels don't always consider that there's more spend than just the bed. Neither the buyer nor supplier can afford to squeeze the rate and Jan wishes for more creativity to drive value.
7. Don't underestimate loyalty programmes. Jan fully supports leveraging points to get loyalty from travellers and cost savings for the company.
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