Corporate travellers are not always getting the hotel rates negotiated due to discrepancies in prices loaded onto booking systems.
A joint study from GBTA and HRS showed that one quarter of more than 23,000 rates analysed in their review were incorrect or failed to correctly incorporate amenity details such as inclusive breakfast – 11 per cent were higher than originally negotiated between the company and specific hotel.
The study aimed to ascertain how widespread the prevalence of loaded hotel rate inconsistencies and coincides with HRS’ new ‘Rate Protector’, which automatically audits rates and amenities.
HRS said due to a lack of industry standards (varying room categories), different systems and human error there can often be differences between the agreed rates and the data which ends up in the company’s booking tool.
“Higher rates drive costs in 11 per cent of the cases, as the HRS data analysis shows. On average, the erroneous rates were 14 per cent higher than agreed upon. A missing breakfast inclusion or breakfast at a higher cost than negotiated appears in 16 per cent of the analysed bookings.”
HRS CEO Tobias Ragge said: “Travel managers invest a lot of time and resources into negotiating room rates and amenities with hotels. This effort is only worthwhile when the negotiated rates and services are available to the traveler. The results of the analysis show that rate audits are more important than many corporates might realise today.”
On checking for hotel rate accuracy, of the 200 buyers surveyed, only a fraction of companies check on the accuracy of hotel rates on a frequent basis – 2 per cent do so weekly. The rest of companies only check every couple of months (22%), once a year (31%) or every time the rate is loaded (33%).
It also found little consistency when it comes to how often discrepancies between the negotiated hotel contract and rate appear in the system. Among buyers performing audits:
- 33 per cent find discrepancies more than 20 per cent of the time
- 30 per cent find discrepancies six per cent to less than 20 per cent of the time
- 37 per cent find discrepancies five per cent or less of the time
The study found almost half of buyers are relying on their travellers to report erroneous rates, more than their TMC or the hotel.
For the rate evaluation, HRS analysed more than 23,000 corporate rates of 32 multinational corporate clients in April and May 2016. Chain and independent hotels both made up half of the analysed portfolio.