A recent survey of European business travellers reveals that 43 per cent would be motivated to book a hotel with which their company has a corporate loyalty account if it guaranteed better rates.

The research by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) in partnership with Accorhotels found 80 per cent of travel buyers said their company is not enrolled in a corporate hotel loyalty scheme. However, 60 per cent would be interested in joining one for lodging purposes, with 85 per cent saying they find the dedicated room rates offered to travellers appealing.

Further benefits travel buyers pointed out included a common account where all points can be regrouped (57 per cent) and dedicated rates for meetings and events at the same hotel or chain (56 per cent).

Travel buyers also said they would be more likely to support a corporate loyalty programme if it increased policy compliance (78 per cent), followed the company’s policy (71 per cent) or helped with traveller satisfaction (71 per cent).

And corporate membership may help drive policy compliance, with 38 per cent of travellers saying they would book a property if it earned rewards for both themselves and the company.

However, travellers would prefer to see loyalty points earned on individual accounts made available for them to use for personal purposes. Sixty per cent of those polled are a member of at least one scheme, and 65 per cent said their employer allows them to use individual accounts on business trips.

An overwhelming 83 per cent said their loyalty membership was an important factor when decided which hotel to book for a business trip, with 40 per cent using the points on future business travel, 31 per cent on personal trips and 30 per cent on a combination of both.

Of the 336 travellers surveyed, 43 per cent said they would not book with a preferred supplier if they found a cheaper rate elsewhere, while 39 per cent said they would look outside of policy if they found a more convenient option. Meanwhile, 36 per cent looked further afield if a preferred supplier was not available for their trip, 22 per cent if elite or tier status with a different brand could get a better deal, and 22 per cent if a different supplier provides the best points for their tier status.

Jessica Collison, GBTA research director, commented: “For travel buyers, incorporating hotel loyalty into preferred supplier negotiations can provide opportunities to be an active driver in how their travellers use hotel loyalty, which is something most travellers want out of their travel programme. Enrolling in a corporate hotel loyalty account provides a potential option for motivating travellers to book with preferred suppliers while maintaining loyalty benefits and cost savings.

“The perception around loyalty and business travel is that it lures travellers away from booking within policy. However, this study reveals that opportunities exist for both buyers and suppliers in incorporating loyalty into travel policies. More discussion on loyalty and company policy during the RFP and contract negotiation process could be mutually beneficial, potentially increasing traveller compliance, satisfaction and loyalty usage.”

View an infographic of the data collected for the survey here

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