Out-of-policy bookings led to overspend on hotel and risk of being underprepared in a crisis.
As an American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) client looked for ways to tighten its travel program, one area ripe for improvement emerged: hotel. For every three overnight stays its employees were expensing, one was not booked through an approved company channel. These out-of-program reservations led to a dearth of itinerary data, which brought up questions the client struggled to answer: Was the company fulfilling its volume commitments to preferred hotel partners? Were employees obtaining the best available room rates? And how could the company locate travelers in the event of a crisis?
The upsides—both financial and legal—were clear. If it could solve for what it called the “black hole” of hotel booking data, the company could negotiate more effectively with suppliers, sharpen its forecasting, and be better prepared to take care of the people who traveled on its behalf.
Together, the client and American Express GBT formulated a plan to close the data gap and take control of the hotel program. The keys to success would be twofold:
Communication – Educating employees on the importance of including a hotel reservation when they book a flight.
Data and reporting – Identifying and measuring specific aspects of the program to make informed decisions.
The hard work paid off. Today, the client can claim a nearly 100 percent hotel compliance rate in the US and significant improvement in compliance around the world. This means that, excluding hotel stays for corporate meetings and events with room blocks, its employees stay in program almost every time they book in the US.
This achievement represents an 18% increase in hotel attachment and an estimated cost savings of $1.4M USD in 2017.1 What’s more, it means the client is better equipped to help its employees on the road by having more complete knowledge of their location.
American Express GBT and the client attribute the significant progress they made to the strength of the partnership and their shared willingness to try new approaches. Together, they continue to invest to achieve results and never stop looking for ways to improve.
1American Express Global Business Travel reporting.