A new report issued today by the GBTA Foundation – the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) – evaluates differences in global hotel programs in North America and Europe as well as any differences based on a company’s travel spend. The report, Global Hotel Program Study 2014, sponsored by Best Western International, surveyed travel managers to evaluate what their global hotel programs look like, how they are organized and managed and what the most important factors are when selecting hotel chains for their program.
“The research shows the importance of understanding the difference in management and structure of global hotel programs,” said Joseph Bates, GBTA Foundation vice president of research. “High-spend companies, and to some extent European based companies, don’t use a one size fits all approach to their global programs instead seeing value in a team-oriented program where recommendations are sought from local and regional travel managers.”
“In conducting business around the globe, suppliers often become myopic in their thinking,” said Sandra Taylor, Director Worldwide Sales Corporate, Government and Travel Agency Programs for Best Western International. “In order to meet the needs of the client and their travelers, suppliers need to use a different lens and look at the business from the customer’s perspective. Embracing the differences and building relationships are the keys to success around the globe”
Regional Differences, Size Matters
The study found multiple differences exist between North American based global hotel programs and European based programs, and also observed differences between travel-spend levels:
- Higher travel spend companies tend to be more “team” oriented than lower spend groups and this is also true of European based companies, which are more likely to have one global travel manager that oversees one or more regional managers.
- While companies based in North America tend to have centrally managed programs, their travel policy is also more likely to use guidelines in contrast to European based companies, which are more likely to use mandates.
- High travel spend companies are more likely to issue one global hotel RFP after receiving regional recommendations.
- On average, one in five preferred hotels is dropped from a global program each year after an RFP is issued. The rate is twice as high in Europe as in North America.
- Travel managers in North America are more likely than their European counterparts to enter into individual property agreements, while in Europe global chain-wide agreements are more likely.
- Regardless of region or travel spend, half of respondents indicate they rely somewhat or a lot on TMCs to manage their day-to-day hotel activities.
The people most commonly “involved” or “very involved” in preferred hotel negotiations are global travel managers (73 percent), regional travel managers (58 percent) and local travel managers (51 percent). When travel managers negotiate rates for their global hotel program, a majority (58 percent) say a global travel manager or global team negotiates directly with hotels. The number one factor taken into account when selecting a preferred hotel mentioned by almost all of the respondents who have chain-wide agreements is rates, followed by overall quality of hotel and added value offerings.
GBTA surveyed 272 travel managers in North America and Europe from December-January. The full report is available exclusively to GBTA members by clicking here and non-members may purchase the report through the GBTA Foundation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The study results will be presented during an education session at GBTA Convention 2014 in Los Angeles on Wednesday, July 30 at 7:30 a.m. The session, Current Trends and Best Practices in Managing Global Hotel Programs, will cover how Global Hotel Programs work in North America and Europe and will discuss the structure of these types of programs within global organizations, how these are managed and what processes are in place.
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