How to Find the Right Hotel Booking Tool for Your Transportation Company
Still using tourist websites to book hotels for your drivers or fleet? There’s a better way.
Transportation and logistics is all about juggling. It’s effectively managing your fleet, giving proper direction to your people, and ensuring they have the resources they need to get deliveries to the right place at the right time.
Oftentimes, this involves finding your drivers a comfortable place to stay while they’re out on the road. However, there are always important considerations to make for each stay:
- You need to lodge your team in the right place to ensure the accommodation complements the route and doesn’t cause undue travel or stress. Sometimes this means finding a hotel in a rural location or off the beaten path.
- Your team needs comfortable lodging so that they’re well-rested for long days on the road, and they may need specific amenities like parking for their trucks. The ability to easily filter properties and find the right fit is very important when it comes to efficiency.
- You also need to ensure that lodging isn’t what breaks your budget, so hotels are a line item where you can (and should) save money.
- You need a more streamlined approach to tracking trips, making payments and handling billing.
So, what’s the best way to find a lodging solution that can meet all your needs? You have some options.
First, let’s look at some of the more common lodging management tools:
Traditional Routes for Booking
Booking a hotel can sometimes be more complicated than it seems, especially if you’re doing it at scale.
While there are countless hotel booking platforms out there, not all of them can do the heavy lifting you need to always stay on route and on budget, and very few go the extra mile to help you streamline and centralize your entire reservation process.
Here are a few traditional options currently used by transportation professionals:
Online travel agencies
Online travel agencies (OTAs) are a one-stop shop of the travel booking world. Sites like Booking.com, Expedia, and more, allow you to book everything from hotels to rental cars to exciting excursions.
Unfortunately, while using these sites can guarantee that your travelers have a place to lay their heads, they weren’t specifically designed for businesses. So, all the other details that come with lodging will go unmanaged. This includes how your travelers pay for rooms, tracking reservations, tracking and paying incidental expenses, reaching customer service, reconciling expenses, etc. — all of which will make all the difference when you need to report on your expenses or optimize your travel planning.
Travel management companies
Travel management companies (TMCs) have long been viewed as the only alternative to OTAs for businesses who want more insights, reporting, and business specific tools. However, the six or seven figure price tag of a TMC is normally well out of reach for small or medium-sized businesses. They can also be complex to implement and require some training for their users. Not to mention the fees associated with booking travel and the time needed to negotiate a TMC contract.
Locally negotiated rates
Booking direct is one of the best ways to save on your hotel stays. But it can also be one of the most time-consuming. To get locally negotiated rates (LNRs), you must not only find hotels you’d like to work with, but you also have to contact each one individually to find out if they can offer a rate that fits your budget—and then repeat the process if you don’t reach an agreement with the first hotel you contact.
Even then, you may score savings, but you’ll lack the insight and infrastructure you need to ensure those savings are scalable to each stay.
Luckily, there’s another way:
A new option: lodging performance networks
Instead of choosing between a complex and expensive TMC, a business-insights lacking OTA or a time-consuming locally negotiated rate, try Hotel Engine, the world’s largest Lodging Performance Network.
Hotel Engine’s hotel inventory rivals that of online travel agents while also offering rates just as competitive (and, often, more so) than those you could negotiate directly. Not to mention using the platform is completely free, and comes with all the tools, insights and analytics you need to optimize your travel programs for even more savings.
Download our easy-to-use guide on choosing the best lodging partner for your transportation company here: What’s the Best Corporate Lodging Solution for your Transportation or Logistics Company?
Here’s how it works:
How Hotel Engine can help
Hotel Engine is a private, business-only platform that makes it easy to search for hotels across the U.S. and even around the world, but there’s much more to it than just booking:
Access a network of 700,000 hotels worldwide
Hotel Engine’s network is more than 700,000 properties strong and includes a wide variety of hotels in rural areas. Whether you’re coordinating delivery to a city or a shipment to a small town, you can quickly and easily find the right hotel close to your routes.
When it comes time to book, Hotel Engine offers several convenient options. Set a maximum nightly budget and other parameters which can allow your travelers the flexibility to book their own hotels, or book their stays yourself—either way, members save up to 60% on lodging just for being a Hotel Engine member.
Simplify your travel spending
From paper receipts to individual employee credit cards, travel spend and management can get out of hand—and fast. Hotel Engine keeps budget mastery within reach, but not just with discounted rates…
Store and download past invoices, add custom job codes to each reservation, filter hotel expenses more to suit your company’s reporting needs. You can even use Hotel Engine’s Direct Bill program and pay one consolidated bill at the end of each month for all your rooms. Hotel Engine can even cover your team’s incidental charges up-front through our Incidental Coverage program, removing the need for your travelers to present a credit card at check-in.
Have multiple people booking reservations for your travelers? With Hotel Engine each user can have visibility into all bookings across the organization to help further streamline processes.
And the best part? Hotel Engine does not require any contract to get started, and there are no minimums to meet.
Easily track your travel trends
Without a travel dashboard, it can be nearly impossible to create a holistic view of your company’s travel activities and ensure duty of care.
Hotel Engine’s dashboard is always up to date so you can access real-time insights into your team’s travels. Track total room nights and spend down to the individual user so you don’t waste a minute —or a dime.
What else can you expect as a Hotel Engine member?
24/7 member support
Don’t be afraid to call in the experts. Hotel Engine has a U.S.-based member experience team available around the clock. Members can call any time, whether you need a last-minute modification to a booking, or simply have a few questions about an upcoming trip. No rerouting, no wait times.
Hotel loyalty rewards
Loyalty programs are a common and sought-after perk in the travel industry, both for companies and their travelling employees.
With Hotel Engine, you and your travelers can still collect hotel chain loyalty points on bookings you make through the platform, in addition to the HE Rewards you’ll rack up with every stay for double the savings. Many Hotel Engine member companies rack up thousands on rewards points that they apply toward future bookings.
Ready to sign up?
Wherever your routes take you, take Hotel Engine along for the ride. Your travelers can use Hotel Engine from an app on their phones, or you can call the shots back at the office using your travel dashboard.
With an extensive network of hotels, unmatched savings, and real-time insights into your company’s travel activity, you’ll have the travel planning capabilities you need to ensure your transportation and logistics strategy stays full steam ahead.
Sign up for your free Hotel Engine account today to get on the road towards efficient and affordable lodging management.
Audrey Fairbrother is the Content and SEO Manager at Hotel Engine. She spends her days writing about all things business travel, researching topics that are important to Hotel Engine’s audience and cultivating the company’s brand voice. When she’s not working, Audrey enjoys spending time with her family, and hiking in the nearby Rockies with her dog, Albie.