5 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Managing Hotel Bookings
Managing hotel bookings doesn’t have to be stressful. Even if you have countless travelers to get on the road and a tight budget to do it, organizing and booking hotels can be simpler than you think.
As hospitality industry insiders, we know a thing or two about hotel booking for business travel. From analyzing highly-visited destinations, to relationship-building, to optimizing your T&E, we’re here to share the best tips we’ve learned over the years.
Take the stress out of travel management with our top five tips for hacking the hotel booking process:
Track your travelers’ most visited destinations
Nationally, the most popular business travel destinations are exactly what you think they are: Orlando, Las Vegas, Chicago, San Diego, and Atlanta, among others (don’t worry, New York and San Francisco also made the list). But before you call us predictable, consider that you can actually use the knowledge of these popular business travel locales to your advantage.
Whether your travelers are heading to these oft-visited cities or you find yourself planning repeat trips, track where your travelers stay, what they do, and how much they spend in these destinations. By delving into your travel and expense (T&E) analytics by the destination, you can develop a profile for what the average business trip looks like according to the city.
Use that information to create a business trip template. Catalog the best hotels, public transportation needs, affordable food and beverage options, and even locations with free, high-speed WiFi if your travelers often spend money on hot spots. With this information in hand, you can build a business trip with a data-backed foundation, rather than starting from scratch every time.
This will both save you time and keep more money in your T&E, a win-win for travel managers and their organizations alike.
Utilize apps to keep travelers organized before, during, and after trips
When it comes to managing hotel bookings, apps are your friend. These high-tech tools on your phone or computer can make all the difference between tracking every penny and not even knowing when your travelers take off.
Platforms like Hotel Engine can manage the entirety of the hotel booking process, but you can also pair it with other apps to capture the entire scope of travel management. Lean on tools to find the best prices on flights, cars, and even issue virtual lines of credit to your travelers so you’re always in control of their spending.
Though all of these activities can be done manually, putting them on autopilot can put time back in your day—something that’s always in demand for travel managers.
Develop relationships with hotels in your most-visited areas
Hotel booking, like everything, is all about who you know. Though this may not apply when you’re booking a family vacation, it’s critical when you’re booking hotels in bulk. Build relationships in cities your travelers often visit or with hotel management groups your travelers often patronize. This can unlock rates or amenities you won’t find listed on their website.
Reach out to directors of sales and marketing or directors of revenue directly. Dive into the conversation about your long-term accommodations needs (e.g. how many stays your travelers will have over the course of the quarter or the year) or simply build that relationship so it’s there when you need it.
Or, hand-off the task to Hotel Engine’s team of Project Services experts who can leverage their industry knowledge and relationships for every booking you make (and at no extra charge)! Another win-win that saves you time and money.
Take control of your business travel budget
Millennial business travelers see trips as an added perk of the job, and 65% consider business travel a status symbol. Travel managers have to simultaneously please this new group of travelers and stick to already tight budgets that’ll face even more scrutiny in 2021.
Taking control of your T&E is two-fold. Start by getting organized. Develop workflows for collecting receipts for both the bookings you make and your travelers’ on-the-go purchases. Apps can help travelers upload receipts in real time so you won’t waste time chasing expense reports. If your travelers often ignore their per diem, consider technology that can set lines of credit per traveler so you’ll always be in the driver’s seat.
With spend management in place, the next step is to consider how you can make your T&E go even further by saving money. Business travel rates at hotels, the strategic use of airline miles, as well as loyalty programs for just about everything in the travel sector (car rentals included) can help you get the most out of every penny.
Book and manage your accommodations in one place
The more bookings you have to manage, the harder it can be to keep it all straight. Imagine booking trips for hundreds of travelers and having to switch between different hotels, management groups, OTAs, and even email accounts to get the data you need. Ready to pull your hair out?
Centralizing your hotel booking activity in one place will save your sanity (and your hairline). Whether your travelers book their own trips or you take care of the details for them, everything should populate in one place so you have instantaneous oversight over traveler accommodations and spend.
Hotel Engine’s business lodging solution lets you visualize your hotel bookings all on a single screen. What’s more, you get access to our network of over 700,000 hotels globally— and leveraging our relationships can save you up to 60% on your lodging. We also offer easy access to Direct Billing, Incidentals Coverage, the option to set Travel Policies for your employees, along with everything else you need to make lodging management simpler. This is one of the quickest ways to spare yourself the stress of being a one-person travel management team.
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.