Your Complete Guide to Corporate Hotel Codes

Sara Kern
September 14, 2023
Your Complete Guide to Corporate Hotel Codes

Every year, business travelers spend countless nights away from home working. Although trips vary from one night away to weeks or even months at a time, it’s always advantageous for travelers to book their lodging early in order to secure the best deal.

Unfortunately, finding great deals on corporate travel can be time consuming. So, how do business travelers get the best price for lodging without wasting time comparing prices?

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about corporate hotel codes, including how they work, who’s eligible, how to use them and how to negotiate a better rate.

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What are hotel corporate codes?

Hotel corporate codes are pre-established discount rates that hotels create to give specific companies better prices. If a business can bring consistent or significant value to a hotel based on their estimated bookings, they can bargain for a discount code with that hotel.

Hotels benefit from corporate codes, too: since they help to ensure a certain amount of repeat business. In short, hotels create corporate codes to get recurring stays from companies who might otherwise choose a competitor, which helps them book more rooms and drum up more revenue.

So while it might be easier for large corporations to get corporate codes, small businesses can also take advantage of these discounts — as long as they have the time it requires. Setting up corporate hotel codes requires quite a bit of a time investment, as it involves contacting hotels directly and negotiating prices.

If your small, medium or even large business doesn’t have the time to capitalize on corporate codes, then leveraging the expertise of a travel management software can help.

corporate traveler looking out window

Who is eligible for hotel corporate codes?

Unfortunately, not every employee can take advantage of the corporate codes their company has established with a hotel. Eligibility will vary by company, but may cover:

  • Full-time employees
  • Contract workers
  • Consultants
  • Affiliates

Keep in mind that corporate codes should only be used for business travel, as the discounted rates are not intended for leisure. In fact, many hotel chains do not offer corporate codes at “destination” properties, such as those in highly sought-after vacation areas.

Are corporate codes always the best rate?

While it’s true that corporate rates are among the best options available when booking a hotel, guests, coordinators or administrators should still verify prices before booking. Because every company has a uniquely negotiated discount, either specific discounts (e.g., group, military or veteran rates) or pre-negotiated rates through certain travel management platforms can help you save even more money when traveling for business.

Get peace of mind with Hotel Engine’s FlexPro, and modify, shorten or cancel any trip last-minute – without any penalties.

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How to Use a Corporate Hotel Code

Once your company has set up their corporate code with a particular hotel, using it to book a room is fairly simple. It typically only requires navigating to the hotel’s website, then finding the appropriate field where you can enter the code or account number.

Depending on your company size and participating hotels, you may need to take extra steps to authorize the corporate code and get a discounted rate; so be sure to discuss your travel and lodging plans with the appropriate person at your company prior to booking.

You may want to consider utilizing a Travel Management Company (TMC) that takes care of negotiations and authorizations on your behalf to save yourself some trouble. However, TMCs can be prohibitively expensive – especially for small- or medium-sized businesses. If you’re looking to save without sacrificing your options, a free hotel-booking platform (with business travel tools like direct billing) is a better bet. They’ll help you get some of the best corporate rates, too.

Can you use corporate codes at all properties?

Businesses typically negotiate with individual hotels and not an entire chain, which means that the availability of corporate codes vary greatly. While your code might work in Cleveland, for example, that same code won’t guarantee you get a better price in Atlanta. This means you’ll need to verify that a hotel accepts a specific code before you try using it.

Is it risky to use hotel corporate rates?

Just like discount codes for ecommerce sites, corporate hotel codes can often be found by searching online. While some of these may work — even without actual corporate affiliation — it’s a risky move that may very well result in you having to pay full price. Like mistake rates, faulty or invalid codes won’t get you very far.

Using an unaffiliated code or booking without verification means the hotel can deem that code invalid at check-in for a number of reasons. It might only apply to specific types of currently-unavailable rooms, or because they can’t confirm your affiliation with identification. If your code gets invalidated, you’ll likely pay a much higher walk-in rate for your room than if you booked ahead of time without any code at all.

Woman on the phone negotiating for a hotel rate

How to Negotiate for the Best Corporate Rate

While corporate codes are among the best rates available when looking for a hotel, securing a deal with a hotel is easier said than done. Unfortunately, many companies set up the rates and codes with a particular hotel, then never bother to verify that they’re actually receiving the best deal. This typically happens because negotiating the best possible rate can be both time-intensive and frustrating. Many businesses just don’t have the extra time or staff to spare searching for better deals and bargaining with hotels.

This is especially true if your company doesn’t have the right tools or support to empower negotiations. A manual, in-house process of contacting hotels and negotiating discounts just won’t cut it for most companies with frequent travelers.

To find out if you’re really getting the best rates, consider working with a lodging partner. Sophisticated tools can help you bypass the typical minimum discount codes, layer your rewards and immediately take advantage of pre-negotiated rates that land you big savings.

Use Corporate Hotel Codes to Your Advantage with Hotel Engine

Companies can save big when it comes to booking rooms for their employees with corporate hotel codes. Business travelers, administrators and coordinators can snag better prices without comparing room rates for every stay. But to guarantee the best corporate rates you need more than just a corporate code. You also need a partner to help you nail down the best deal without wasting any time.

Hotel Engine helps companies see greater cost savings and simplifies and streamlines workforce lodging. With business tools that function like a traditional travel management company (TMC) without the cost, Hotel Engine can help you save your bandwidth for other initiatives without sacrificing the best hotel rates.

Hotel Engine makes it easy to save on business lodging, without any negotiating.

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Article written by
Sara Kern

Sara Kern is a Copywriter at Hotel Engine. She worked as a writer in the tech and apparel industries for almost a decade before joining the HE family, but also has experience coordinating business travel for fast-moving nonprofits, so she knows firsthand how hard it can be. She joined Hotel Engine in 2022 and is excited to be a part of the movement to radically simplify trip management for everyone.

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