How to Get Corporate Rates and Discounts on Hotels for Your Business
If your company generates a lot of business travel expenses, corporate discounts on lodging can net you significant savings. Each discount may not seem substantial on its own, but they add up over the year.
Making a profit is the bottom line of every business, no matter how big or small. So when you find ways to save money, like with corporate discounts, it makes smart financial sense to include them in your regular processes.
Did you know you can negotiate rates and use other strategies to boost the value of your dollar?
Once you learn the tricks of the trade, you’ll be able to land discounts effortlessly on hotels. You’ll be maximizing points to get free stuff on bookings you were making anyway.
This article has all the details you need to start saving money today.
1. How Corporate Rates Work
When you understand the premise behind corporate rates, you’ll know how to approach the negotiation table.
Hotels, car rentals, airlines and travel agencies offer corporate rates as a way to attract workforce business — particularly medium-to-large corporations.
The idea behind hotels offering discounts to big companies is that those organizations will use the deals often enough that the greater amount of bookings will make up for the lower rates. Gaining recurring bookings from a business client can be very lucrative for a hotel, so it’s in their benefit to make themselves an attractive option to book.
Hotels Want Your Business, Even at a Discount
It’s the same mathematical principle used by any business that offers bulk sales:
When you get enough of a quantity sold for an amount slightly higher than your cost, you end up with a profit.
Typically, hotels will offer a general 10% discount on available public rates. This small concession attracts repeat guests and word-of-mouth referrals.
2. Using a Platform for the Best Rates
Discount rates are applied using predetermined codes. In the hotel industry, these booking codes are created for different companies to give them the best prices based on certain factors.
For instance, a company that could bring a lot of revenue to the hotel would be able to negotiate a better discount code than a small business with few employees.
The codes are supplied by the employee, manager or authorized person when they book their lodging. The general rate is then adjusted accordingly. However, if you know how to work around the system, you may be able to find better “codes” than your company’s rate can give you.
Hotel Engine’s Deeply Discounted Negotiation System
What booking sites are you currently using to find the best rates for your travelers?
Chances are, you’re not getting the greatest discounts possible — unless you have serious leverage and lots of negotiation finesse.
That’s what you get when you use Hotel Engine.
Unlike other booking tools that go a mile wide and an inch deep with multiple travel needs, Hotel Engine focuses on one thing:
Getting the best hotel rates for business clients, at the most properties worldwide.
By crowdsourcing demand from a large network of small and medium-sized businesses, they provide access to discounts that are otherwise only available to the Fortune 500. Hotel Engine offers rates that are up to 60% lower than what is publicly available.
And once you get those deep discounts, the HE Rewards program allows you to double up your rewards points with hotels’ brand-specific loyalty programs, which we’ll discuss in detail later.
The savings don’t even stop there. When you use your credit card to pay for your bookings, you may be eligible for even more perks.
3. Using Your Credit Card for Corporate Discounts
How you pay for your rooms makes a massive difference, as well. Your organization likely qualifies for business credit cards that offer cash back or perks for using them. The more you spend, the better the perks.
As long as you don’t allow too much interest to accrue on your card balance, the perks and financial incentives become a profit.
Using Credit Cards for Hotel Bookings
One thing to consider when using credit cards for corporate bookings is the increased possibility of fraud.
When multiple people have access to a company credit card or account, it’s challenging to keep the security under control. Hotel Engine takes care of this obstacle with its virtual credit cards.
Hotel Engine helps you give employees control over their bookings while still maintaining fraud protection by assigning virtual business cards to each employee.
These cards link back to your original corporate card. When it’s time to put together your monthly invoice, all the bookings under those cards are assigned to your company. That way, you can pay off your invoice with your business credit card, gaining points for one large transaction rather than many smaller ones.
The key to maximizing your credit card use perks is to sign up for cards that provide rewards you’ll use. Cash back, travel discounts and free hotel rooms on business trips are great benefits that every company can incorporate into their travel policy.
4. Discounts, Layered Rewards and Extra Points
Does your current booking system let you layer your rewards?
You’ll know this for sure when you get to the checkout screen. Most programs have a discount code option that limits you to one code per booking, and you have to pick and choose to find the best available rates.
There are general discount promotions available to anyone, and then there are reduced rates for members only.
Some common hotel discounts include:
- Military or veteran discounts
- Senior discounts
Hotel Engine bypasses the usual minimum discount codes, going straight for the special rates that net you big savings. Once you have the hotel corporate codes at checkout, you can double your rewards with your hotel-specific loyalty number.
Between the layering rewards and your credit card perks, the potential for savings is substantial.
5. Other Indirect Savings From Using the Right System
Analyzing the profit and loss of your hotel bookings is part of how you tell if your travel management system is working efficiently. You’ll also get other indirect savings when you use the right strategy.
Streamlining your workflow and processes makes everything else fall into place. The differences show up in daily productivity, resulting in money saved outside of the hotel charges.
The Right Booking Platform Creates a Ripple Effect of Savings
In most companies, the steps to booking a trip for team member travel isn’t a simple matter of “pick a hotel and reserve a few dozen rooms.” There’s a lot more involved in the job, and most of it lands on your shoulders. This can change when you use the right booking platform.
Juggling multiple hotel reservations can be a headache, but not when using Hotel Engine. The platform puts everything you need in one centralized location.
As an admin, you can:
- Access inventory features
- Set filters around travel policies
- Review and change reservations
- Handle financials from your dashboard
- Download travel trend reports to analyze expenditure
Let’s look at booking lodging for a large group of your employees and how the system you use to do the job affects each step.
Micromanaging Vs. Stepping Out of the Picture
How many hours do you spend micromanaging each person’s booking; ensuring their travel itineraries are in line?
Ready to put the reins in other people’s hands and give yourself some free time?
Creating custom fields for receipt tracking and establishing individual user controls allows you to empower travelers to book directly, while ensuring that all bookings will be within your budget and receipt tracking will align with your company’s unique system of organization.
Membership includes a dedicated 24/7 customer support team based in the U.S., available to help with reservations and any needs during your stay.
Using Hotel Engine’s travel policies, you can put the hassle of those individual issues safely into the hands of the employee, freeing you up to do your other work.
Each person can handle their own schedule and travel arrangements. If there’s a discrepancy or something needs altering, you don’t need to get in the middle. They can go straight to their login or contact customer service at Hotel Engine directly.
Individual Payments Vs. Direct Billing
Reconciling travel expenditure is another major task for many administrators. Typical lodging platforms require a lot of manual labor to gather receipts, code them correctly and pay off multiple credit cards.
Direct billing with Hotel Engine is a better way. With this billing program, you’ll have the option to bundle all your bookings on a single line of credit and pay them off in one convenient monthly invoice.
Direct billing compiles all bookings into one invoice. Once you set the filters up under your corporate account, you can let go of the control and let each person book their rooms themselves on a single line of credit from Hotel Engine.
You’ll save countless internal hours on:
- Itemizing charges
- Sorting through receipts
- Logging in and paying for each room
- Auditing expenses
Payment happens at one time rather than individually. This positive impact extends through your role, your employees’ booking experience and the accounting department.
These two small changes to your travel management system will result in significant cost-saving benefits as soon as you sign up.
Hotel Engine even makes it easy to understand how much you’re spending on travel (and how much you’re saving with their exclusive discounts). The admin dashboard offers many opportunities for you to gain insight into your spending and any trends in the booking choices. You can easily download reports for your finance team and accountants.
Hotel Engine even provides training for account administrators and coordinators to ensure that you can access all the benefits that maximize your profits.
You may also like: 6 Tips for Getting Your Employees Onboarded with Hotel Engine
Whether you’re trying to ensure the most profit or the best team member experience with your corporate travel booking, we have you covered. You don’t have to sacrifice quality to enjoy the best discounts possible.
Save more money with your new knowledge of layering rewards programs and corporate credit card perks. Start piling up your points and earning free hotel stays and other benefits today.
Ready to get started? Just head to Hotel Engine and sign up for a free account. We’ll do the hard work for you.
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.