The Importance of Process in Your State Government Business Travel Lodging Program
Business travel lodging needs are very different across industries, and government travel is no different. With millions of dollars spent every year on lodging by state governments, it is imperative for your state and agencies to have the most effective, efficient processes and tools in place to book and manage lodging.
Current business travel lodging processes are costing states money
More often than not, the hotel booking process for government travelers is time-consuming and very manual.
Travelers need to look up the nightly GSA rates for their trip dates and zip code(s) and search the multitude of available sites to find hotel options with a nightly rate that complies with GSA. To make things more difficult, many consumer travel-booking sites don’t provide nightly rate break-outs and do not allow government travelers to search or easily filter for GSA compliance.
The traveler must then present the information they found to their manager for approval. And, with the length of the manager’s to-do list, it could take some time for them to approve the hotel room — meaning the hotel rates could very well change between the time the information is presented and when it is approved.
Once the traveler is finally able to secure a compliant hotel reservation, then comes the cumbersome payment and expense management process.
Administrators must track all of the lodging expenses for the agency travelers, and the traveler oftentimes does not have a card to use for booking the lodging. So, the agency is left with the added responsibility of sending along a virtual card for payment directly to hotel.
This manual process occurs hundreds of times for a wide variety business trips, and there is no set process or standard travel management tools in place across agencies. So, auditors are then left with the daunting task of reviewing chaotic and inefficient systems.
Due to the lack of standardization across agencies and states, the current processes do not give state government agencies any true measurement of value.
Technology is the answer
By implementing a tool like Hotel Engine that helps quickly find hotel properties at or below GSA rate, automates billing and auditing processes, and provides invaluable lodging program analytics and insights, state governments can save both taxpayer dollars and precious time.
Hotel Engine saves its government travelers an average of 17% below GSA rate — and there’s no cost to its members to use the platform. So, if a state government spends $15 million per year on business travel lodging, Hotel Engine could save them an average of over $2.5 million per year.
Additionally, it can take business travelers hours to sift through the hundreds of hotel-booking sites available, compare prices, read reviews, make sure the bookings comply with company policy, and more — all before actually completing the booking process.
In fact, recent data found that the average business traveler spends about 20 minutes just reading reviews before booking a hotel — all before actually completing the booking process.
While the Hotel Engine platform is filled with powerful hotel booking tools and invaluable company travel analytics and insights, it is simple and intuitive for members to use. In fact, Hotel Engine users typically book their hotel reservations in just 3 minutes or less!
Click here to learn more about how Hotel Engine supports state governments and their lodging programs.
This article was written by Steve Holtkamp, Chief Strategy Officer at Hotel Engine.