Using consumer websites to search for the cheapest hotel rates is “misleading” for business travellers, according to HRS.
The hotel booking specialist has released a white paper, called Lowering the BAR, which includes advice on how travel buyers can secure the most appropriate deals with hotels, using both dynamic or “spot” prices, as well as traditional negotiated rates.
Jon West, HRS UK managing director, said the research “reiterated” how the crucial factor for buyers was not to find the cheapest room rate, but to identify the best hotel with the “lowest acceptable” price which also met the key criteria of corporate travel policy.
He said: “Corporates require the best of both worlds – a choice of hotels to meet travellers’ needs at the lowest price, bearing in mind booking conditions.
“The lowest rate may not be the most cost-effective rate as negotiated rates often include airport or local transportation, breakfast, internet, parking and other amenities.”
West added that, according to the white paper, business travellers should not be allowed to “waste their own or the company’s time looking around for the cheapest hotel” because it reduced their productivity.
He said: “Increased transparency of public rates through the OTAs and price comparison websites has driven corporate misunderstanding of rate types.”
HRS said that employee productivity will increase when buyers find the “right channel” for hotel bookings.
The white paper said: “Even if the company maverick can find a lower rate five times in every 100 bookings, that saving will be decimated by the productivity lost as a result, and the rate secured will probably not be cancellable, thereby risking further charges.”
HRS added that these charges “can soon add up” when around one in six corporate bookings are either cancelled or changed.
The company’s advice for finding the best rates includes ensuring hotel content is bookable and drives compliance to policy, and having content that is available through a “low-cost” channel.