By Alicia Olson, Director, Customer Success
Smarter sourcing begins with understanding market conditions, internal drivers for travel, and specific needs across stakeholder groups.
For many travel teams hotel sourcing can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. The secret to successful sourcing is preparation. Getting a clear view of your program’s past performance and establishing future goals from the outset means you can realize better savings and source the right properties to fit your program profile. Preparing for sourcing begins with understanding market conditions, internal drivers for travel, and specific needs across stakeholder groups. To take a holistic approach to your sourcing strategy, look at these three key areas:
1. Historical performance
Dive into your data for the complete story of how your preferred hotels performed over time. How often are you actually getting your negotiated rate or better? Is the negotiated rate consistently available to travelers? Are extremely expensive properties lurking among your listings? Are travelers confused by this and making decisions that could be detrimental to company savings goals?
Rate availability and rate competitiveness are key to maintaining a competitive hotel program. Once you have the answers to these questions, it’s easy to identify which properties within your preferred program are not performing. If necessary, you may need to shift share away from these properties by encouraging a change in booking behavior.
2. Traveler sentiment
To evaluate the traveler experience, it’s important to gather feedback on your hotel program. Ask yourself: Does the property mix reflect traveler preferences and their feedback? Are they being expected to continue booking properties that performed poorly in the past?
If your overall goal is traveler choice and satisfaction, you may be better off offering fewer preferred options. Consider using a market rate target while keeping the number of hotels you source to a minimum.
Are there key sustainability factors in your hotel selection? Carbon emissions should not be the only factor you consider when building a sustainability strategy for your hotel program.
It’s important to look at other features like energy and water consumption, eco-certifications, market tier and more to determine which properties align with your sustainability goals. For example, did you know that by staying in a resort you can use up to twice the amount of water of a regular hotel room?
In the past, hotel sourcing may have felt like repeatedly ticking the same boxes in an established process and hoping for the best. Now, travel teams and stakeholders can bring significant change by being better educated about the travel program’s strengths and opportunities, challenging historic rates that aren’t netting the best results and not hesitating to walk away from rates that don’t best serve the travel program’s success, traveler experiences and company goals.