More than half of UK CTMs say hidden costs a deciding factor

Meetings and events specialist Cvent has published its brand new 2020 Cvent Travel Managers’ Report – UK Edition. The report reveals the factors which corporate travel managers place the most value on when finding and negotiating hotels for their corporate travel programmes. And 51% declare that hidden costs are a key element to removing a property from its business travel solutions.

The study also reveals the increasing impact star ratings and venue reviews have on sourcing decisions, whilst uncovering new or growing challenges such as environmental sustainability and employee safety, or duty of care.  The study was based on a survey of 200 UK travel managers conducted in early January 2020.

“Support the changing needs of CTMs”

“Corporate travel managers are leveraging more external resources to make decisions and have more complex concerns than ever before,” said Chris McAndrews, vice president of marketing for Cvent Hospitality Cloud. “They also have more complex roles. Eighty six % of respondents are responsible for not only organising travel but also sourcing venues for their company’s meetings and events. There is a strong call to action for hotels to address these concerns and support the changing needs of CTMs in order to secure more MICE business.”

Additional study highlights include:

CTMs are concerned about supplier transparency during the sourcing and negotiation processes

o   38% said lack of transparency on the part of hotels and venues when quoting pricing is their top challenge when negotiating with hotels. 

o   51% said that hidden costs not stated during negotiations is a top reason for excluding or removing hotels from their travel programmes 

o   Other top challenges include: Hotel chain managers not relaying information from negotiations to their individual hotels, rate increases versus prior RFP season are above city or benchmark average, and poor service (pre and post stay).

Importance of Last Room Availability (LRA) increases for larger travel programmes

o   More than half (51%) of CTMs said LRA is essential if hotels want to be included in their hotel programme, but differences arise when broken down by generation.

o   34% of UK travel managers booking under 500 rooms per year per hotel said that they prefer LRA compared to 80% of those booking 10,001+. 

CTMs anticipate larger 2020 budgets and are expanding their travel programme options

o   49% of respondents plan to increase the number of hotels in their travel programmes, whilst another 49% also plan to increase room nights.

o   61% of CTMs plan to support employee travel to countries not previously in their programmes.

o   Nearly 75% of CTMs will incorporate new regions into their travel programmes.

Shifting priorities add complexity to the CTM role and sourcing process

o   Respondents ranked environmental sustainability as their third biggest challenge for 2020, behind only staying within budget and duty of care (employee safety), which are tied for first. It is ahead of more traditional CTM challenges including employees booking outside their travel programme, and data privacy and security.

o   Star ratings and reviews are nearly as important as amenities and rates when it comes to the key considerations when selecting a hotel for a travel programme.

o   A hotel’s corporate social responsibility programme may impact a CTM’s venue selection. 

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