New research by HRS, The Hotel Solutions Provider, looking into the needs, pains and wants of Irish travel buyers and procurement managers, concludes that cost reduction and traveller satisfaction is a high priority when putting together travel policies.
Commissioned by HRS and conducted by independent agency Circle Research, the survey polled procurement and travel managers as well as travel bookers with an influence on travel policies at companies across Ireland.
The research found that over two-thirds of those surveyed said that minimising travel costs and spend was a main objective when booking hotels, with 55% saying that the lack of hotels at the right price was one of their top three frustrations when sourcing accommodation. Meanwhile, 52% said that finding the lowest possible room rate was a key factor that they looked for from their hotel provider.
Delving deeper into the need for companies to reduce costs, the survey also revealed that more flexibility is needed from accommodation providers; nearly half polled said that free cancellation up to 6pm on the day of arrival was one of the key things they look for from a provider of booking services.
Jon West, Managing Director of HRS for the UK and Ireland, said: “This survey has provided real insight into the needs and wants of the Irish corporate travel buyers. Not only are we able to work with hoteliers to address some of these areas to meet the needs of bookers, but the survey also revealed that the current economic situation is pulling companies in different directions, with some companies experiencing growth in hotel budgets, while almost as many are experiencing a decline. Hotels and hotel providers alike therefore need to keep this in mind as they look at negotiating rates with clients.”
Looking at traveller satisfaction, over half said that making sure booking methods were easy to use was a main objective when booking hotels, with 54% saying that the lack of hotels in the right location was one of their top three frustrations.
Tellingly however, while cost was of primary importance to travel policy-makers, bookers’ hotel choice was ultimately made based on location; 78% said that a hotel’s location was the most important factor when deciding on hotel choice, showing that traveller convenience should be a key consideration. When making a booking, 62% focused on the proximity to the meeting place, 11% cared about the hotel’s proximity to air/rail, and the rest (5%) took into consideration the distance from the city centre. Despite cost being a key factor, only 8% felt that a hotel’s overall package/value for money was the most important factor in hotel choice.
Jon added: “I was particularly interested to see that only 4% polled said that the fact the hotel is preferred by their organisation was the most important factor in hotel choice; this could leave companies open to risk of leakage from their travel policies and reduce compliance. As a take home, I would therefore urge those responsible for hotel bookings to make this a key priority to address when reviewing their company’s sourcing strategy to ensure that their hotels best meet the needs of their employees.”