How to book a hotel to get what you want
If you think that having access to different rates through online booking sites gives you a world of options when it comes to booking a hotel for your corporate travel, you obviously haven’t worked with a Travel Manager from Flight Centre Business Travel (FCBT).
Michaela Pound, National Product Leader at FCBT, says that there’s so much more to booking a hotel for your work trip than securing the cheapest rate: “Flexibility, loyalty points and the perks that come with corporate travel, such as express check-in and value-adds, are also important to corporate travellers.”
Here, Michaela breaks down the different ways to book hotels to ensure you get what you really want.
Use buying power to get customised rates
Customised rates are negotiated specifically for a business, using their buying power to maximise value for money. If you know that you’ll use a large number of room nights over the year, such as 100 or 150, your FCBT Travel Manager can negotiate a custom rate with a hotel to secure your booking.
Michaela says hotels will come to the party with a good deal to lock in your spend with them: “Hotels want your business, especially if you can guarantee that you’ll use so many room nights over the year. Through negotiating on your behalf, we can secure not only a great rate but often value-adds such as breakfast as well.”
SmartSTAY rates are a win-win
If you don’t have the buying power to secure customised rates, but you still want all the benefits of corporate travel, SmartSTAY might be your best option. SmartSTAY is our exclusive hotel program full of perks to make your business travel more comfortable and convenient.
FCBT’s SmartSTAY rates also include up to three value-adds, including free WiFi, free breakfast and another value-add such as free room-upgrade, early check-in or late check-out. It’s a win-win, says Michaela: “Using FCBT’s own buying power, we access great rates and provide value-adds to ensure you can still travel with all the benefits.”
Get maximum flexibility with consortia rates
Consortia rates are set by hotels, often when they need to sell rooms but are willing to offer a level of flexibility. Hotels manage these rates through the global distribution system only accessed by travel agents and travel management companies. Meaning: if you’re looking for a good rate with tonnes of flexibility, you’ll need to book through your FCBT Travel Manager.
The discounts and add-ons might not be as good as other options, but these rates make up for it with flexibility, says Michaela: "Consortia rates are a great option for corporates because they offer flexibility to make changes or cancellations up to the day of travel, including full refunds in some cases."
Loyalty is rewarded with promotional rates
If you’re a member of a hotel loyalty program, exclusive promotional rates are just one of the benefits you’ll have access to. Discounts can be upwards of 50% and with access to pre-sale rooms, the flexibility to make changes and loyalty status points, this can be a great option.
Your FCBT Travel Manager can access the same ‘sale’ rates that you might see advertised by your preferred hotel, plus provide the benefits that come from booking through FCBT, says Michaela: "We're actually able to access your loyalty program and book on your behalf, which means you get all the benefits of being a loyal customer with your preferred hotel chain plus the flexibility of our booking system and a consolidated itinerary.”
Conditional rates are budget-friendly
If cheap rates are all you’re really after, you’ll get what you’re looking for with conditional rates. Ideal for last-minute corporate travel bookings and those who know they won’t need to make any changes, conditional rates will cost less, but won’t come with the flexibility or corporate travel perks of other options.
We’ll book the same rate as what you can find in an online travel booking website, but give you the benefits of booking through FCBT, says Michaela: “We can manage your whole itinerary, provide assistance and emergency support if you need to change flights or update your booking.”
So, which option is best for you?
Whether you’re after a custom rate, value-adds, flexibility, loyalty points or the cheapest rates – or you can be swayed by perks – there’s a booking option with features that will suit your needs.
Rather than assume what your needs are, we’ll work with you to find the right option, says Michaela: “We always present different options, with rates just being one consideration. For example, one hotel might be $100 but another might be $120 plus breakfast plus flexibility; it really depends what’s important to the traveller.”
Have an upcoming work trip? Talk to your FCBT Travel Manager about your needs and they’ll recommend the best options for you.