It’s hard to read the news lately without seeing headlines about shrinking GDP, trade war impacts, and lower employment trends. Although the joke goes that economists have predicted six of the last two recessions, the fact is that we are undoubtedly on the tail end of the longest economic expansion in the past century — and businesses should begin preparing themselves for more difficult times in the not too distant future.
In the world of business travel planning, your company may be able to digest expensive booking fees, agent assist fees, consulting fees, and any other number of fees with a promise of behavioral savings in the future. For those not using anything, you may not be aware that a solution without fees exists to save you money on every booking no matter the volume.
In both situations, it’s important to think about what happens in the next downturn and whether or not your service provider — or lack thereof — is going to allow your business to continue moving forward. Because, in an ideal state, you thrive through the next downturn — and Hotel Engine is there to help.
Top things to keep in mind when selecting a vendor
Contracts: At this point in the economic cycle, we would not recommend entering into a contract with a vendor that is greater than two years — with an ideal length of one year or no contract at all. This allows you to renegotiate or change if there is a fluctuation in the economy. At Hotel Engine, we don’t require any contracts or minimum spend, which provides our customers with maximum flexibility to do what is right for their businesses.
Pricing: Things get cheaper during economic downturns, and travel is no different. Are you in a place to take advantage? Will the fees you pay in your contract eat up savings passed on by the travel provider? Are you even using a solution that can allow you to take advantage of lower prices? Hotel Engine is a consortium of businesses leveraging their combined buying power to provide our members the best rate with no booking fees or agent assist fees. We are saving our customers up to 60% off publicly available hotel rates. Imagine where that money could go during tough times when hotels want and need your business even more. You just need to be in a place to take advantage.
Understand your spending: Do you know exactly what you’re spending and where on your business travel? Knowing this very basic information will help you define and implement better travel policies and update them in an ongoing fashion. The Hotel Engine platform helps you better understand your spending and add your custom policies right into your company account. When things change quickly, you will be able to act quickly and change policies because the information will be at your fingertips in our platform.
Manage your cash flow: For qualified customers, we become your CFO’s best friend through our Direct Bill feature. Managing cash flow couldn’t be more important than during a downturn. With Direct Bill, we allow your business to drive more value and stability in its cash — because we pay for your stays upfront and bill you on a monthly or bi-weekly basis.
Be prepared no matter what in your business travel planning
During the financial crisis of 2008, one large bank CEO famously stated, “When the music stops, in terms of liquidity, things will be complicated. But as long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance.”
The problem with that statement was that no one really knew when the music would stop playing — and without adequate planning, you could be the one caught without a chair the next time the music stops. At Hotel Engine, we are here to use our platform and expertise to help you continue to dance — music or not.
Click here to learn more about how Hotel Engine can enhance your business travel lodging program.
This article was written by Steve Holtkamp, Chief Strategy Officer at Hotel Engine.