Five Top Corporate Travel Sales & Marketing Tactics

By Venkat Rajagopal Professor, Pacific International Hotel Management School | June 18, 2010

Corporate or business travellers, though fewer in numbers are a very lucrative segment of the accommodation sector. It is estimated that 34 to 35% of the hotel revenue is generated by corporate travellers. The accommodation managers must be able to understand this properly and use necessary sales and marketing tactics to attract this segment to the maximum extent possible, to achieve good yield per room occupied. The author in this article has identified five (5) top tactics to attract this segment which are, Offering Competitive Corporate Rates, Good Service, Added Facilities, Home Away from Home Concept, Relationship Marketing coupled with a good understanding that corporate is not necessarily multi national or conglomerate...

Corporate or business travellers as they are known though fewer in numbers, make use of hotel accommodation more than other segments of travellers. Hotel managers must be able to identify this segment and tailor their products and services accordingly so that they can increase the room occupancy and the yield. Corporate travellers belong to a very broad segment and are much sought after by most accommodation providers, irrespective of how big or small a group they are. This is because the needs and objectives of corporate travellers are greater compared to other segments of the hotel such as free individual traveller, packages, charter groups etc. Corporate events and meetings are held throughout the year involving as few as fifty to sixty attendees for a mini workshop, to more than one thousand attendees (stake holders) for an annual general meeting. The decision making authorities in a corporate sector involve less people, thereby the decisions are taken very rapidly since it does not involve a group of individuals as compared to big association. Corporate planners are mostly concerned about the quality of the rooms, service, facilities and their ability to negotiate a good corporate rate.

When people think about travel, what comes to mind immediately is taking a break from the routine, checking into a hotel to relax by the side of the pool, or explore new places and culture in order to return back home refreshed. In short, people tend to equate tourism with leisure travel. However there is another side to travel and accommodation. Corporate or Business travel covers everything from a medical or sales representative, to government agencies, NGO's, and entertainment companies going abroad to shoot films in a foreign location. All have become a part and parcel of the term "Corporate traveller". It is wrong to presume that corporate travellers only belong to multi national companies or conglomerates. It could be a sole trader or even a single partner of a partnership firm. These people travel for various purposes either to sign a contract for a new business or to terminate the existing contract. They may attend a seminar, conference, visit a trade exhibition or to find a suitable location to shoot a big budget film. The type of accommodation ranging from staying in a bed and breakfast to corporate magnates staying in five star deluxe hotels. It is wrong to surmise that since the segment of corporate or business travellers are less in number compared to other segments, they bring less revenue. While 80% of the hotel revenue is generated by 20% of its customers, it is estimated that 34 to 35% of the hotel revenue is generated by business travellers.

Offer Competitive Corporate Rates

Corporate travellers do not owe their allegiance to any particular group or segment of a hotel or accommodation. Most hotels offer a competitive rate to companies to lure them to come and stay with them, with the result most hotels offer such rates to any one and sundry who requests for corporate rate, irrespective whether such a customer is really corporate oriented or not? The star graded hotels which enjoy the privilege of corporate guests will have to be more competitive both in terms of rates and the services it offers to the corporate travellers. The corporate travellers are most sought after segment in the industry because they pay a rate which is more than the group rate. The revenue generated from this segment is not only restricted to room rate but also the revenue generated from food and beverage, laundry, business centre facilities , health club facilities etc.

The current trend is, small and budget hotels have also started targeting the corporate traveller segment. What is even more significant is the multinational companies and corporate giants have started to make use of small and budget hotels for their staff simply for the reason that such hotels are lower priced, equally competitive , but at the same time not lacking in service that is usually expected out of a star hotel. When the whole world is reeling under recession, the corporations are looking at all means to save as much as possible by purchasing accommodation and service at as lower price as possible. Since the economic recovery is a slow process it is unlikely that corporate rates will be increased by any accommodation provider, until the demand is strengthened. In a situation like this the corporate travellers will not only try to keep the rates at low level but also negotiate further on the house discounts such as free airport transfers, bed to including breakfast etc. Times have changed the philosophy of accommodation sector. They have to change for the better since the star hotels are no longer able to dictate the price.

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