How to Get the Lowest Hotel Rates for Business Travel |

If this is the year that your business is taking a fresh look at reducing lodging costs, join the crowd.

A new survey of travel managers, conducted by Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s Travel Management Institute, puts optimizing hotel spend among the top priorities this year for the travel managers surveyed.

With industry experts forecasting hotel rate hikes this year, many companies are looking for better workforce travel savings and solutions. For many, the solution is putting a lodging savings card in the hands of their employees who travel.

It gives small business travelers access to the low hotel rates that are negotiated privately by lodging management providers for larger corporate clients.

The savings card is particularly aimed at businesses with workforce travelers, those employees who hit the road in boots – not suits – to get the job done. Typically, these travelers stay in economy and midscale hotels like Best Western, Hampton Inn, Ramada, Holiday Inn, Super 8 and Comfort Inn.

No More Bargain Rates
Having an advantage like a lodging savings card is more important than ever this year since hotel deals and bargains are going to be tougher to find.

The January 2011 forecast from PricewaterhouseCoopers said hotel prices will be 5.1 percent higher than last year, citing Smith Travel Research data. Colliers PKF Hospitality Research estimates a 4.6 percent rise.

These rising prices likely will make it tougher difficult for businesses – particularly small businesses –
to negotiate their own low rates.

Finding Privately Negotiated Rates
The key to getting the lowest hotel rates is having enough volume to negotiate a private rate. Small businesses usually are hampered by low volume, which drives the lower rate negotiations that larger companies and lodging management providers can achieve.

Unless a small business is targeting a location where it has 25 room nights or more a month, it can be difficult to get a private rate that is lower than other publicly available prices.

A lodging savings card provides access to those low negotiated rates at thousands of hotels. Many companies find their hotel savings are dramatic, including companies that save thousands of dollars a year.

Savings Card Advantages
The card works particularly well for per diem and seasonal travelers since there is no annual fee or minimal usage requirements.
A company signs up for the card and registers a credit card for billing. Company travelers present the card at check-in to the front desk at any of thousands of participating hotel locations.

The hotel sends the stay details to the lodging management provider that provides the savings card, who then bills the registered credit card.

An invoice statement is posted to the savings card online account, where the company can review it for easy credit card reconciliation. That means no more tracking down hotel receipts or playing detective work with purchase orders.

More than 10,000 smaller companies from the trucking, retail, staffing, energy, food service and other industries already are saving every day.

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