RoomIt, the hotel distribution business of CWT (the B2B4E travel management platform), does not support the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) statement endorsing the postponement of 2020 hotel RFP amid the coronavirus pandemic.
We agree that partnerships between buyers and suppliers will be pivotal to the future success of the business travel industry, however RoomIt believes that those partnerships should facilitate the negotiation of appropriate rates and safety procedures in a post-COVID-19 world:
- Rates that reflect the current market conditions will be crucial to ensure business travel can resume once restrictions are lifted.
- It is unrealistic to assume that programs negotiated for 2020 will still make sense in a post COVID-19 world.
- Undetermined reopening dates, capacity changes, social distancing, and new cleaning rules may all now play a part in considerations.
Duty of care will now be a top priority of RFP negotiations to ensure that new cleaning and hygiene practices will safeguard travelers:
- Hotels need to establish that their new protocols will address heightened health and safety concerns as buyers revise their programs.
- Travel managers need to re-evaluate their programs to best-manage the post crisis environment.
RoomIt recommends these six steps for companies to prepare for their 2021 programs:
- Start negotiations later than usual as hotels become available again for discussion.
- Minimize the number of hotels in your program to a limited selection of strategic properties.
- Use fixed rates to protect against rising price environment.
- Use RoomIt Rates for the longer tail.
- Continually manage and monitor the new program.
- Review and optimize programs on a quarterly basis.