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21 Mar 2016

Straight from the horse's mouth - what really keeps travel managers awake at night

Last week we ran a very cool thought leadership event in Sydney as part of our Best Rate of the Day campaign. The event featured 5 speakers: Bryon Merzeo from Deloitte who talked about supply and demand issues in the Australian hotel market, Lisa Akeroyd from CWT who talked about the buying behaviour of millennials, Georgie Farmer from Microsoft who talked about the changing world of hotel procurement, Bond Leung from Airbnb and David Peller from The speakers provided a range of perspectives into the world of hotel procurement and the ever-important role that technology is having on the way the market functions.

The event was attended by procurement managers from some of the largest organisations across Australia, who provided feedback throughout the event via real-time polling software, accessed via a phone browser. More than $500m of corporate travel spend was represented in the room, so the feedback matters.

Here are some key outtakes from the polling: 

11% said "Yes it’s a concern"

56% said "Yes"

33% said "Probably not"

No one said "No"

With the predicted shortage in accommodation in the major cities across Australia, Procurement Managers’ jobs are going to get harder and they will need to look to their supply chain partners to help them continue to get the Best Rate of the Day.

40% said "1-5% increase"

30% said "5-10% increase"

10% said "10%-20% increase"

It’s clear that corporate travel is growing and in so doing contributing to the shortage of accommodation in the major cities. With leisure travel also on the increase - particularly from Asia, Sydney is expected to exceed 90% occupancy during the weeks. 

38% said "Yes, it’s a vital component"

54% said "Yes, it will help"

8% disagreed and said "No, it will not be helpful"

With personalisation high on the agenda for Procurement Managers it needs to be a key focus for everyone participating in the travel supply chain. It is indeed something we’re looking at very carefully and is a space where mobility has a great deal of value to add.

55% said "Yes"

36% said "Somewhat"

9% said "No"

There's no doubt that hotel leakage matters and that technology providers and TMCs need to be working harder to help corporates address this issue. The good news is that there’s much that technology can deliver in this space and indeed our Best Rate tech is well placed to help.

74% said "A lot"

27% said "Some emphasis"

No one said "No"

So, it’s clear that duty of care/health and safety is registering as an important topic for corporate travel procurement professionals and one where the industry has some catching up to do, as the laws and regulations change.

27% said "Company policy"

55% said "Duty of Care concerns"

18% said "No barriers" 

It's clear that with a shortage of accommodation in major cities, Procurement Managers are going to have to get creative, but with Health and Safety such a big deal Airbnb still has a way to go before it can challenge the incumbents in the corporate hotel space.

57% said "No, so long as it's within the guidelines of our managed travel policy"

43% said "yes, we only allow bookings via the GDS so that we achieve volumes required for our negotiated rate"

The interesting insight here is that buyers want the flexibility to book via any supplier (because of increased inventory and more pricing options), just as long as they can aggregate all the bookings for a given property/chain together for the purposes of negotiating volume discounts. With all the different suppliers aggregated through a tool like Best Rate of The Day, this is now perfectly achievable.

We'd like to thank everyone that attended our event and indeed everyone that gave up their time to speak. It was a great success and we learned some really valuable insights from it.

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