Tips for Negotiating Better Corporate Travel Rates for Your Organization 

by Josh Biggs in Business, Tips on 11th November 2022

Now that many of us are starting to travel again after the height of the global pandemic, businesses need to re-evaluate their corporate travel spending and consider if they need to update policies, cut back on expenses, or make other changes. 

You might be keen to try and keep travel costs as low as possible right now, especially with all the talk of a looming recession. If so, it pays to talk to travel vendors about negotiating the best deals on things like flights, accommodation, and car hire. Here are some tips to help you boost your results. 

Know What You’re Trying to Achieve

Start by clarifying what you’re trying to achieve with your negotiations. Before you begin conversations about changing pricing or terms, determine if you’re looking for percentage discounts on rates, deals for booking more stays or flights per year, reduced rates if you pay bills earlier than the due date, or other preferable terms and conditions. 

The clearer you are on what you see as a win, the easier it will be to know what to concentrate on when you negotiate with travel providers. 

Centralize Bookings

It can significantly impact your negotiating strength with travel companies if you centralize bookings. If your organization functions across numerous branches or subsidiaries or has franchised outlets or other offices or locations, take steps to get all the travel bookings done centrally. This might happen at head office or one specific site. 

Doing so can create excellent economies of scale. Set up a global consolidation strategy and take advantage of the larger number of rooms, cars, flights, etc., you can book. Vendors will therefore see you as a higher-value account and will be more likely to try harder to negotiate favorable rates or payment terms. Strength in numbers can go a long way when you’re keen to negotiate. 

Foster Relationships with Vendors

Next, find ways to foster better relationships with the vendors you book with to have a better chance of being offered lowered prices or other better terms. Take time to build a genuine rapport and get to know the people you’re dealing with. This way, when you’re ready to go to them and ask for better options, your contacts will be more likely to listen and try to make something work for you. 

There are multiple ways you can build these relationships. For example, ensure vendor invoices get paid on time – using helpful travel spend management software can help with this, as can other streamlined digital accounting tools. Be polite and friendly in your dealings and give positive feedback when appropriate. Also, try not to put too much stress on people to rush booking arrangements or to give you and your team constantly better rooms or seats, vehicles to hire, etc. 

Consider Different Types of Benefits and Perks

Another tip for getting more out of travel-related negotiations is to be open to benefits and perks that go beyond just lower-cost bookings. For example, you can make your employees happy by negotiating to get room upgrades and inclusions on every booking or to obtain access to the latest, most comfortable vehicles when borrowing cars from rental agencies. 

You might set up a standard of business class flights for all trips over a specific length or ask for all workers to receive a bigger check-in luggage allowance. These things might not cut costs for you upfront, but they can help save you cash over the long run. You’ll have happier, more refreshed, and therefore more productive and committed employees and likely fewer expense claims to process, too. 

Take Advantage of Loyalty Schemes and Rewards Programs

It’s also worth taking advantage of loyalty schemes and rewards programs to enjoy better rates for corporate travel. If you typically book with the same hotel chain, airline, or car rental agency, look at their websites or other collateral to see if they have any loyalty offerings you can sign your business up for. You should get better rates and discounts for participating in their rewards program if they do. 

The benefits of such loyalty offerings vary from provider to provider but can include late check-outs, complimentary mini-bar use, no-cost delivery of rental cars to airports or train stations, free extra days of car rental, or lowered insurance excesses, among other things. 

Follow all the tips above to help you generate significant savings for your firm over the coming months and years. 

Categories: Business Tips