UK And European Hospitality Industry Will Have To Evolve To Meet New Requirements Of Corporate Travel Industry In The Post-Pandemic Era

Valuable insights from the Cvent 2021 Travel Managers Report reveal that the hospitality industry will need to adapt and evolve its practices to support the changing travel and event planning requirements from corporate travel managers (CTMs) in the post-pandemic era.

Cvent, a market-leading meetings, events, and hospitality technology provider, commissioned an independent research company, Censuswide, to survey industry professionals from Europe in the first quarter of 2021. This report is based on the survey responses from more than 500 CTMs from the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Netherlands. Respondents are responsible for sourcing hotels for their organisation’s travel programme.

CTMs across the UK and Europe stated that for future sourcing of venues, stringent health and safety protocols (including COVID-19 tests at the hotel), larger rooms better equipped for working and meetings, and more outdoor space will be key considerations. As such, hoteliers looking to capitalise on the RFP opportunities in 2021 and 2022 will need to focus on these areas in their sales and marketing efforts, and negotiations.

Hoteliers will also need to adapt pre-pandemic corporate programme strategies and offer more flexible pricing models, as more than half of CTMs in the UK and Europe (58%) stated that they will request dual or dynamic rates during their negotiations for 2022 bookings. Corporate travel bookings will also require negotiated amenities such as Last Room Availability, late arrival, and cancellation policies.

Diana Marin Acosta, SVP Sales and Distribution, NH Hotel Group said: “At NH Hotel Groups we foresaw the need and opportunity to be able to adjust our pricing model more quickly, in order to react to market demand and hotel industry trend behaviours. For that reason, we pioneered the implementation of an ‘open pricing’ revenue model strategy, which we called Open Corporate Rates, providing NH with a competitive advantage. NH Hotel Group’s Open Corporate Rate enables us to offer clients the best price in market by adjusting rates according to demand and occupancy levels. Together with Cvent we are able to provide our client’s the ability to introduce hybrid travel programmes and dual rate loading (fix rate + open corporate rate) via the Cvent Transient RFP Platform.”

Other report highlights include:
Increase in business travel levels in second half of 2021

  • Overall, more than a third of UK CTMs (35%) indicated that they expect travel to return to 2019 levels between June-December 2021 with nearly half (46%) of CTMs from the Netherlands indicating their organisations are keen to resume business travel.
  • The majority (83%) of respondents from the United States stated that they are likely to increase their travel volume to Europe, suggesting that Europe remains an important destination for US business travel.

Need for hotels to clearly communicate enhanced COVID/Duty of Care protocols to CTMs

  • Nearly two thirds (65%) of CTMs stated that their top programme consideration for business travel in 2021 and 2022 is understanding enhanced COVID protocols and extra fees.
  • Also high on their list when planning trips is that their preferred hotels are complying with duty of care requirements. There is a critical need for hotels to state clearly in all external sales and marketing communications that high quality health and safety protocols are in place.

Opportunities for hoteliers as majority of CTMs indicate travel budget increases

  • Overall, more than half (51%) of CTMs across UK and Europe, and 62 per cent of CTMs in Spain and 60 per cent in Netherlands stated that budgets are set to increase.

“The results of this report show that hoteliers must be prepared to evolve their sales and marketing practices in a post-pandemic era where top priorities for corporate travel managers have changed,” said Chris McAndrews, vice president of marketing for Cvent. “A willingness to adapt and evolve will not only allow for more seamless negotiations, but more importantly, enhance planner and supplier relationships long-term.”

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