GBTA Says Hotel, Ground Contracts Easier for Buyers Than Airlines

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A new GBTA Foundation survey has found that when it comes to airline contracts, the add-ons and amenities most valued by companies are often not included in the final contract. The report, Valuable Vendor Contract Add-ons: Prioritizing + Communicating = Saving, surveyed over 100 travel buyers across North America and is sponsored by Amadeus.

When considering which airline add-ons to negotiate into contracts, travel buyers most commonly report eliminating fees for cancelled or changed itineraries (99 percent), receiving name change waivers for tickets and ticket credits (97 percent) and removing checked-bag fees (91 percent) as valuable. However, these valued add-ons frequently don’t make it into the final contract. These three are “always” or “often” included 25 percent, 61 percent and 15 percent of the time, respectively.

For hotel contracts, the most valuable add-ons for travel managers and their companies include free Wi-Fi (99 percent), last room availability (97 percent) and free breakfast (96 percent). The final contracts more often than not contain these valued add-ons (89 percent, 82 percent and 82 percent, respectively). Similarly, ground transportation contracts frequently incorporate the add-ons travel buyers value as bringing the greatest savings to their company, including expedited rentals (94 percent), vehicle-class upgrades (88 percent) and vehicle choice (82 percent). These “always” or “often” appear in the final contract 80 percent, 70 percent and 69 percent of the time, respectively.

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Most Valued Add-ons and Amenities

Airline Add-on % saying "Valuable" "Always" or "Often" negotiated into contract Hotel Add-on % saying "Valuable" "Always" or "Often" negotiated into contract Ground Transportation Add-on % saying "Valuable" "Always" or "Often" negotiated into contract
No fees to make changes or cancellations to an itinerary 99% 25% Free Wi-Fi 99% 89% Expedited rentals (counter bypass, skip the line, etc.) 94% 80%
Name change waivers for tickets and ticket credits 97% 61% Last Room Availability (LRA) 97% 82% Vehicle-class upgrade 88% 70%
No fee to check bags 91% 15% Free breakfast 96% 82% Vehicle choice 82% 69%

Two-thirds of travel buyers (67 percent) feel they successfully communicate negotiated travel add-ons to their travelers. Among that group, the most prevalent methods of relaying the information is updating the employee handbook once a year (52 percent), sending quarterly emails (36 percent) and holding meetings with travelers on an annual basis (31 percent).

While few companies track whether or not travelers pay for add-ons or services already factored into the negotiated rate (17 percent), travel buyers feel the majority of travelers are not incorrectly paying for already-included add-ons. They estimate only about one out of every five trips involving a hotel stay include an erroneous expense (19 percent), compared to 15 percent involving ground transportation and even fewer involving airlines (8 percent).

This study is based on an online survey of 103 travel buyers or travel managers based in North America conducted December 3-14, 2015.

Source: GBTA

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