Travel Buyers Have More Success Negotiating Desired Amenities into Hotel and Ground Transportation Contracts Than Airline Contracts

Travel Buyers Feel Successful in Communicating Travel Policies to Business Travelers

Alexandria, VA (February 25, 2016) – A new GBTA Foundation survey found 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.

“Companies may see cost savings if the amenities and add-ons identified as valuable are more often negotiated into the final contract, particularly when it comes to airlines,” said Kate Vasiloff, GBTA director of research. “The study also reveals that while travel buyers appear confident in their efforts to successfully communicate travel policies and negotiated add-ons with their employees, very few companies collect data to support this. Collecting data around compliance rates presents a huge opportunity for companies to identify areas where communication efforts can be improved and money can be saved.”

“While cost savings is generally the driver for contract add-on services and amenities, improving the traveler’s experience throughout the journey is also critical in maintaining employee productivity and satisfaction,” said Jay Richmond, Head of Amadeus North America’s Business Travel Group. “Negotiating the right amenities aligned to particular traveler needs and evolving them as those needs change is a great way for travel managers to continue delivering value to their organizations.”

Communicating with Business Travelers

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).

Methodology

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

More Information

The study, Valuable Vendor Contract Add-ons: Prioritizing + Communicating = Saving, is available exclusively to GBTA members by clicking here and non-members may purchase the report through the GBTA Foundation by emailing [email protected] The results of the study will also be presented in a webinar on May 17th at 2pm ET.

CONTACT: Colleen Gallagher, +1 703-236-1133, [email protected]

About the GBTA Foundation
The GBTA Foundation is the education and research foundation of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the world’s premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. Collectively, GBTA’s 9,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA provides its growing network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts with world-class education, events, research, advocacy and media. The Foundation was established in 1997 to support GBTA’s members and the industry as a whole. As the leading education and research foundation in the business travel industry, the GBTA Foundation seeks to fund initiatives to advance the business travel profession. The GBTA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, see gbta.org and gbta.org/foundation.