Global by Design

Today’s palette of properties and products for international hotel programs is broader than ever
When it comes to designing a hotel program that includes hotels outside the US, the best policy may be to revisit the classic adage: “Think global, act local.” And that usually means thinking beyond the usual channels to include working with independent properties as well as going outside the standard managed programs. It also means getting as local as possible through partnerships or even personal contact.

Travel management companies and global corporations have thought that whatever was in the GDS was worthy of sourcing, but everything else was out of sight, out of mind, according to Suzanne Neufang, vice president-Americas for HRS. However, as much as 50 percent of bookings are made outside corporate managed programs. And with a lot of international properties non-GDS, Neufang says that is an issue, as overseas hotel inventory is 75-80 percent independent while the great majority of hotel programs are with major brands.

Independence Movement
That independent factor is key when scanning the international hotel landscape. With non-branded hotels still dominating in most markets outside the US, and with the resurgence of independents in recent years, travel managers and their partners need to think about how they can best develop relationships with all these hotels – offering not only attractive alternatives to travelers but leverage in negotiating with major brands as they also continue to make inroads internationally.

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