The Big Story: Hotels 2020 — Targeting Value

RIP for the RFP? The long-standing ritual of rate negotiations may not be dead yet – but it’s due for an overhaul
RFP RIP – that’s how Andrew Menkes, senior vice president-global client solutions at BCD Travel, recently characterized the traditional hotel negotiating platform during a talk at an Association of Corporate Travel Executives event. It’s a sentiment that has been expressed or at least hoped for by many travel managers for years.

However, there is no question that technology, market changes and other forces are slowly transforming the traditional RFP process – that months-long back and forth with individual properties dreaded by many travel buyers. And that was only the beginning of the process as managers sought to learn whether these negotiated rates were loaded and – more importantly, available – often with limited success.

Some, like Tyler Morse, CEO of MCR Development, a hotel operator who recently opened the much-ballyhooed TWA Hotel at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, think the RFP process will remain because “the strongest force in business is inertia.” He says as long as the economy is strong and hotels are “fat and happy,” change will be difficult.

For now, RFP’s remain the “beating heart” of a hotel program, as Suzanne Neufang, senior vice president-Americas for HRS, the hotel solutions company, puts it. To not negotiate them, she says, “leaves a lot of money on the table.”

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