Smart Moves

In a post-COVID business travel world, artificial intelligence holds the key to a more effective hotel procurement strategy
Thanks to COVID, the legacy models that business traveler buyers had come to rely on in their hotel programs are broken. Volumes fell way below expectations, negotiated discounts weren’t providing value and forecasting models no longer worked. As the market recovers, the emerging environment is calling for new, more flexible and dynamic models and methods to be applied. That’s where automation and artificial intelligence (AI) come in.

“An annual RFP process won’t work if an unexpected market suddenly appears,” says Steve Reynolds, CEO and founder of Tripbam. “Sourcing needs to be much more continuous and real-time. In some ways, a traveler manager’s job will be much more valuable, but automation is required to make it work.”

Laura Kusto, vice president and global hotel practice leader for Advito and Stay by BCD Travel, notes it’s all about getting relevant and contextual information in the hands of the decision makers much quicker.

“Because it’s looking at things differently than they have before, it’s delving into things they haven’t considered before, such as prepaid and non-refundable rates having a really great place and a really great fit in a program. It’s realizing that as a travel manager, looking at your negotiated rates, you’ll have tools and data that enable you to make decisions not just once a year, but throughout the year.”

Categories: Special ReportLodging

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