As technological developments continue to transform the hotel accommodation sector, procurement managers are set to benefit from a whole host of innovations.
My five predictions for the next 12 months are as follows:
1. Embracing intelligent sourcing. Procurement managers are likely to have further access to business intelligence, and can embrace the benefits of intelligent sourcing as a precursor to their hotel RFP. As such, as they review their hotel programmes, they will be able to truly optimise their hotel procurement and make substantial savings for their company.
2. Time to listen to needs of bookers. Bookers continue to ignore or circumvent travel policies that don’t reflect the requirements of today’s traveller and use outdated self-booking tools featuring insufficient quality and choice. To address this, procurement managers should review if the booking tools being used are the most user-friendly and feature the right level of content to meet the needs of their travellers.
3. Improved booking of hotels. Procurement managers are set to benefit from improved content when booking accommodation. As hotels realise content is king when it comes to converting bookings, procurement managers will find that this has real benefits for their employees. Hotels are quickly starting to realise, that it’s not just location and price, but also that the breadth and depth of information they provide can have a major impact on the conversion of searches to bookings in both online and offline environments. Procurement managers should therefore be mindful of this when picking booking tools.
4. Hotels embracing latest technology to bring convenience. Hoteliers are starting to recognise that business travellers want the latest technology and best gadgets available during their stay to ensure that they have the best experience – we predict that innovation in this area will really take off in the coming year. Procurement managers should therefore consider this as a factor when looking at their hotel RFPs for 2015.
5. Public work areas on the increase in hotels. According to recent research by HRS, 75 per cent of business travellers in the UK typically have to conduct business duties at the hotel they’re staying in. In response to this need, we are seeing that there is a trend for hotels to introduce ‘co-working’ spaces into their public areas to create pleasant working environments within their lobbies. As a result, we predict hotels will increasingly be offering the facilities to enable employees to work to the best of their abilities (for example, mains connections, docking stations and free Wi-Fi), therefore encouraging compliance to travel policy, a key objective for procurement managers.
☛ Jon West is managing director of HRS UK and Ireland