As we have seen in previous posts, one of the basic tasks of travel management is the negotiation of airfares, accommodation and other services for corporate travellers. Here are a few tips that can be useful when negotiating the best possible price.
It is not always easy, since among other factors it depends on the travel manager’s skill in negotiation. However, there are issues that can be taken into account to ensure a beneficial rate:
Try to be realistic
Before you start the negotiation, you have to know the market very well and how far you can push as regards prices, conditions, etc. This will allow you to negotiate as far as possible with your suppliers.
Watch out for additional charges
On any trip, whether business or leisure, it is necessary to watch out for any additional charges that may appear: for checking in an extra suitcase on a flight, a few extra drinks at the hotel, connection to the hotel’s Wi-Fi service, etc. Try to include them in the price agreed with the supplier, if possible without (too much of) an additional cost, but always provide for an amount of money for extra expenses you may not have anticipated.
Lock down the final price
Rates for travel services can vary substantially throughout the year. So it is advisable to include a provision or guarantee in the contract with the supplier that your agreement will not be subject to these changes, especially when a large volume of services is being negotiated.
Search for more favourable dates
In the case of internal events, meetings, etc. in which the date is not quite so dependent on external factors, try to organise trips in low season to obtain better prices. And if there is no choice, try to avoid flights, trains or car hire at weekends, long weekends or on days when the holiday exodus begins.
Consolidate your suppliers
It is much easier to negotiate a large volume of operations with a single supplier than a smaller number of operations with many different suppliers. Try to make global agreements whenever possible.