Earlier this month, I was in Houston to attend the International Convention organized by the National Business Travel Association, the leading Association for the corporate travel community. The event included a full schedule of educational seminars as well as an exhibition floor for travel buyers & sellers to interact.
I was excited to see a gathering of over 6000 attendees from all sectors of the corporate travel vertical including corporate travel executives, airlines, hotel groups, transportation companies, corporate travel management companies, meeting planners and technology companies.
The convention began with the announcement of NBTA’s plan to aggressively pursue a more global approach and its rechristening to Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). This was followed by educational sessions covering various aspects of corporate travel.
Key speakers focused on the recovery of the industry over the past 3 quarters with an expected increase in rates for 2011. One of the main topics of conversation was the increase in unbundled fees in the airline industry and the possible implementation of these in the hotel industry to give hotels the opportunity to increase revenues.
I found NBTA Convention to be the perfect platform to introduce RateTiger’s real-time hotel rate benchmarking tool – RTCorp to the corporate travel managers. The corporate travel industry is at a point where corporates need to be able to benchmark their contracted rates so that they can obtain the best possible rates for their companies.
Traditionally corporate travel managers used to contract their hotels once a year for the year. However with the advent of hotel yield management, hotel rates are changing consistently, sometimes on a daily or even hourly basis. RTCorp gives travel managers the opportunity to evaluate their contracted rates against the OTA lowest published rates and provides them with the reports necessary to approach and re-contract their hotels.
Our presence at NBTA helped educate the travel managers as to the value of benchmarking their contracted rates against the OTA rates. Our direct meetings generated a lot of interest amongst the attendees and we found corporate travel managers understanding the need for a benchmarking tool to help them negotiate with their travel suppliers harder and get a better and open deal.
Overall it was a great experience and kudos to NBTA for putting together a very well organized and meaningful event. I look forward to attending the next convention but with a different name – the GBTA International Convention 2011 😉
Mark Neter is International Sales Manager at eRevMax. He is based out of US and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org