Many times in life it becomes necessary to travel. Some people travel for their job, some travel for pleasure. Sometimes it is necessary to travel to visit with family, attend a wedding, or adopt a pet. There is an incredibly long list of reasons for people to travel. When traveling, there are certain aspects that are always the same. Planning a trip takes a great deal of time and effort. When traveling by car, you must always factor in the cost of gasoline. When traveling by plane, the ticket cost there and back must be considered. Regardless of the method of travel, meals and road snacks have to be factored in. One of the biggest considerations is accommodations after arriving at your destination. Some people have the option of staying with family or a friend, other have everything arranged by their company. For all other time, a hotel is necessary. The biggest problem with this is how expensive most hotel’s rates are. This is often the most difficult to afford aspects of traveling. There may be some good, though. Did you know that many hotels offer special discounts and rates for corporate bookings? Here, you will find everything you need to know about searching and negotiating for a corporate hotel rate. We will also explore the differences between corporate rates and average rate as well as learn how to get the best deal possible.
First, let’s take a look at how hotels determine rates. There are, of course, the obvious differences such as number and size of beds, a suite versus basic rooms, extras offered, etc. However, there are also considerations that are generally not considered by the masses. Demand is a very big part of how hotels determine room rates. During off-peak times when demand for rooms is down, rates go down in an attempt to entice patrons to book a room. The closer it gets too high occupancy times, rates go up. To some, it may seem like it should be the other way around, but consider for a moment the logic behind this. If there is little traffic in the area during a certain time, there is not a lot of chance that people will be fighting for rooms. If a hotel offers a discount on their rates during this time and advertises it well, anyone who is looking for a room will choose the one with the best price. Also, as the demand for rooms goes up and occupancy levels begin to fill up, people are only concerned with finding a room before they are all gone and are therefore more willing to pay higher rates. Other considerations include the hotel’s rating, the location, and the competition in the vicinity.
With all of that being said, there are always tiers to a hotel’s rates. The first tier is what is known as rack rates. This is the average price that consumers will pay for an average room. The second tier is corporate rates. This tier can vary to some degree from one chain to another, but as a general rule, it begins at approximately ten percent off of the advertised rack rate. Corporate rates are the rates offered to travelers associated with a corporation. In general, hotels offer these discounts to gain a group of loyal customers as well as the hope of gaining referrals. A company of any size can have a corporate rate. So long as your company has a corporate rate, an employee may be able to use the discount even when they are not traveling on company business. When you use a corporate discount, you will likely need to provide some sort of identification. A company ID or personal business card will generally suffice.
So, how does one get corporate rates at hotels? Generally, a representative from a company will approach a specific hotel or chain headquarters to negotiate a rate for any traveling employee of that company. From there the next step varies. For larger corporations, often times someone takes care of scheduling and arrangements. When this is the case, the individual employees do not have to do anything besides provide identification upon arrival. The other option when traveling for business is for each individual to make their own arrangements. If this is the case, when you call to make a reservation, mention that you are traveling on business and give your company’s name. Tell them that your company has a corporate rate and they will take care of the rest. If you are not actually traveling for business but you are associated with a company that has a corporate rate with a certain hotel, simply follow the same steps as when making arrangements for work-related travel. If you are not sure as to whether or not your company has a corporate rate, it is best to ask a co-worker or superior.
There are codes floating around the internet that supposedly give individuals a corporate rate without actually being associated with a company. This is an option, but there are several potential problems that may arise from using this method. One potential problem is that the may not work. This can be because the code is expired or was never accurate. Another possible problem is that you may be asked for company identification when you arrive. When this happens, you run the risk of getting in a lot of trouble for misrepresentation. Because of all the potential issues, it is best to stick to only using corporate rates you are entitled to. If you do not have access to a corporate discount, there are several other possible discounts including, offseason, group rates, AAA, military, etc. Do not hesitate to ask a hotel about the discounts that they offer.
If you do not have access to a corporate rate and you do not qualify for any other discounts, you have come to an impasse. Unfortunately, this happens sometimes and when it does you are only left with two possibilities. One, you can pay full price and stay at the hotel of your choice. If you are determined to stay in a certain hotel at a certain time, this is your only option. Two, you can wait until the hotel is offering lower rates or find a cheaper hotel. Either way, at least you will have a hotel room secured.