Most travelers working for large companies are accustomed to extremely favorable rates at the world’s largest hotel chains. The discounts depend on the hotel chain, the particular property, the time of year and the contract signed with the company. Typically, corporate discounts range from a 10% discount to a 70% discount. Sometimes, obtaining a corporate contract at a hotel chain can result in not only a high discount rate, but also other benefits such as free Internet access, room upgrades, free breakfast, access to the hotel business lounge or late check-out. In addition, another major advantage of corporate rates over other types of promotions has to do with the cancellation policy: typically, corporate rates can be cancelled without penalty until 6 p.m. on the day of check-in (other times a longer cancellation notice period is required, but this is quite reasonable). On the other hand, if you want to get a decent rate at a hotel and you don’t take advantage of the corporate rate, you will be paid in advance, usually with no refund in case of cancellation.
Large companies are very good at negotiating corporate rates for what is usually a hotel chain: this means that any hotel in that chain will offer you some level of discount, although the level of discount may vary from hotel to hotel. Because the discounts are high and based on the number of rooms sold each year using a specific company code, the large companies that own these contracts force all employees, suppliers, contractors and consultants to use these company codes. The more rooms sold under a company code, the higher the discount the company travel team can negotiate for the following year. Often, employees can also use the company rate for personal travel and vacations (as long as the bill is not charged to the company), and in some cases, family members can use the same rate.
For hotel chains, offering high discounts to companies allows the chain to have higher occupancy rates and allows many people to book rooms directly at the hotel (or use the hotel’s website) rather than using sites like Expedia, Orbitz or Booking.com that charge the hotel a very high commission. Most booking sites cannot offer corporate rates, you have to use the hotel website and apply the corporate code in the booking search form. This is not a detail for the hotel as they will push you to their own website and then leave from the travel site charging a 10% to 25% commission on each booking. So, at the end of the day, everyone gets a pretty good deal: you get a low price, the company uses their company code to get another close sale, thus offering a nice discount for next year, and the hotel saves money because you booked directly on their website. In addition, if the company itself pays directly or indirectly for your stay, companies with corporate contracts with hotel chains can enjoy the same savings as your employer, customers or suppliers.
As a corporate traveler and experienced negotiator of corporate deals, I always advise my friends and colleagues to be fully aware of the corporate rates they may receive as an employee, consultant, contractor, client or supplier of a large company. It’s good for everyone involved and people shouldn’t be shy about taking advantage of this opportunity.
This blog is about corporate travel and teaches people how to get corporate hotel discounts they may be entitled to but didn’t know about. I have met many employees and clients of large companies who are entitled to fabulous hotel rates but don’t use them because they don’t even know they exist or they can’t use their company code to get them.