Hotel groups develop tools just for SMEs

One of the main challenges small- and medium-sized enterprises face when it comes to managing corporate travel is a lack of affordable, simple technology to assist in the tracking and reporting of travel behaviour and spend. 

Unexpectedly, the solution to this common dilemma is not necessarily coming from technology providers, but instead, hotel groups are looking to plug the gap. 

Hyatt Hotels was one of the first groups to get proactive in this regard, with the launch of Hyatt Leverage in May 2018, a programme that gives small businesses up to 15% off the lowest available room rate at participating properties, while providing traveller tracking and spend management tools to travel administrators. 

Upon registering, businesses receive a unique programme number, to be managed by a dedicated programme administrator for employees to unlock discounts when booking through Hyatt’s website or reservation centres. 

“With Hyatt Leverage, we are adding value for small- and mid-sized businesses by providing a tool that makes booking travel more seamless,” said Gus Vonderheide, vice president of Global Sales at Hyatt. “Hyatt Leverage also includes resources that enable businesses to view reservations and track room expenses, all in one easy solution.” 

Quick to follow suit was the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), which launched IHG Business Edge just a few months later, in August 2018. The programme aims to improve the corporate travel experience for SMEs through the launch of a customer portal, which travel administrators can monitor travel data including hotel spend, room nights, average daily rate, savings and IHG Rewards Club participation over the previous 12 months. 

Derek DeCross, senior vice president of Global Sales, IHG, said: “We knew there was an unmet need for a travel buying programme specifically designed for SMEs – a group of customers who can often be under-served by the industry. We worked together with SMEs to design the programme and they told us that a discount programme alone was not compelling enough to drive their loyalty and engagement. They didn’t want lengthy negotiations, but rather a rich discount they could count on, reliable report and insight into the latest information, as well as access to a diverse corporate network of other similar organisations.” 

Both Hyatt Leverage and IHG Business Edge are available to SA-based SMEs. 

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