Guide to Corporate Hotel DiscountsBy Kathleen Burns, published on Feb 4, 2020
How can your company use corporate hotel discounts to get the most out of your travel budget?
Business travel is a hefty, but worthwhile, expense.
From flights to accommodations to ground travel, each individual cost adds up and contributes significantly to a company’s overall travel budget. Making an effort to save on each component can make a big difference when it comes to stretching that travel budget.
As a company that specializes in corporate travel, we receive a lot of questions from our clients about how to get the best deals on airfare, car rentals, and hotels.
Today we’re shedding light on the mysterious world of corporate hotel discounts by answering your FAQs.
Here’s everything you need to know about corporate hotel rates including:
- How to get corporate hotel rates,
- How to negotiate discounted hotel rates,
- Where to find the best corporate discounts on hotels, and
- Tools and resources for finding corporate hotel discounts
Corporate hotel rates 101
We’re starting by covering your most basic questions about what corporate hotel rates are, who can take advantage of them, and how you can land them.
What are corporate hotel rates?
Corporate hotel rates are discounted prices that hotels give their business customers. These discounts typically start at 10% but can be negotiated for more.
These discounts rates are mutually beneficial for hotels and travelers. Hotels offer discounts to companies that provide them a high volume of business in exchange for their loyalty.
The special corporate rate ensures that all of the company’s hotel bookings are made with that hotel chain, and in exchange, the company gets cheaper rates on rooms.
It’s a win-win situation.
Who can take advantage of corporate hotel rates?
When a company lands a corporate hotel rate with a hotel chain, this discount is usually manifested through a corporate code.
Employees of that company, consultants, guests, interviewees, and vendors can typically take advantage of this corporate code when traveling on behalf of or to the company that’s negotiated the discounted rate.
Business travelers insert this corporate code into the “coupon code” or “corporate code” box that is presented to them upon checkout when making a reservation through a hotel’s website to receive the discount.
If your company has a corporate code for hotels, you might even be able to use it on trips made for pleasure. Some hotels may ask to see a form of identification that shows that you work for the company you say you work for, so bring your work badge with you if you plan on using a corporate code for personal travels.
Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, large companies aren’t the only ones that can benefit from corporate hotel rates.
Even small businesses can get these discounts. For example, an independent consultant who constantly travels for speaking engagements might be able to secure a corporate rate at hotels if they give the same hotel chain a great frequency of business.
How do you get corporate hotel rates?
There are several ways in which business travelers can get access to a corporate hotel rate.
First, a company’s corporate travel manager can negotiate a special rate directly with hotels.
This method usually works better at large hotel chains than for independent, boutique hotels. Your travel manager may even be able to get other perks and hotel amenities thrown in, like waived cancellation fees or free wi-fi.
Second, if you own a small business, you can negotiate corporate rates if you provide hotels with frequent business.
To do this, call hotels directly (rather than through the chain’s customer service hotline) and ask to speak with a manager or booking director. Explain how often you use their hotels and ask if they can offer you a corporate code.
If they say no, you have other options. If you are traveling to visit a local client, and if the client is big enough, they may have their own corporate code that the hotel may be willing to share with you.
Option number three is to use a travel agency.
Travel agencies and travel agents have long standing partnerships with hotels and are able to pass discounts on to their clients.
Option four is to use a corporate travel booking software, which enables even small companies to have access to corporate hotel rates because of the overall volume of business that the software’s clients give the hotels.
How to negotiate discounted hotel rates
The key to landing big discounts is to be a strategic negotiator. Here’s everything you want to know about the negotiation process.
Why should you negotiate for discounted hotel rates?
It’s important to negotiate for discounted hotel rates because it’s an easy way to save money at scale.
If your company is already giving a hotel business frequently and in large volume, your company might as well ask for a discount, or it could be spending more money than it needs to on accommodations.
When you spend less on hotels, you can stretch your company’s travel budget further to send more people to land deals, meet clients face-to-face, and attend more conferences, make a great impression by traveling to a client to land a deal.
Who can negotiate for discounted hotel rates?
Anyone can negotiate for discounted hotel rates, but there are some people who are in better positions to do it than others.
If you work for a large company, your company’s corporate travel manager will be responsible for the negotiation process.
Because they handle your company’s travel needs and budget, they’ll be able to communicate the volume of business that they can offer to the hotel chains to garner the best discount possible.
If your company uses an external travel agency instead of an internal travel manager, then your agency will negotiate deals on behalf of your company.
If your company is relatively small, it can benefit from using a travel agency as they can leverage the buying power of all of their clients to land more significant discounts than if they were only handling your company’s business.
Similarly, corporate booking software can provide discounted hotel rates to its users because of the combined volume of business that its customers bring the hotels. These discounted corporate rates are built-in to the software.
If you are a small business owner or solopreneur, you can negotiate discounted hotel rates by calling hotels and making a case for what they would be missing out on if you took your business elsewhere.
How do you negotiate for discounted hotel rates?
People in aforementioned roles can negotiate hotel discounts by approaching employees at large hotel chains who are responsible for bookings and explaining the value your company brings.
You can tell them how much your hotel budget is for the year and explain that you’ll take business elsewhere if they don’t offer you discount.
Just like in any other negotiation process, you should shop around. Approach several hotel chains and see what kind of offers they can make you. If Hotel A offers a corporate discount of 15% and Hotel B offers an 18% discount, go back to Hotel A and ask if they can match Hotel B’s discounted hotel rate.
If you book travel through a corporate booking site or travel agent, they’ll negotiate the best discounted rates on your behalf so you won’t have to give their prices a second thought.
How to find the best corporate discounts on hotels
We’re letting you in on where to find the best deals on accommodations for business travel.
How do you get the best hotel discounts?
The volume of business your company can provide a hotel is your number one negotiating tool when it comes to negotiating hotel rates and landing a corporate code.
Explain to hotels how much money they’d be missing out on by not giving you a special hotel rate.
You can also work with a person (like a travel agent) or company (like a corporate travel booking tool) that has long standing partnerships with hotel vendors so that they can pass their discounts on to you.
If your company doesn’t have enough volume to negotiate a discount, there are alternative ways to save money on your hotel stays including:
- Your business travelers could use corporate credit cards and loyalty programs through hotel chains to get rewards and discounted and free stays more quickly.
- If you’re planning on staying at a hotel for more than five days, ask for an extended stay discount.
- Most hotels let you pay after you arrive and offer cancellation flexibility. Some are able to offer a discount of up to 25% when you pay for your stay up front in order to guarantee business. Ask hotels if they have a non-refundable rate.
How can you track corporate discounts on hotels?
Shopping around for various hotels can be a headache if you don’t have a lot of time and aren’t organized.
There are several ways in which you can track discounts on hotels that you frequent for business travel.
Most online booking tools have a “compare” option that lets you see what prices other sources can offer you. Travel sites can also let you track changes in price and get email alerts when things change so that you can cancel your reservation and rebook with a competitor if the price drops.
Technology makes it easy to shop around and get the best rate possible on hotels for your business travels.
Tools and resources for finding corporate hotel discounts
We’ve curated the best resources and business travel tools around for landing discounts on corporate accommodations.
What tools and resources are available for finding corporate hotel discounts?
There are plenty of resources available for finding corporate hotel discounts.
A corporate travel booking tool has discounts built right in, so there’s no additional work - like negotiating or looking for coupon codes - necessary.
Corporate travel blogs, like Lola’s, are a great resource for advice on securing discounts on all aspects of corporate travel, including finding discounted hotel rates.
What are the most popular tools for finding corporate hotel discounts?
Lola.com is a corporate travel booking tool that leverages the buying power of industry partnerships to offer up to a 30 percent discount on business travel. Travelers love Lola for its 24/7 customer support. Human resources departments love that Lola lets them save money to stretch their travel budgets further.