Hickory Audit Shows Parity Among Consortia Rate Programs

Shopping for consortia hotel rates across multiple rate codes can be at best a waste of time and at worst counterproductive, according to Hickory Global Partners, citing the results of a recent rate audit.

Hickory on three specific dates in April, May and September of last year examined rates through Sabre of 616 hotels in 127 cities, representing 55 total chains. The audit, which Hickory calls an industry first, included Hickory's own rates as well as codes from CCRA, ABC Corporate Services and BCD Travel.

The results showed that rates from each of the programs tended to cluster and were at parity a high percentage of the time, which was not particularly surprising, Hickory general manager Chris Dane said. However, it also showed potential problems from searching multiple codes.

"When you ask for multiple consortia rates in the GDS, depending on how many rate codes are shown, we would get false negatives or false positives," he said. "It might show you just one or two of them. If you went back and just asked for that single rate code, among the four you measured, it would be there."

As such, the audit revealed little value in searching multiple codes, Hickory executive vice president of distribution and marketing Brian Harniman said.

"If you know you're getting the same rate, and there are additional questions with false positives and negatives, why are you going through the strife?" he asked. "Join a program and stick with it."

Harniman said Hickory plans to continue conducting its audit once or twice a year. The aim also is to find and remove squatters__rates listed by non-participating properties__and to find instances where rates were loaded incorrectly.

"We intend to do it as an annual benchmark," Harniman added. "In general, it's a good practice for the industry, and it's good data to share with our suppliers and agencies."