The Beat editor-in-chief, Jay Boehmer, recently reported on Christopherson Business Travel's new hotel compliance system, Hotel Attachment. The article and its title, "Christopherson Thinks It Has Solved The Hotel Attachment Problem," were bold and certainly provocative. I'm not surprised that some responses were somewhere between curious and even incredulous.
Our view is that a low hotel attachment rate is not a simple problem to solve. There are many complex reasons as to why hotel attachment rates are low. Christopherson decided to take a holistic approach to the solving the problem.
At a high-level, there are likely four main reasons a client would book airfare but not book a hotel at the same time:
- They need a hotel and simply haven't gotten around to booking it yet.
- They need a hotel and don't have enough information about their trip to book it yet.
- They plan to book their hotel through a different channel, or it was booked for them.
- They actually don't need a hotel.
Of course, there are many nuances within those four categories. For example, under reason No. 3, the traveler may have booked their room "out of channel" because:
- They were part of a group who booked the hotel room block separately.
- They're attending a conference or a meeting that included the hotel booking.
- They were not able to get the hotel inventory through the GDS-powered booking option.
- They were able to get a lower price using a different booking method.
- They have a personal preference for booking their own hotel (better user experience).
But ultimately, it's not good for a traveler to have an incomplete itinerary with no hotel data included. Our goal was to first, identify which of the four reasons a traveler didn't book a hotel and then provide them with a simple, digital path to help them easily complete their itinerary and solve the problem. Our technology platform, AirPortal, supports and powers the Hotel Attachment system and provides us with enough unique information about the traveler, the company they work for, and their specific airline booking to simplify that process.
As clients begin to use our solution, we will be able to track why travelers haven't booked their hotel initially and gather data on how we solved the problem. This will give our travel managers business intelligence metrics to increase their hotel attachment rates, provide better duty of care, and give them better negotiating power with their preferred vendors.
Our solution is much more than a marketing email.
Mike Cameron is CEO of Christopherson Business Travel. This post is excerpted with permission from his company blog.