Hotel Booking Made Better for Business Travel

November 16, 2021

For business travelers, hotel choice may be the most important decision of a trip. From the trade show staff to the sales team to the CEO, property location and amenities matter to travelers. So, too, does a fast, easy booking experience. 

Perhaps no one understands this more than corporate travel managers. Travel managers bear the brunt of employee frustration when the search process is onerous, details are hard to find, and promising search results are outside of policy or sold out.

Modern technology that takes the user experience into account improves not only the booking experience, but it also improves the performance of the corporate travel office. “Elevating travel technology elevates the traveler experience,” said Deem President David Grace. “Empowering travelers with individualized, accessible experiences eliminates distractions, saves money, and increases productivity. The bottom line is that travel is better for business when it’s better for travelers.”

For the hotel booking flow, an improved search process with enhanced features makes life easier for all involved.

Hotel search speed and performance

The Etta travel platform supports travelers in making the right hotel choice and helps improve organizational performance. The foundation for happy users and overall efficiency is the quick return of the search results themselves. With slower technology and legacy systems, hotel results can take up to half a minute to appear. On Etta, users see comprehensive search results in just 10 to 15 seconds. For busy executives and frequent travelers, this 50% reduction in search time translates into increased productivity and less frustration.

The platform also eliminates sources of complaints, as travelers can establish filters that remove sold-out properties from results or elevate preferred accommodations, thus increasing likelihood of a good match much earlier in the search.

Hotel booking: It’s all in the details

The little things can make a big difference, and sometimes make hotel choices easier. When business travel entails significant hotel room work, for example, free Wi-Fi and a centrally located business center are important. For those working long hours in or out of the hotel, 24/7 coffee and late-night room service might be must-haves. Some travelers prefer a pool, sports bar, outdoor areas, or an indoor fitness center. Etta automatically provides these and other details in descriptive paragraphs for a better consumer experience. This not only provides intuitive shopping for the traveler, it keeps users on the corporate platform to ensure their reservations follow policy and prevent billing surprises.

Simplifying decisions means providing a unique level of detail through features such as:

Interactive maps

Location can make or break a hotel experience. There’s nothing more disappointing than a hotel in an inconvenient location or in a neighborhood that feels uncomfortable. Descriptions on hotel sites can fall short of reality. A colleague of mine once selected a hotel that was a “short walk from the train station” and found herself walking one and a half miles with no taxis in sight.

Robust, interactive map modules close these gaps between description and reality. Etta’s maps allow users to zoom in and out or search a new area by re-centering the map. Map pins and hover-over text provide photos, pricing, and exact distances to and from public transportation, convention centers, and other points of interest.

Interactive maps show hotel locations; users can zoom in/out, pan around to move the map, and search the area.
Interactive maps show hotel locations; users can zoom in/out, pan around to move the map, and search the area.

Health and safety metrics

Location is about more than just distance. When health and safety information is built into the booking flow, travelers can easily make safer choices. Etta’s award-winning Travel SafetyCheck feature offers scores for neighborhoods to help users know how safe an area is for women and LGBTQ+ travelers, for example, as well as review hotel sanitation policies. The maps also display metrics on current and historic COVID-19 case rates in the area.

Displays for each hotel neighborhood (if available); Scores for multiple health and safety metrics; Click on it, opens a new window, able to see more details; Data provided by GeoSure.
Displays for each hotel neighborhood (if available); Scores for multiple health and safety metrics.

Click on the SafetyCheck scores and it opens a new window with more details. Data provided by GeoSure.
Click on the SafetyCheck scores and it opens a new window with more details. Data provided by GeoSure.

Negotiated amenities

Company perks at certain properties put the fun and convenience into business travel. Free parking, free breakfast, and complimentary happy hours are all welcome bonus items. Working in Etta’s platform, travel managers can customize up to 10 amenities to reflect their unique corporate perks. When configured, these perks appear automatically in search results, showing travelers exactly what types of extra items they can expect at different hotels. This, too, can reduce off-platform bookings where company-specific information is not available.

Travel managers can further customize their sites to show preferred rates on a customer-by-customer basis while also clearly indicating which hotels are the most preferred partners.

Eco-friendly badges

Illustrating an organization’s corporate responsibility to shareholders and other stakeholders is more important than ever. A new badge on Etta allows a company to flag a property as having met a distinct standard of sustainability. This eco-friendly designation is measured by the company itself, not a third party. Corporate travel managers control which properties are identified as eco-friendly when they customize their feed in the platform’s app. Once travel managers identify qualifying hotels, users are immediately empowered to make more environmentally friendly choices, another unique benefit of modernization.

Hotels self-identify as eco-friendly using a green leaf icon. Data gets loaded via the Private Rate Hotel upload process.

Hovering on the leaf icon brings up details of why the hotel is identified as eco-friendly.
Hovering on the leaf icon brings up details of why the hotel is identified as eco-friendly.

Reviews and comparisons

According to one study by TripAdvisor, 83% of its users say they “usually” or “always” reference reviews before deciding to book a hotel. That’s not surprising, and TripAdvisor is an industry leader in review curation. Deem’s partnership with TripAdvisor allows business travelers on their corporate sites to access TripAdvisor’s star ratings and in-depth traveler reviews. Astute travelers know to look for trends in review comments to decipher a property’s real story.

Sometimes, the right hotel choice isn’t immediately apparent. A side-by-side comparison feature allows users to select up to six hotels to view in a matrix format. This apples-to-apples view lines up all the important details to facilitate a quicker, easier decision.

Personal preferences

It can be difficult for travelers to keep track of which specific property belongs to which hotel brand. This matters for rewards programs. The Marriott Bonvoy rewards program, for example, includes more than 30 brands. Up-to-date super brands and child brand lists allow users to filter hotel results by major hotel brands or owned brand properties in order to use their rewards.

All of these details are front and center when searching for hotels on Etta. Removing the need to visit other sites to hunt down information saves time and creates a better user experience. An intuitive platform that solves user frustrations while allowing corporate travel managers to customize results based on policy is the best of both worlds.

Better booking results in better decisions and better travel. As the corporate travel office transitions into a more complex role of mobilizing a dispersed employee base, traveler-centered technology will help organizations overcome new challenges and benefit from new efficiencies.

Learn more about how Etta can make business travel easier for road warriors, the C-Suite, and corporate travel managers alike.

 


Author

John Gregersen
Product Manager, Modernization

John has 20 years of experience working across business and IT teams to deliver end-to-end technology solutions. Currently, he executes on hotel modernization, to provide customers improved performance and implemented continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) for hotel content.

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