Hotel Industry Trends
Cinzia Ruberto, Vendor Relations Specialist at Encore Travel

At Encore Travel, we always aim to please both our clients and our travellers. Our goal is to increase our clients travel savings, without having to sacrifice their travellers comfort. This is where our Vendor Relations Specialist comes in. This week, we had the chance to sit down with Encore Travel’s extremely busy Vendor Relations Specialist, Cinzia Ruberto. We picked her brain about the continuously evolving hotel industry trends and her tips and tricks on navigating it.

 

 

Encore Travel: What exactly do you do as a Vendor Relations Specialist?

Cinzia Ruberto: As a Vendor Relations Specialist, I manage relationships with airlines, hotels, ground transportation providers and consolidators. I spearhead negotiations and implement strategies with our vendors to ensure we have a competitive offering for our clients. I also work with our clients to develop hotel programs that suit both theirs and their travellers needs. And, most recently, I’ve begun overseeing our ticketing and quality assurance team to ensure the perfect end-to-end trip for our travellers.

 

Encore: Wow, that sounds like a very busy job!

C.R: It is! But I’m a really big people person. I enjoy building relationships with travel vendors so it’s perfect for me.

 

Encore: And what have you been up to these last few weeks? Where have you been travelling and for what reason?

C.R.: I have been travelling to various supplier conferences in order to get up to speed with the latest technologies and trends in the market. Most recently, I attended the Ensemble International Conference in Texas and then the Travelport Hospitality Operations Summit in Florida.

 

Encore: And based on these conferences and your own experience, what are some of the hotel industry trends that you’re seeing right now?

C.R.: One of the biggest trends in the hotel industry at the moment is the change of cancellation policies. Hotels are implementing more restrictive policies. They require guests to cancel reservations at least 48 hours in advance, instead of 24 hours or that same day.

 

One of the biggest trends in the hotel industry is the change of cancellation policies. Click To Tweet

 

The industry is also seeing a lot of technological advancements. Many hotels are starting to incorporate mobile apps into their procedure. For example, guests staying at the Hyatt are able to check-in and out via their mobile app. Guests can also use the app to view their room charges throughout their stay and to request items to their room, such as extra towels or pillows.

 

Encore: What can organizations do to encourage their travellers to book in compliance with their travel policy?

C.R.: First and foremost, they need to have the right hotels –organizations tend to have lower travel policy compliance when their travellers don’t like the hotels that they are required to book with. Ensuring that the organization has hotel options that meet both theirs and their travellers’ needs is key.

Secondly, the organization might consider having different travel policies, which are applicable based on the amount the employee travels. It can be beneficial to accommodate road warriors who consistently travel for the organization and offer them a greater hotel selection, than say an employee who travels twice a year. And that’s not to say that those who travel less are less important –for road warriors, travel is a huge part of their lifestyle and their accommodations can have more of a lasting impact on them because of this.  

Thirdly, I encourage every organization to work with their corporate travel management company (TMC) to identify the hotels that are being booked outside of policy and consider including them in the organization’s hotel program. Your TMC will be better able to negotiate rates on your behalf and will bring added value.

 

Encore: Do you feel that it’s important to cultivate relationships with hotels? Why?

C.R.: Yes, I definitely think that it’s important!

From a TMC’s perspective, building these relationships is essential –having a personal connection with a vendor makes it much easier to accomplish things on behalf of the organization. It also allows us to work with hotels and create a custom program for each organization, thus ensuring better: rates, amenities and value-added items.

And from an organization’s perspective, having that connection helps hotels to understand the organization’s needs and allows them to offer a more personal touch.

 

Encore: How do you feel about home-sharing accommodations? Do you think that there’s a place for these types of accommodations in business travel?

C.R.: This is a tricky one! It’s hard to give a definitive yes or no answer to this question. It really depends on the organization and what they’re comfortable with.

Every organization has a responsibility to ensure the safety of their travellers. So that being said, from a duty of care perspective, home-sharing puts an organization at risk since there is no front desk or security to ensure traveller safety. As well, the supply of home-sharing accommodations is incredibly unpredictable. There are no guarantees regarding the standards of the space the traveller is set to stay in.

I recommend that any organization looking to incorporate home-sharing into their travel program do their research beforehand. It’s important that these types of accommodations fit into the organization’s culture and that they’re able to meet the needs of their travellers.

 

Encore: Lastly, if you could give all travellers, leisure and business alike, one piece of advice, what would it be?

C.R.: My advice would be to go for the experience.

Accumulating points is nice, but independent hotels offer you a different experience which adds more life value. As well, independent hotels are more flexible with their rates and value-added services. They’re also usually more likely to go above and beyond for their guests.

 

Have a question for our Vendor Relations Specialist? Let us know in the comments!

Future of Travel

Have you ever had to flag down a flight attendant, while in the air, to get some water? Well, in the very near future, you might not have to even lift a finger to get what you want.


We, at Encore Travel, decided to put together a list of the pros and cons regarding the addition of home-sharing in business travel policies.


Looking for a travel app? Discover Encore Travel's pick - and make sure to take full advantage of these the next time you are on-the-go!