Here’s the write-up from our quarterly MG Connect networking event, which was held on 24th September 2019 in the Crowne Plaza Kensington.
Sales leaders representing global and national hotel chains, serviced apartment providers and venues joined us at the Crowne Plaza Kensington to hear negotiation insights from Travel Managers, Geoff and Jan. Here’s a summary of their top tips for successful negotiation:
Geoff Allwright, UK Travel Manager, Airbus
– Plan, prepare and research
– Geoff won’t tolerate sales people going over the same questions from previous meetings.
– Know your competitors
– With just 6/7 cities in the programme, Geoff knows his market well. Make sure you know yours too and be able to explain your differentiators versus the competition.
– Understand the Airbus process. This means the booking tool, how the policy is mandated in the business, senior endorsement and the extent to which room nights can be influenced to location.
– Be honest about availability and LRA
– Inaccessible rates are confusing for travellers and it wastes Geoff’s time.
– Negotiation for different brands with the same owner
– Recognise the conflict this introduces as Geoff can’t negotiate when the sales person represents both hotels in the same city.
– Traveller experience is important. It isn’t just about rate. Refurbishment, cleanliness, service issues will be fed back to Geoff. Record complaints so that Geoff can handle them effectively.
Jan Jacobsen, Global Accommodation Manager, AIG
– Research AIG and Jan
– Understand what is happening in the business and the wider market. Know Jan’s story.
– Complete online RFPs accurately.
– Quality of bids is very poor. Missing information and incomplete fields. Stop asking junior team members to complete and take responsibility further up the hierarchy.
– Respect the relationship. If you know what AIG pays elsewhere do not risk the relationship by sharing what you know.
– Follow through: do what you say and do it within timelines.
– Do not offer dynamic pricing. Because the traveller books accommodation at the rate cap so savings are reduced. Fluctuating prices leads to traveller confusion which must be avoided.
– Rate cap. Calculated based on STR data and AIG expectation
– Future of OTA vs TMC. AIG view OTA as an aggregator, a role TMCs unable to do.