By Bev Fearis, published 15/07/20
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the contract tendering process for business travel, events and meeting services, according to research by hotel giant Accor.
In its survey of 122 corporate customers across Northern Europe, carried out between April 27 and May 5, almost a quarter of buyers said they have no RFP planned for 2021 and would instead be looking to extend 2020 rates, complemented by dynamic pricing.
A further 11% of buyers plan to only review their top destinations via an RFP and extend most of their current rates into 2021.
In addition, many buyers are planning to amend their RFP timing or process, with only 21% expecting to run a full RFP or RFI (request for information) as previously planned.
The survey also found a third of respondents believe their business travel programmes will recover within six months.
Just over one in five predicted the recovery will take less than three months and only 7% believe it will take longer than 12 months.
When it comes to bookings, just 15% of corporates are planning to change the categories of hotel they book in future.
Despite recent events, the most important factors for corporates when selecting their preferred hotel supplier remain location (38%) followed by price (25%).
While these traditional considerations remain priorities, traveller welfare is increasingly important with 22% of buyers ranking additional sanitary measures and Covid-19 protection as their top priority.
One in eight corporates explicitly stated that traveller welfare will be their top priority when selecting a preferred supplier in future.
The vast majority (89%) of corporates believe their organisation will need to have an increased focus on duty of care as a result of the recent crisis, with 66% saying the pandemic will lead to a stricter approvals process for signing off travel requests.
Jonathan Pettifer, Director of Corporate Sales and TMC Partners at Accor UK & Ireland, said: “The hotel industry will be gratified to hear that corporates believe their business travel programmes will recover within 12 months, with many anticipating it will happen much quicker.
“Face to face interactions with clients and business partners are vital in many industries and we know there is significant pent up demand from corporates wanting to get their executives back engaging directly with key contacts. To support this process, it is vital the hospitality industry follows through on its commitment to safeguard traveller safety.”
Earlier this month Accor launched a global cleanliness and prevention label, ALLSAFE, in partnership with testing, inspection and certification specialist Bureau Veritas.