The entire sales team is excited for the chance to attend the cross-country off-site--or maybe it’s an annual conference that gets team leaders from a dozen offices together once a year. When it comes to business travel for groups, the energy and expectations are high, but the logistics still need to be worked out from flights to hotels to transportation and more to ensure the experience matches the expectations.
Travel and procurement managers as well as finance leaders know there’s an opportunity to provide their group with a great experience -- and get better rates than their business travelers would receive individually. But there are challenges in booking business travel group rates that even experienced travel managers can overlook.
While flexibility and speed are key when booking as an individual, there are different priorities to consider when booking for a group -- which is officially designated as 10 or more people. In situations like these, knowing what questions to ask is important and that’s something that can only be learned through experience.
Wisdom Where It Matters
The Groups & Meetings team at Navan helps customers source, book, and manage their group’s air transportation, ground transportation, and lodging.
The team is made up of industry veterans with 10+ years experience navigating group bookings on every scale. They’ve done the work and, as a result, have a breadth of existing relationships around the globe. They know the specific questions to ask, the exact type of properties to source for a group, and what it means to go beyond rate negotiation.
Anyone can call the hotel and ask for a group rate, but they’re not necessarily getting the right information without knowing the right questions to ask.
Most group booking managers know that they can call the hotel and ask for a discount, but they are not always aware of which concessions to ask for or which payments terms to push back on. They’re not well versed in limiting the group’s financial exposure or structuring the contract to make sure that the guest experience is preserved. This last factor is particularly important.
That’s where my team comes in. We save our clients money, but we really save them time in regards to management, all the way from sourcing to negotiating on their behalf. The Groups & Meetings team at Navan becomes the single source of information for a group booking.
This is the analogy that I’ll sometimes use: You can technically lay a hardwood floor in your own home. You can figure out a way to do it by yourself. But having a professional do it means making sure it is done correctly and making sure that the best equipment and products are bought. That’s essentially what we do. We’re a general contractor for group bookings.
We know the best people to work with and the right types of rates to get groups. We also leverage our entire customer base at Navan when we make these requests -- so we have more buying power than any customer could have on their own.
Our team represents the client and always negotiates and sources options with their best interest in mind. When a client works with a hotel directly, the hotel will always have the hotel's best interest in mind. Navan is on your team, and advocates for the best prices and experience as if we’re paying for and going on the trip ourselves.
How Does It Work
The Groups & Meetings team is a service-based component of Navan, and we’re kept busy by the breadth of group booking requests that come from more than Navan's 8,000 customers.
For hotels, the Groups & Meetings team identifies and sends RFPs to three hotels in the company’s destination based on the group’s specific business objectives and needs. We negotiate the contracts in such a way that protects our customers from financial exposure and preserves the guest experience, because traveling in a group shouldn’t mean less individual service.
For ground transportation, we not only negotiate rates with vendors but also sync with your company’s point of contact to make sure that the transportation schedules align with your group’s needs. There is a manager on call in the weeks leading up to the group trip and throughout the travel period to resolve any unexpected issues immediately.
Our business travelers are vocal about the benefits that our 24/7 365 global travel agents bring to them, and we know that managers handling the sometimes daunting task of getting executives and groups of employees together deserve the same support every step of the way. So our global travel agents are there for your group travelers to help them with anything needed throughout the trip.
Get in touch today to see how Navan can help make your company’s group business trip not only more affordable (at a better hotel), but that the entire process is frictionless -- allowing your group to focus on what matters most -- accomplishing what they need to when they come together.