Most travelers who work for large corporations are used to enjoying highly discounted rates at the largest hotel chains around the globe. Discounts vary significantly depending on the chain, the specific property, the period of the year, and the contract with the corporation. Typically discounted corporate rates go from a 10% discount to a 70% discount. Sometimes having access to the corporate agreement at a hotel chain gives you access to a highly discounted rate and often to other benefits, such as free internet connection, room upgrade, complimentary breakfast, and access to the hotel business lounge or late check-out. Moreover, the other significant benefits of corporate rates over different types of promotions have to do with the cancellation policy. Typically, corporate rates can be canceled by 6 pm of the check-in date with no penalties (other times, there is a more extended cancellation notice, but it’s pretty reasonable). On the other hand, if you want a decent hotel rate and are not entitled to a corporate rate, you will be left with advance payment rates, which typically that does not provide any refund in case of cancellation.
Large corporations are very good at negotiating fantastic corporate rates that typically are chain-wide: any hotel of that specific chain will provide you with a particular discount. However, the level of value may vary from property to property. Because the value is deep and based on how many rooms are sold each year using a specific corporate code, large corporations with these contracts push all their employees, suppliers, contractors, and consultants to use those corporate codes. The more rooms are sold on the corporate code, the better discount the travel team of the corporation will be able to negotiate for the following year. Typically, corporate rates can also be used by employees for personal trips and vacations (as long the bills are not expensed or charged to the company); in some cases, family members have access to the same rates.
For hotel chains, providing deep discounts to corporations allow the hotel chain to have higher occupancy rates and to have many people who book rooms directly with the hotel (or using the hotel website) rather than using sites such as Expedia, Orbitz, or Booking.com that charge to the hotel very high commissions. Corporate rates are unavailable through most booking websites, and you are forced to use the hotel website by applying to corporate code in the reservation search form. This is not a detail for the hotel because they push you to their website and away from travel websites that charge them commissions from 10% to 25% on every booking. Therefore, everybody gets a pretty nice deal: you get a low rate, the corporation receives another night sold using their corporate code, and a nice discount next year. The hotel saves money because you book directly on their website. Moreover, suppose the corporation is paying directly or indirectly for your stay. In that case, the corporation owning the corporate contract with the hotel chain enjoys the saving as well as your employer, client, or supplier.
As a corporate traveler and experienced negotiator of corporate deals, I always suggest to my friends and colleagues to be fully aware of the corporate rates they might have access to as employees, consultants, contractors, customers, or suppliers of large corporations. The benefits are great for everybody, and people should not be shy about taking advantage of the opportunity.
This blog is about corporate travel and teaches people how to get access to corporate discounts for hotels they might be entitled to but not aware of. I met many employees and clients of large corporations entitled to fantastic hotel rates but do not use them because they do not even know that they exist or do not have access to the corporate codes to access the rates.