SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente

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BCD Travel Pilots tripBAM, Driving Hotel Savings for Corporate Clients

tripBAM™ today announced a collaboration with BCD Travel intended to help businesses capture savings when hotel rates drop after a property is booked. The global travel management company recently launched a pilot program with a handful of its corporate clients, including Sapient and WellPoint, to test whether travelers would widely use the tool and measure the amount of savings clients might expect from using it.

Encouraged by the promise of tripBAM, BCD Travel is expanding the pilot program this summer to include a larger group of clients, as more companies seek creative technologies to combat rising hotel costs and increase hotel attachment rates.

tripBAM’s hotel shopping service uses patent-pending “cluster” shopping processes to find savings on more than 60 percent of hotel groups searched, with average savings of more than $50 per night. BCD Travel is a leading global travel management company, recording more than $22 billion in sales in 2013. The global TMC will highlight its full range of offerings at booth # 1239 at the Global Business Travel Association conference in Los Angeles on July 26-30.

“tripBAM addresses two current challenges. It makes hotel rate fluctuations visible and actionable to business travelers, and also makes travelers more informed hotel shoppers by exposing them to relevant lower cost alternatives through its cluster capabilities,” said April Bridgeman, senior vice president of strategic marketing at BCD Travel. “With increasingly sophisticated hotel revenue management practices driving frequent rate changes, this service helps us discover opportunities to achieve same hotel savings as well as to steer travelers to preferred hotels.”

BCD Clients See Improved Hotel Compliance Opportunities via tripBAM

BCD client Sapient, a leading global provider of business technology and consulting services, began its tripBAM pilot in the second quarter of 2014. Shopping a mix of preferred hotel suppliers and select properties outside of Sapient’s program, tripBAM delivered savings opportunities on 39 percent of clusters shopped. “The results we’ve seen so far are most promising,” said Michelle De Costa, director of global travel and client experience for Sapient. “As we work with BCD to put together hotel cluster searches using tripBAM, we’re also seeing increased use of our preferred hotels.”

WellPoint, one of the nation’s leading health benefits companies, initially piloted tripBAM to shop for rate savings only at the property already booked by the traveler. Shopping only this limited scope, when savings were found, WellPoint averaged a room rate reduction of $44 per booking. “This initial test, even on such a small scale, shows there are new, incremental savings to be found in traditional travel categories,” said Cindy Heston, director of travel and events at WellPoint. “We’re taking steps now to expand our tripBAM searches to clusters that will bias towards our preferred hotel partners.” WellPoint uses Tbiz, a division of BCD Travel, to manage its travel, and the company recently expanded the range of its hotel cluster searches to also include preferred properties.

BCD Automation and Service Enhance tripBAM’s Cost-Saving Services

When tripBAM delivers a new hotel option that meets the corporate client’s savings threshold and program guidelines, BCD delivers a customized email to the traveler that clearly describes the current hotel, the new hotel option, the amount of savings, and a simple click to accept or decline the opportunity. A larger, more varied group of BCD clients are now piloting tripBAM, testing a range of services that include:

  • Integration that facilitates tripBAM shopping on hotel bookings made by any corporate self-booking tool, as well as traditional offline bookings made by BCD agents
  • The deployment of preferred hotel savings thresholds that improve compliance
  • Automatic re-booking of lower rates at same-hotels, adding efficiency and ensuring use of low rates
  • Automated copying of the traveler’s manager on the email detailing the savings option, a tactic that has proven to improve compliance in the majority of travel programs
  • Customized clusters that can be limited exclusively to preferred hotels and chains

“tripBAM’s creative approach to seeking out hotel savings while meeting corporate program guidelines represents the exact mix of new technology and elegant service that corporate travel managers look for today, and that will increase travelers' confidence in their managed travel program,” said Bridgeman. “Our expanded pilots are intended to test not the technology but traveler behavior. We want to measure how often savings opportunities revealed by the tool are actually accepted by travelers, under what conditions and by which traveler types so we can determine more realistic savings opportunities for our clients. Dependent on these results, we will decide whether or not to offer it more broadly.”

About BCD Travel

BCD Travel helps companies make the most of what they spend on travel. For travelers, this means keeping them safe and productive, and equipping them to make good choices on the road. For travel and procurement managers, it means advising them on how to grow the value of their travel program. For executives, we ensure that the travel program supports company objectives. In short, we help our clients travel smart and achieve more. We make this happen in nearly 100 countries with 11,000 creative, committed and experienced people. And it’s how we maintain an industry-leading client-retention rate of more than 95%, with 2013 sales of US $22.4 billion. For more information, visit www.bcdtravel.com.

About tripBAM™

Dallas-based tripBAM is a new hotel shopping service used by corporations, hotels, travel agencies and travelers. tripBAM uses patent-pending “cluster” shopping processes to find savings on more than 60 percent of hotel groups searched, with average savings of more than $50 per night. Launched in April 2013, tripBAM earned GBTA’s Spotlight on Transformation award and recognition from leading corporate travel publications in the United Kingdom and the United States. For more information about the service, go to www.tripbam.com.

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