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Travel & Expense

How to Increase Control Over Hotel Spend

on May 01, 2014

GBTA research has revealed that over half feel they have more control over their company’s hotel spending policy than they did a few years ago. While this is great news, it is only the first step in true oversight of a corporate spending program.

Driving savings and controlling costs in hotel spending is priority one when it comes to travel managers maintaining control over hotel policy. The next step is to determine what's happening on the hotel folio beyond the nightly lodging and tax expenses. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What other expenditures are travelers adding to the nightly expenses? 
  • Are these expenditures within policy?

Beyond controlling costs, travel managers cited other important job responsibilities including ensuring preferred suppliers are being used, motivating better behavior, and driving compliance.

Automated monitoring and analysis of travel expenses represents the next tool in the travel manager's box of tools for ensuring that costs are controlled and policy is followed. Frequent monitoring and analysis ensures all transactions are being reviewed and tracked for adherence to policy and budget. People behave differently when they know their actions are being monitored and travelers are no different.

Really, staying in a preferred hotel is only the beginning of complying with corporate policy, and it raises other types of questions: are meal expenditures in line with policy? Are claimed expenses at the hotel in addition to the nightly stay valid and do they comply with policy?

Occasionally, there are even positive lessons from identifying non-compliance. One Oversight Insights On Demand™ for T&E customer determined that company travelers who violated company policy by expensing in-room movies actually spent less per night than other travelers. This led to a change in the company policy regarding movies. Another company noticed increasingly numerous violations of expenditures for hands-free mobile phone headsets. Further review indicated that the violations were due to purchases of Bluetooth headsets rather than wired headsets. The company decided that encouraging use rather than limiting expenditures was the preferred direction and they raised the ceiling for headset purchases.

Continuous transaction monitoring is a great tool for gaining control of your hotel spending, and for shaping policy.