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Finding solutions to make business travel more sustainable and streamlining the RFP (request for proposal) process are two of the biggest priorities for corporate buyers in 2022.
These issues have been highlighted by travel buyer members of hotel company IHG’s new Europe Corporate Advisory Board, which has been formed to tackle a series of challenges affecting business travel and hospitality providers.
The IHG advisory board includes buyers from corporate clients across sectors such as banking, consultancy and consumer goods.
Key priorities for this year include the “critical need” for corporates to find ways of implementing more environmentally friendly travel policies, alongside better catering to the requirements of their travellers.
This includes making information about sustainability “more consistent and accessible” for both travel managers and employees.
Another issue is how to create an industry-wide solution to remove the “pain” of the annual RFP process. IHG said it was committed to looking at ways to streamline this tendering process, including a pilot of a new pre-populated RFP template for standardised questions.
The advisory board has also been discussing how “real-time” data can be consistently shared between hotels and buyers, rather than just during an annual RFP negotiation.
Advisory board member Clare Francis, from Willis Towers Watson, explained: “The areas of focus discussed have been key to most travel buyers in 2021 and into this year. Important topics that we look forward to discussing further in future include diversity and inclusion, and continuous sourcing.”
Debbie Male, head of Europe sales for IHG Hotels & Resorts, added that the goal of the advisory board was to address “key challenges” coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as potential solutions to long-term issues.
“We remain confident that these unique interactions with our clients will not only bring solutions to some key fundamental issues affecting our industry, but hopefully address some historical challenges overall, that have been a burden to both client and supplier for a long time,” added Male.
Sustainability and diversity have become more important issues for both buyers and travellers when choosing suppliers in recent years.
Last year, American Express Global Business Travel teamed up with meetings management and sourcing provider Cvent to create a set of 47 hotel sourcing questions focused on sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion.