GBTA Convention will address the recent issues in business travel with findings from travel professionals who attend the event.
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Join us for state-of-the-art education at GBTA Convention 2021 held November 17-19 in Orlando, Florida. View and learn more about all session topics, including duty of care, risk management, sustainability, and more.
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VP, Global Sales, Choice Hotels International, Inc.
As Vice President of Global Sales for Choice Hotels®, Mr. Fletcher heads the global sales organization and is responsible for directing and refining the company’s worldwide sales activities and strategy to increase revenue, drive loyalty and support the continued growth of business travel. Mr. Fletcher also leads efforts to increase awareness of Choice Hotels' portfolio of brands and breadth of services for all types of business travelers.
What can travel managers expect when they work with Choice Hotels to build their corporate travel programs?
During each step of the travel management process, Choice Hotels’ dedicated team of corporate staff provides a tailored approach to optimizing the business travel bookings and management experience. Choice account managers work to secure guaranteed discounts and best pricing, flexible reservation policies, special loyalty rewards, and as well as providing access to a robust and global hotel portfolio of established and trusted brands.
Travel managers benefit from the ongoing investments we infuse into our portfolio - from our rapidly-growing upscale brands Cambria® Hotels and Ascend Hotel Collection®, perfect for both business and leisure travel, to our popular and recently redesigned Comfort® brand, to our deeply relaxing Sleep Inn® brand, offering complimentary premium access to the Relax Melodies® sleep and relaxation app. Our extended stay brands have continued to provide in-demand, apartment-style housing for corporate and essential travel, with our WoodSpring® Suites brand on-track to have more than 300 locations across the United States this year.
How has Choice’s focus on travel managers changed over the past year?
It’s important to us to keep the bookings process as easy as possible for corporate travelers in the current, everchanging environment.
Choice Hotels built several internal taskforces early in the pandemic to represent the best interests of our customers and how we can keep them best informed – including our corporate travel guests and travel buyers. Listening closely to the needs and feedback from our clients in real-time allowed us to implement new initiatives and programs that our corporate and essential travelers needed, including updated cleanliness and meetings guidelines (Commitment to Clean and Meetings Well Planned), a housekeeping upon request program, as well as breakfast and dining to-go options. During the first few months of spring 2020, we launched a Choice Cares promotional rate for essential workers, and have continued to support discounts and best pricing to provide value to travel managers.
Our current motto “Our business is you” continues to drive our mission – we have remained committed to corporate and essential travelers. We’re in close contact with our corporate travel managers through various channels, whether it’s corporate travel buyers panels, marketing and messaging that connect managers with each of our hotel brands, our corporate sales team on certain initiatives geared towards travel buyers, and through forums like GBTA.
How is Choice leveraging technology to improve the bookings and stay experience for corporate travelers?
Corporate travel trends are evolving more than ever, and Choice is focused on long-term strategic investments in our brands and our infrastructure that make it easier than ever to do business with us. We’ve implemented new capabilities based on guest feedback and changing traveler sentiment, such as contactless check-in, housekeeping upon request, and even a text-message based digital concierge at our Cambria Hotels brand to align with new guest expectations.
Choice Hotels was the first in the industry to launch Virtual Pay capabilities, allowing travel planners and managers to quickly and easily book stays for their clients without the guest needing to present a card at check-in. We researched and engaged directly with travel planners and corporate clients to survey and understand their methods, goals and areas of opportunity, then leveraged those insights to streamline the group bookings process and how travel planners engage with Choice. Virtual Pay is now available for groups on our group management platform, simplifying the payment process and providing fewer physical touchpoints when booking.
Choice is focused on building new travel-related partnerships and platforms to further drive value for our guests, including expanding our Choice Privileges loyalty redemption options with partners like Penn National Gaming, which allow travelers to redeem points earned on business travel for upscale travel experiences at aspirational destinations.