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12 top tips for negotiating business travel

Blog post   •   Aug 22, 2018 09:51 GMT

Cruise control: Get a handle on your travel program for 2019

Our  Global Travel Forecast shows that travel prices are expected to rise sharply in 2019. Hotels are up 3.7%, and flights up 2.6%, driven by a growing global economy and rising oil prices. The only respite will be ground transportation, which remains flat.

As negotiation season approaches for travel buyers, there is a lot at stake, so we have gathered twelve top tips from our key experts to help you succeed in designing a stellar travel program for 2019.


1. Consolidate your expense data to get visibility on ancillary spend as unbundled fares and low-cost models become the new industry trends.

2. Control fare distribution as channels are more and more fragmented and new pricing concepts (branded fares) are not always well displayed.

3. Monitor changes frequently based on potential swings in pricing.

4. Negotiate new fares by anticipating forecast price increases - plus any changes in the competitive landscape from mergers and acquisition, new long-haul, or low-cost competition, and other airline strategies designed to increase yield.


1. Interrogate content on behalf of your travelers by using technology offered by your travel management company (TMC). Save time and effort compared to manually searching on an aggregator site. If it’s not offered by your TMC, ask why.

2. Optimize your hotel program by focusing your time and effort on key properties while ensuring an adequate mix of rates. Combine fixed rates such as Last Room Availability (LRA) and Non-Last Room Availability (NLRA) with chain-wide discounts and dynamic pricing.

3. Analyze the door-to-door impact of travel. Hotel room rates can be optimized through favorable scheduling of your overall trip.

4. Prioritise security standards And instigate contingency plans with key partners to localize, alert and communicate with travelers.


1. Leverage your position. There will be an increased effort to raise rates within the car rental industry. Know your current patterns, how your costs are distributed, and insight into the global marketplace.

2. Ask your car rental suppliers to provide data from your travelers’ bookings to understand how much your organization is paying in ancillary fees. This enables you to conduct informed negotiations on items that represent the greatest expense.

3. Focus on more than just rates. Get a complete picture of how your total costs are distributed. It will help you focus on more than just rates.

4. Look out for charges that are already included in your contracts, such as damage to vehicles your employees did not incur, incorrect refueling, and GPS charges. 

Blog author: Julian Walker, Head of External Market Communications and PR, Carlson Wagonlit Travel 

Comments (1)

    Could I suggest that you define and split out the ground transportation as car rental is totally different to pre booked transfers and the on demand ride hailing. Yes rental is flat but managed ground transfers is on the increase and represents $25 million global market and represents average 7% of an average corporate travel trip. MYCAB is a leader in the pre booked managed transfers and the market is groeing yet the key is the consolidation of the market demand. Feel free to reach out if anyone would like to explore this more

    - Nigel Clsrke - Aug 23, 2018 06:32 GMT

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