You have the ability to configure three separate groups (default, director, executive) of hotel policies in the Policy tab and then to assign any of your users to the policy configuration. When configuring your policy for each of the groups, you will want to think strategically about how to blend your travel program goals for savings with your traveler's expectations and needs for business travel.
Below is a screenshot showing taken from the hotel policy page where you can determine your policy limits for each of your policy groups. Any booking that violates your set policy or the algorithm will trigger an approval process unless your company has that requested to not have this feature on.
You can learn more about approvals in the article below:
Assigning travelers to a policy:
Each person in your user list should already be assigned a policy level of either default, director, or executive when they were set up in your account. If you haven't already assigned policy levels to each person and would like to learn how please see step 2 of How do I invite new users?
We recommend bucketing your travelers together by their travel habits and travel requirements for your business. For example, if you have a sales team who is frequently required to book a trip on short notice to meet with prospects, it might make sense to group them into their own policy so you can tailor the out-of-policy lead-time threshold accordingly.
Understanding maximum price, fair market price, and price to beat:
If you elect to set a maximum price for your hotel policy, this will affect what displays as the fair market price or "price to beat" on the hotel search results page. The definition of these terms is listed below.
maximum price: Maximum allowable price for a booking to be in policy. If this is set as $0 in your hotel policy, the maximum allowable price to be in policy will be dynamically determined by the TripActions algorithm at the time of a search.
fair market price: Algorithmically determined fair market price for the available inventory at the time of the search of results that are viable for business travel. Note: it is possible to book above a fair market price and to be in policy if the maximum price is above the fair market price.
price to beat: The price that displays travelers must beat in order to earn rewards or save the company money. The price that displays here is the lower of either the maximum price or the fair market price.
You now have TripActions algorithmically determining the price to beat for your traveler's searches which will display at the top of the results page after your travelers conduct a search. Let's use an example of how this algorithm would work if we were to search for hotels in Manhattan over the course of several weeks:
- If you set your maximum price to $300 and the algorithm determines the fair market price is $333 then your $300 maximum price will override what's considered fair at that given moment and display as the price to beat. But if the algorithm determines that the fair market price the following week is $233, then the $233 fair market price will display as the price to beat.
- If you set the maximum price to $0 the algorithm will take into account what’s fair in Manhattan during any given search and determine what would be in policy and out-of-policy for that search and list results. The fair market price will always display as the price to beat in this case. TripActions will automatically list options which are far more expensive than the dynamically calculated fair market price as out of policy.
Setting maximum price:
Our suggestion here is to treat the maximum price as the cap you'd be comfortable paying anywhere generally speaking for the group of users in that hotel policy. A list of recommendations to consider are detailed below:
- $250 a night is the lowest we recommend setting as your maximum price if you are staying in the bigger cities in the U.S.A.
- If you know you don’t stay in those bigger cities then a lower number can make sense depending on where your team is traveling the most.
- If there is a specific destination frequently traveled, you can set a location-specific policy.
- Setting the maximum price too low can result in it being difficult to earn rewards without having to stay in lower quality hotels and make people feel like they are out-of-policy even though they're making a good choice for their booking.
- Some companies think of the maximum price as more of a notification system than a company policy and communicate this to their team of travelers. They would like to be notified when a booking comes in over the maximum allowed price to be in policy but understand there are cases when it may be difficult to find something viable under the price.
Setting lead time:
Hotels are unlike flights in that there are many more opportunities for savings even if you book close to the time of travel. The only case where lead time will significantly affect the prices in the market is if there is an event in the location over the time of travel that is causing less inventory to be available such as a conference or holiday.
Remember that if a booking is made that is out of policy, it will not be eligible to earn rewards. For this reason, we recommend leaving the lead time at zero because your team will still be able to save the company money for last minute bookings and be eligible to earn rewards while doing so. If you set a lead time for 7 days, and the booking is made 6 days out or less the booking will not be eligible to earn rewards so the traveler will be less incentivized to book something far below the price to beat.
Setting cancellable rooms:
You can choose to set non-refundable rooms as out-of-policy by checking this box. We recommend leaving this unchecked. This is because free-cancellation rooms are typically more expensive than non-refundable rooms so it may not lead to more savings in the long run if you mandate booking free-cancellation rooms. Additionally, you limit the options which are eligible to earn rewards by listing all non-refundable rooms as out of policy so your users will have less incentive to book far below the price to beat.