Expert Insights

Could staying local be good for your business?

11 November 2016 by Leigh Cowlishaw

There is just something therapeutic about supporting local independent hotels and venues. And if your own business can benefit from it too, then it’s a no brainer. 

Take a look at some of the reasons why buyers should consider including independent hotels and venues in their travel programmes...

Supporting independent business is the reason I'm passionate about the Capita Travel and Events small vendor initiative, “The Collection”. It puts independent hotels, venues and serviced apartments on an even playing field with large groups. This presents buyers with variety, even more personality, choice and impartiality.

If your business travellers ask about using independents they know, check them out. Here are some good reasons to…

1. You might get a better deal

My local green-grocer is great at throwing in free extras. I’m left feeling as though they value my business, and I get a great deal. I like the service and I keep going back. My point is that independent businesses, by their nature, are empowered to use their discretion to reward valued custom.

2. You could save money

It’s not just about discretionary extras. Encouraging the use of venues on city centre outskirts could save money because city centre properties are likely to have higher room rates. But, decisions on your hotel programme should be based on total trip costs, including public transport or taxis. And you need to keep traveller wellbeing at the forefront of the decisions too.

The idea is a simple one and I’ve seen Direct Line Group demonstrate it perfectly. The insurer has successfully launched a ‘stay local’ campaign. Employees travelling to its Bromley office are encouraged to stay close to the office on London’s outskirts. By moving travellers away from hotels in the city, the initiative has helped save money and travellers don’t have to travel any further.

3. You can support local economies

A local independent property received 30% more bookings from Direct Line Group’s campaign. And for every £1 spent with a local, independent business, between 50p-70p circulates back into that local economy.

If you’re an independent hotelier, it must be easy to feel that your marketing is wasted in a sea of big chains and their advertising spend. But there’s great news. Our customers like to support local economies by booking local independent properties. Capita Travel and Events’ Collection concept can help them do just that. It’s the reason why we have such strong retention to the initiative.

Another benefit of supporting local businesses is that it can give your sustainability credentials a lift.

4. You’re in good company

91% of our negotiated customer programmes include independent properties. It means you’re in good company if you’re considering them for your own travellers’ needs. In the UK market, there’s currently no single chain that could easily satisfy every corporates’ need. And, a diversity of properties on a corporate accommodation programme ensures that it really can suit all in terms of product, service, rates and location.

We successfully negotiated countless hotel rates for our customer’s 2016 programmes. Not one single chain on a customer programme had over 10% of the total number of rates which were accepted and contracted. This strategy provides coverage and choice, in line with policy, knowledge and market conditions – and it removes risk because customers aren’t putting all of their eggs in one chain’s basket.

We are seeing an increase in customers requesting, and us providing, independent unusual venues for meetings. We always make sure they’re fit for the brief first. Surroundings, ambience, settings can be as important to delegate and event deliverables, as much as food, service and location. This is what delivers Return on Experience (ROE) and ROI.

With events such as the Independent Hotel Show and Independent Venue Show thriving, there couldn’t be a better time to embrace independents.

So, if you’re a travel buyer and you want to examine what independents can do for your travel programme, get in touch. The same goes for independent properties! If you want to explore what our business travel customers could bring to your business, get in touch.

Interested? Let’s have a chat about your company’s travel, meetings and events objectives - from the stuff that keeps you awake at night, to the everyday experiences of your employees! Call us on 0330 390 0340, or submit the details below, with an idea of the times that suit you for a call.