Expert insights

Must read tips for smarter buying – accommodation

19 June 2017 by Lone Konradsen

Top tips to help you achieve the best rates and availability, and take advantage of saving opportunities when you book.

Reconsider the need to travel

Many companies are challenging the need to travel. They’re revaluating whether teleconferencing or other collaboration tools, such as Skype, could help improve employee work/life balance, reduce stress and remove unnecessary costs. So ask yourself, or the person you’re booking the room for, if the trip is really needed in the first place.

Book in advance

Where possible, booking early means you can take advantage of better rates and availability. The same goes for your company’s preferred hotels, or when booking in new locations. Often when a hotel reaches 75% occupancy, they review their BAR rates (best available rates), meaning that typically, the closer you book to your date of stay, the more you pay.

And popular hotels are likely to fill up fast, so booking early means you are more likely to get your preferred hotel.

Advance purchase rates

If your plans are fixed and firm, why not take advantage of Advance Purchase hotel rates? This means payment is taken at the time of booking and is non-refundable. But if you know your plans won’t change, it will likely get you a better price.

If you need flexibility on the hotel there are other ways to keep the total cost of your trip down. Take a look at our 7 insider tips to beat rising rail fare costs!

Cancellation policies

Always check the cancellation policy for the hotel/rate you have selected prior to confirming your booking. If your plans are not confirmed you need to ensure you have the option to cancel/amend without penalties being incurred. Most flexible, corporate rates carry a cancellation policy between 24hrs prior to arrival and 1400hrs on the day of arrival.

Company preferred rates

By consolidating your accommodation into specific properties using Capita Travel and Events, you can better monitor your top locations and preferred hotels. If feasible, deals can be used to offer better value for money, savings and other incentives.

Looking at our top 20 locations, customers with managed hotel programmes achieve an overall average room rate of up to 20% less than those without one. So if your company has corporate rates in your chosen location, these should be used as much as possible. That will also maximise future potential negotiations with the hotels.

Try something new

If you’re travelling by car, have a look at hotels outside city centres. They often offer better value for money than centrally located properties and might offer more chance of parking facilities. Don’t always stay at the same hotel without first checking alternative properties within your company travel policy. Try to be flexible with your search to ensure you get the best results.

London is a great example. Transport for London continuely improves capacity and accessibility on the Underground network, so it’s worth looking at how hotel pricing differs across the main Tube zones. Luckily for you, we’ve done the work for you in another expert blog post!

Changes to your booking

If you need to make amendments to your booking once you have received confirmation then please advise Capita Travel and Events at the earliest time possible. This helps us to do as much as we can with any amendments without (where possible) incurring additional charges.


Apartments have always offered good value for money on long term accommodation requirements. They provide great flexibility too - on average 30% more space than an equivalent standard of hotel, according to the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers.

The facilities, such as a private kitchen and potentially a separate living room, provide a homely feel for long stay travellers. You could consider apartment sharing for projects that need several people to stay in a new location/country at the same time; it’s a great way to support networking and encourage collaboration!

And you can think short term too - some selected apartments also offer solutions for one or two night stays.

Talk to one of our market specialists to help evaluate your hotel programme and get a better all round deal for your travellers and business.

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 your details below.