News for the Hospitality Executive
Delray Beach, FL – March 5, 2013: HICKORY GLOBAL PARTNERS (“HGP”; www.HickoryTravel.com), the newly-refashioned consortium of some of the country’s largest corporate and business travel agencies, has completed the industry’s first ever “Consortia Rate Audit,” an internal study of the company’s 2013 Global Hotel Program, Hickory for Hotels, measured against competing rate codes in the consortia channel.
Intended to become an annual benchmark for consortia rates, the 2013 HGP Consortia Rate Audit tracked hotel chain and property compliance with rate agreements across multiple consortia and TMC rate codes. According to Chris Dane, Hickory’s General Manager, “Commissioning this study was an important first step toward change in an industry that has been unable or unwilling to track or measure itself.”
HGP’s 2013 study included 55 hotel chains representing 616 hotels in 127 cities. Rates were audited via the Sabre GDS and included the following consortia and TMC rate access codes: Hickory Global Partners (HFH), CCRA, ABC Corporate Services, and BCD Travel. Availability searches for one-night stays were performed using the following dates: 4/23/13, 5/4/13, and 9/23/13.
As expected (and contractually stipulated) the rates from each competing program tended to cluster. Under the rate code “HFH,” Hickory’s 2013 products for the 616 properties studied outperformed the competitive set. Compared to the frequency that the HFH rate code displayed rates at parity or better 100% of the time, BCD offered rates at parity or better 94.0% of the time, ABC offered rates at parity or better 91.2% of the time, and CCRA offered rates at parity or better 93.3% of the time.
“We found the narrow range of rate parity we expected,” said Brian Harniman, HGP’s Executive Vice President of Distribution and Marketing. “But our initial testing highlighted another long- standing problem in the consortia space. Why do agencies continue to waste valuable time shopping multiple rate codes if the outcome will most likely be the same each time?”
While rates may be clustered, HGP differentiates from other consortia by offering innovative revenue management programs and tools, such as the opportunity for its agency partners to earn significant revenue share on sales of preferred hotel brands.
The findings of this initial study have encouraged Hickory to continue the rate monitoring process on a semi-annual basis. Furthermore, the Hickory team uncovered three key areas of opportunity to improve the HFH product: 1) correcting rates with old Hickory rate code descriptors, 2) isolating rates out of parity compliance, and 3) revealing “squatter” properties – hotels that have loaded rates on the HFH code without authorization.
HGP member agencies may also instantly alert Hickory’s hotel team to a property listed in a GDS at a higher rate than other consortia programs through a simple function on Hickory’s extranet, PartnerHQ. Once notified, the hotel team works with the supplier to bring the rate back to compliance. Pro-active monitoring of this kind ensures that the Hickory hotel program will continue to provide value to agency and supplier partners alike.
About Hickory Global Partners
Built upon a 40 year old brand, the new Hickory Global Partners – “The ORIGINAL Business Travel Solution” – is bringing a fresh approach to consortia. Hickory is evolving the model, building a platform to eliminate the data challenges inherent in traditional consortia and moving to measurement and revenue management. Partner Agencies have access to quality rate programs, products and services designed to make their businesses more efficient and profitable. Supplier Partners receive measurable ROI, extensive distribution and innovative marketing opportunities across the HGP global network. For more information on Hickory Global Partners, visit www.HickoryTravel.com.