Understanding requirements

Our speculative call to this rail track engineering company started well. Yes, they were in the market for a new bookings provider. This was followed by an emphatic assurance that they didn’t want any additional services (“No frills!”) thank you. They’d been down that road once with their current provider, and wouldn’t be making the same mistake again.

In fact, as they had already negotiated their own rates directly with a few hotel chains and had a team of two in-house bookers to coordinate their requirements, the only reason they could see for working with Inntel was to access the things they could not get otherwise: our online booking system, the preferential rates we get with hotels they do not have direct rates with, and the credit arrangements we have with thousands of hotels across the UK that allow for monthly billing.

And so, starting in August 2015, that’s what we gave them.

Solving problems

Despite earlier indication of no frills management’, the client needed to book around 2,000 bed nights a month and more than 200 train journeys through Inntel. We were keen to demonstrate that we were not an “off the shelf” booking agent and could help them to manage their bookings smarter – while saving them money – at no extra cost. But we appreciated that, under the circumstances, a softly softly approach was required.

The first obvious problem (to us) was that the client was used to paying the bills without question – because they had never had detailed information to reconcile the bills against. Inntel’s reporting system is designed to give clients a full account of all bookings, so we selected the elements that we felt would be most useful for the client to see and prepared a stripped down report to present at the interim review.

Adding value

The report showed the rooms and travel arrangements that had been booked, the price the client had paid on the directly negotiated rate and, for comparison, Inntel’s rate with the same hotels. It also flagged up accommodation that had been booked at a third ‘best available’ rate, and some unexpected travel charges could also be flagged. This persuaded the client that reports are worth having – and to go with Inntel’s lower room rates for all future bookings.

Satisfying customers

Once we had opened the clients’ eyes to the benefit of our brand of ‘frills’, they were very interested to see what else we could offer!

At the time of writing, just six weeks after Inntel started working on the account:

1
The client now has a member of the Inntel team on site every Thursday and Friday to help the bookings team process the peak in requests (for which the client pays only the travel and accommodation costs incurred).
2
Inntel now takes care of the bill back process, so the client is only paying fully checked and reconciled bills.
3
We have already saved the client £47,000 by booking on Inntel’s rates rather than the client’s directly arranged rates.
4
The client is also using the Traveller Tracker tool on the Inntel system to enable them to monitor the whereabouts of all travellers and fulfil their duty of care to their staff.