I learned about the travel business in my very first job – in my father’s travel company. Since then I have worked for global IT companies, a leading European event's organiser, and an international recruitment company. These jobs have all involved a lot of international travel, which has its perks but is nowhere near as glamorous as you might think. In fact, as you progress in your career it becomes a chore, especially if your spouse also has to travel and you have a young family at home. At that stage the one luxury that you really value is a good night’s sleep – but you cannot even take this for granted.
Arriving at an airport late at night to discover that your hotel is inconveniently located for the early morning meeting isn’t much fun. Being sent late in the day to attend an event in a city where every room was booked weeks ago is even worse – try getting a room in Brussels during Seafood Expo. or, as happened to me, try getting a room in Hanover during CeBIT (I ended up 60 km away in a bed and breakfast in Brunswick!)
It is no use blaming the poor hotel bookers. They do their best in a difficult situation, scouring the internet to find something that comes as close as possible to meeting your needs, in competition with countless other hotel bookers in other companies. They have little to go by, having never seen the hotels themselves and they must satisfy internal or externally regulated travel policies – plus they are under pressure to keep costs to the minimum.
In a large multinational company this is less of a problem. Big companies often offload hotel booking to a travel management company (TMC) or agency, because the volume of business they offer to the TMC is huge, they will get good deals and some tender loving care. But service levels vary here and it is still very unclear as to whether each traveller is getting the best value. But this is not an option for most companies (particularly SME's with up to 2,000 employees), even if they do a lot of travel and hotel accommodation is a major spend category.
For these reasons I immediately understood that Roomex offers a great proposition. Roomex is a global platform for booking hotel accommodation. It connects to every hotel in the world and presents the hotel booker with the best available options at the best prices (taking into account your employer’s negotiated rates). That saves the hotel booker a lot of time searching – Roomex does it all in the background, accessing some 35 sources.
It also cuts down on administrative time. For example, all of a company’s monthly hotel bills are consolidated onto a single invoice. Companies that put all their hotel booking through Roomex have complete visibility into this important spend category – as a total, by any financial reporting period, and by any other criterion they specify, such as department, cost code, project etc. They can also see instantly their total savings and average spend per hotel night. So much easier than shuffling through individual invoices and expense reports!
The business traveller has less to worry about too. Filling out expense reports (the bane of my life in previous jobs!) is greatly simplified as expenses can be billed back to the employer. Plus, Roomex has a team of expert support staff to help if the traveller experiences any difficulties with the booking or the hotel.
Perhaps most important of all, Roomex offers small and medium sized companies the opportunity to bring hotel accommodation, under effective management and control. It helps companies to drive down costs (on average 21%), gives the CFO visibility over an important spend category, and provides reports that satisfy auditors. Having worked with FreeMarkets and Ariba (now part of SAP) I appreciate the importance of spend visibility. Getting costs under control can make or break a mid-sized company – savings go straight to the bottom line.
In short, Roomex offers many of the benefits of a TMC – but it does so with no costs, no fees, no contracts.
I join Roomex as Vice President, Marketing, at an exciting time in its development. It already has hundreds of satisfied customers across the United Kingdom and Ireland, where it is poised to become the market leader in hotel booking in its “sweet spot” of mid-sized companies. This will also provide a platform for expanding into other geographical markets. A great challenge for an international marketer.
What’s more, I will face that challenge knowing that I couldn’t possibly be in better hands when it comes to international travel.