Delivering value through suppliers
Delivering value, value, and more value through suppliers
Andrea Stowers, National Product Manager
When the topic of a business travel agency is discussed, naturally many people navigate the conversation towards airfares and how we can best support them with the lowest fares in the market. Airfares are a big part of the value and the support you’ll get from a business travel agency like Orbit, but a key part of how we support clients beyond airfares comes from the rest of our greater product proposition – one that we strive to deliver as the most dedicated in the corporate travel market in NZ.
As I was finishing this piece off I realised it has the word value in it 14 times. While not intentional, it demonstrates why Orbit are focused on investing in this area of business. How we deliver value through airfares, accommodation, rentals and taxis all form the bigger picture of our preferred partner programme Orbit Plus+. The overarching focus for Orbit Plus+ is on delivering value for our clients from our relationships and negotiations with our selected, preferred partners. More often than not, these rates and negotiations could not have been achieved by clients on their own. This value of Orbit Plus+ is demonstrated in a number of key ways.
Total product dedication
We take great pride in Orbit Plus+. We are realistic however and understand that every corporate travel agency in the market has their own product offering and partners they work with. They need to. But the point of difference we will always emphasise is the dedicated nature of our programme. In my role as National Product Manager, I live and breathe delivering value and relationships with our partners. That is my role 100% of the time. In addition to my role as National Product Manager, we have a Product Coordinator, and regional support through our 9 NZ offices.
Delivering industry leading rates and benefits
As a group, Orbit have 9 offices across New Zealand, and over 1,000 clients. When you put all of that together it equates to booking over 500,000 room nights each year in hotels for our clients, and millions of dollars in flight bookings with airlines. For clients, that means because we put such large volumes of travellers through our suppliers we have the ability to negotiate strong rates and benefits.
Because our preferred accommodation rates are negotiated based on Orbit’s annual room night spend with our partners, we have confidence that it will be hard for you to find rates better than we offer. And if you do – our dedicated structure means we will pick up this conversation for you. In terms of road transport options (vehicle rentals and taxis), we have also invested in this space to provide an offering that you can tap into even if you have the smallest of rental car spend, while we are the only travel management company in the NZ market that have corporate agreements with Corporate Cabs and Blue Bubble Taxis.
Added value benefits
Many of our hotel partners offer last room availability which means if the hotel is getting full and charging peak prices for the rooms – Orbit (and our clients) will still be able to access the rate without the price-hike should rooms still be available at the hotel. Price increases are very much industry norm, however we stay focused on delivering value by keeping the rates static where possible and if we cannot offer static rates then we offer a good discount of the dynamic rates.
We also know that business travel requirements can change so with this in mind we negotiate a short cancellation policy for your flexibility. This is important to many of our clients. And if you have any special requirements that you need assistance with, we are more than happy to help reach out to our partners to make it happen. Being able to do this is a reflection of the strength of our relationships with our partners.
Then of course there is wi-fi. I think we have all stayed somewhere where we have been told we need to pay extra for wi-fi access. You won’t get that through our preferred partners as wi-fi is always included as part of our rates. Often it is the small things that can make a difference.
Taking our accommodation partnerships one step further, we also have preferred agreements with over 40 Australian hotels & work with key hotel chains that we can offer further benefits with. We know that trans-Tasman travel is an important part of business for many Kiwi businesses so we have made sure Orbit Plus+ is aligned to that. Having 5 Orbit World Travel offices in Australia also allows us to be across the latest changes, trends and updates from the Australian market.
We've got the wider market covered too
While we know having our Orbit preferred hotel partners delivers value for our clients, Orbit Plus+ is also about delivering rates, partnerships, and benefits based on your own tailored, specific needs. For example, if you have your own preferred accommodation that may not be an Orbit preferred partner then we will go into bat for you and can negotiate your own rate and benefits. Taking this even further, we also put large volumes of room nights through Expedia so should you see something you want to book through Expedia – we can do that. And of course, if you want us to look into Airbnb accommodation we can do that. We don't just work with anyone, Orbit Plus+ is not a ‘sign up to register’ programme. To be a preferred partner with Orbit, our partners must meet criteria and need to deliver value in ways that we know is going to be of utmost benefit for our clients. Sure, we will always look into any request you have for accommodation, rentals, or taxis however our our Orbit Plus+ partners have had to jump a few hurdles to be aligned and to be a partner we recommend to our clients. That is because we want to be absolutely confident in who we work with, and how they benefit you.
We build the relationship, you leverage it
Anybody can book an airfare, accommodation, or a rental. We get that. A key difference that we bring to the table however is that we have the relationships to give our clients confidence that we will be able to make a difference. As the National Product Manager, my role is essentially to be an extension of your business. If you have an issue with a supplier, you want to understand more about why a decision has been made, or if you need us to negotiate more for you – that is for me to do. We believe we have the best negotiation in the NZ market.
Part of these relationships mean we also conduct regular views of our preferred hotels. This ensures a good standard of accommodation no matter the star rating. And as mentioned, if you have a question, feedback or an issue – we’ll take care of that for you.
Partnerships, rates, benefits, and dedication and support is what Orbit Plus+ is all about. Our focus is on delivering the best value for you through partners and suppliers, so you can get on with your job. That’s one of the key reasons to have the support of a business travel agency. We build the relationships, you leverage them.