Interview with Daniela Espinheira, RoomsCo CEO, in Jornal Sol, País Positivo.

RoomsCo is a hotel bookings platform created in 2013 by John Lambe and Daniela Espinheira, both of whom have vast experience in the travel sector and hotel market. the aim was to help companies save money, save time and take control when booking hotels.

First of all, what is RoomsCo first and how does it appear on the market?

RoomsCo is an online hotel bookings platform, which was established in Portugal in 2013 to reach the Portuguese corporate market. The company was created by two people with vast experience in the travel and hotel market, John Lambe and Daniela Espinheira. Managing hotel bookings for employees and customers is a complex area for many companies; companies find it difficult to manage and negotiate contracts with hotels to guarantee their employees the best rates when booking. Manual bookings and reports are time consuming, expensive and inefficient. Financial managers are not always able to gain a real view of the price / profit ratio, and how to get the best price without compromising quality. RoomsCo is here to help companies save money and time. Our technology means that companies can effectively manage the negotiation of their contracts and combine the rates obtained with restricted rates at more than 600 thousand hotels in our global supply chain. In addition, we provide detailed reports to enable financial managers to gain a clear and accurate view of expenses, reflecting the savings achieved in each appointment, in real time. RoomsCo combines innovation technology with access to special discounted rates, the best customer service to allow companies to save time and money by facilitating the negotiation processes with hotels.

How does RoomsCo help companies?

RoomsCo is the perfect solution for your company. We offer you an online booking platform, where you can manage your negotiated rates and access thousands of other private rates and generate savings and expense reports on hotel bookings.

  • It is a Booking website – RoomsCo offers a private website for companies with a simple booking process, highlighting the companies’ preferred hotels and locations.
  • Access to private discounts – RoomsCo is linked to more than 10 hotel distributors worldwide with more than 600,000 hotels, offering the company private discounts that cannot be found through public websites.
  • Contracts with Hotels – RoomsCo gives the opportunity to manage, through the online platform, the rates contracted by the company itself and updates to them.
  • Detailed Reports – RoomsCo’s detailed reports show the company who is booking, where they are booking and the savings that are being generated on each booking.

When we talk about bookings, and in this specific case, the corporate area, we are talking about something that is more complex than it seems. Is RoomsCo the right technology to avoid the logjams that often exist in companies when booking travel for employees and administrators?

We help companies and their different departments. For example:

  • Financial:
    – Significant savings in company expenses when booking hotels;
    – Greater compliance with your company’s booking policies;
    – Detailed expense reports by employee and hotel;
    – Reports on savings per booking.
  • Trip booking officer:
    – Unique search with access to multiple rates from multiple suppliers;
    – Quick search in the most frequent booking sites;
    – Absence of manual processes;
    – Automatic creation of savings reports;
    – 600,000 hotels worldwide at the best rates.
  • Traveller:
    – Simple online booking at contracted hotels;
    – Security of booking at the negotiated rate;
    – Immediate confirmation of booking and quotation;
    – Corporate rates with breakfast included and late cancellation policy;
    – Online cancellation.

Quality is always the key in any trip, even for business. Does RoomsCo also stand out here? Do you always demand quality from your partners?

At RoomsCo, quality is measured in terms of Customer Relationship. Basically, we offer a 24/7 customer support service. So, relationships with our suppliers are essential and we work with the best!

RoomsCo combines innovative technology with access to special discount rates. How do you access the best partners on the market?

We have been working with most of our partners for a long time and RoomsCo has therefore been able to choose to work with those who give quick and satisfactory responses because, ultimately, this is what our customers are looking for.

How much does it cost to be a RoomsCo customer?

Being our customer involves no cost for companies. Everything is at zero cost.

For the future, what are RoomsCo’s major projects?

RoomsCo aims to be an option not only in the Portuguese and Irish corporate markets but also elsewhere: Spain, Latin America, Africa.

What are corporate bookings?

Corporate bookings are bookings made in a company whenever someone needs to travel for work. The corporate travel market is one of the fastest growing in the world. Some companies still do not look at this in terms of cost optimization, in order to improve the performance of companies in the management of corporate travel. In Portugal, our experience tells us that most companies book hotels directly or online without comparing rates, not knowing whether the rate they are agreeing is the best on the market. If corporate travel expenditures are as high as they seem, one of the main concerns of companies should be how to reduce the expenses generated by corporate travel. Reducing these expenses cannot be related to reducing travel because we start by assuming that if the person is going to travel it is because they need to, otherwise they would use the phone, email or Skype to deal with these matters.

So, why not adopt a corporate booking management system that allows you to plan so that you can save and simplify each trip easily? As everyone knows, booking in advance can mean a significant reduction in travel costs!

A good corporate booking management system provides reports that can be used for better planning of trips in the future. When analysing the data collected, the company will have an overview of how it is performing in terms of predicted vs. actual.

From this analysis, it is possible to check whether trips are helping the company achieve its business objectives. For example, if the company sends an executive three times to negotiate with a potential customer in another country, but this has not resulted in an actual contract, it may have to rethink its strategy.

Likewise, it will be possible to improve the budget from the financial data generated by travel, such as refunds and last minute bookings / cancellations.

The use of a corporate booking management system also helps organize the company’s routine, by allowing the standardization of procedures for hotel bookings.

With this tool, it is possible to request authorizations, obtain managerial approval, search for hotels and confirm bookings quickly, without the need to process papers, e-mails and parallel conversations.

If the officer managing the process is absent, anyone with knowledge of the system can take their place without difficulty, and the company can be more relaxed about this process.

Standardization also helps productivity, as it facilitates flows and, as the tasks to be performed become habits, they start to be completed more quickly.

Non-centralized monitoring of trips, on Excel spreadsheets, may seem attractive at first, but there is enormous potential for failure. A misplaced schedule, information that is not saved, forgetfulness, can harm the entire process. Imagine scheduling a meeting with the customer and keeping them waiting because a hotel has not been booked!

With all the information in a single place and minimal intervention for data entry, information security is enhanced. For this reason, corporate travel management is a matter that should be addressed by every company that depends on travel to promote its business.

Predictability is your greatest ally for effective management of your company’s travel. The more knowledge you have about your team’s travel needs, the better your budget management will be for that purpose.

Having a travel history can help with this, as the company will be able to analyze past expenses, itineraries, places of greater demand and thus set more suitable budgets, routes, spending limits per person, use of points and loyalty programmes, so that the company is more competitive with differentiated corporate travel management strategies.

With a corporate booking management system, the company can also monitor in real time where its employees are and their next destinations, thus improving opportunities for dialogue to foster more business.

Of course, there are other advantages to adopting a booking management system, such as reducing time spent on the activity, improving the productivity of the team, mobility to carry out launches, among others.

Advantages of corporate bookings through RoomsCo

With RoomsCo, companies save money and time and take control through greater visibility of costs and savings. For example:

  • Save money
    RoomsCo customers save significantly when purchasing and searching for hotel accommodation through:
    – Access to other rates available in addition to those contracted by the company;
    – Higher number of bookings at the contracted hotels;
    – Greater compliance with your company policies.
  • Save time
    RoomsCo customers save time on bookings and contracts through:
    – Quick booking at contracted hotels and frequent destinations;
    – Access to the best rates without having to search multiple websites;
    – Significant time reduction in creating savings and expense reports;
    – Removal of manual processes and telephone calls to book hotels.
  • Take Control
    RoomsCo offers its customers greater visibility in hotel bookings and the display of their savings, thus improving:
    – Contracting with hotels based on the booking history;
    – Identification of new savings opportunities or new contracts with hotels;
    – Identification of non-conformities in the booking policy;
    – Certification that the contracted rate is the same as that paid by the company.