Amex GBT and Cvent add dozens of CSR questions for hotel tenders

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American Express Global Business Travel and Meeting Management and transitional sourcing provider Cvent have teamed up to create and launch a set of 47 hotel sourcing questions focused on sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion, the companies told BTN.

The new questions complement the Global Business Travel Association’s Request for Proposal template and were sent to hoteliers in late July so they can start filling out their responses. The questions will be available to buyers using Cvent Transient today, in time for the 2022 bidding season.

“Corporate social responsibility topics around sustainability and diversity are, in our view, a growing priority for many of our clients at GBT,” said Nina Marcello, Director of Global Business Consulting at GBT. She proposed the RFP initiative, which started in the spring. “We are inundated with a deluge of questions about how we can help customers who need these questions answered,” she said.

Marcello explained that the current GBTA module does not fully capture the full range of questions asked by customers. “This resulted in a lot of personalized questions and exchanges with hoteliers,” she said, adding that questions on sustainability and DCI-related topics for many buyers were not up to standard. priority when the association created its current set. of questions.

For example, some GBT customers have asked about the ability to support electric vehicle charging stations, Marcello said, adding that these are not in the current GBTA model. Another set of questions concerns more detailed information about companies belonging to diversity. Another topic discussed is carbon emissions.

“It’s huge both on the transitional side and on the meeting side,” Marcello said. “Many hoteliers do not have [the information], and they’re going to have to work hard to get it, but it’s so important to the people who are part of the Billion Dollar Roundtable and are committed to achieving certain goals by working with diversity-owned companies. This information is seriously lacking in the current deliverable, and it’s something customers wanted to see this year. “

GBTA released an updated hotel RFP template in 2019, but the pandemic has suspended a 2020 update, according to a GBTA spokesperson.

“The upcoming update will incorporate new questions and expand on current issues regarding sustainability, IED and health and safety,” said the GBTA spokesperson. In addition, it will include more flexibility and customization options so that buyers can include specific questions regarding their organizations and priorities without needing GBTA RFP tools and hotel systems to be updated with new templates. every year. We recognize that sustainability and DEI are rising high on the agenda for so many members of our industry. We look forward to rolling out the updated hotel request for proposal template which will help our members and industry to meet these priorities. ”

GBTA did not provide a date when the updated model would be released.

Marcello said she and Cvent had informed GBTA that they were doing “pop out” work for this year, and once they received guest feedback, they would let GBTA know if hoteliers were able to respond. They also said they would share the list of questions with GBTA, “so if they want to include them in their next release, that would be great if they could,” she said. “It’s not about bypassing GBTA. We hope to be able to work with them in the future.”

The questions started with feedback collected from GBT guests and meetings with major hoteliers, many of whom are part of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, Marcello said. They also spoke to other consulting organizations and travel management companies and used tenders from historical clients.

The new issues aren’t just a GBT initiative, said Brian Sullivan, senior director of product management for Cvent, who heads the company’s transient product line. “As we started talking with hotel suppliers and other travel management companies, there was a need across the industry to do something fairly quickly,” he said, adding that some of the hoteliers they interacted with are part of GBTA’s Corporate Responsibility Committee. “So we took some of those issues that they agreed to and for the new rewrite, we incorporated them here. Again, they are not part of the full structure because it has not yet. been submitted by GBTA to industry, but we know what some of these questions will be, and we have incorporated them into this additional model. “

It’s remarkable how quickly the major players in the industry came together to agree on these issues and come to a consensus on what information they wanted, Sullivan said, then moved to put quickly a solution on the market.

“We tried to keep it simple,” Marcello said. “There will always be clients with very, very specific initiatives that they want to dig deeper into and ask for more from hoteliers. I don’t think we will ever avoid it. But what we are managing here is the norm, and trying to reduce the workload of hoteliers, who also see these kinds of questions.… This is really an industry-wide initiative to save time. I have stayed in hotels recently and seen people wear a lot of hats. Hoteliers are asking for more time to respond to tenders, so anything we can do to help the industry is a victory. “


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