Shift in buying patterns drives demand for Hotel Booking Agents Association

Requests for membership made to the Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA) have hit an all-time high, indicative of the changing business travel marketplace, according to the association.

Key trade shows recently highlighted a substantial growth in the number of parties keen to join the association. Confex alone drew 57 new leads (an increase of 32%), while the Business Travel Show drew a 28% increase on last year’s demand.

The HBAA has become synonymous with the leading association in a sector of hybrid agencies whose collective meetings and events buying power will approach £1 billion by December 2008. With the growing sophistication of purchasing business travel, meeting and event expenditure has taken precedence in many tenders and procurement policies as procurement departments turn to specialists to help in measuring and consolidating their expenditure.

Recent research by the HBAA’s Secretariat highlighted that 84% of the FTSE 100 utilise an agent affiliated to the Hotel Booking Agents Association. Agency membership of the HBAA stands at 70 of the UK’s key agencies, and more than 2,000 hotels and "venues": are members.

“The use of a specialist agency is coming to the fore in the tender process and many of our members are gaining market share from the traditional travel management companies,” said Peter Ducker, HBAA executive director. “Testament to this is our recent work with the Chartered Institute of Purchase and Supply, with whom we wrote an outline paper for the procurement of meeting and event services. The demand from the corporate market to use an HBAA member agency is reflected in the number of new agency members we are currently signing up.”

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