Hotel booking agents push for standard rates package

A standard day-delegate package could become the industry norm if discussions between Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA) members come to fruition. Following demands from both hoteliers and agents at last month’s HBAA annual forum, held at the Radisson SAS London Stansted, a focus group was formed to look into the issue. "A standard package would make our lives so much easier," said Venue Search UK senior partner Katherine Buchan. "We spend a lot of time each day checking whether lunch includes coffee or not." Ambassador Hotel director Nick Head agreed, saying he wanted "someone in the industry to approve a package so we all know what the price should include". Members of the focus group, who include Pricewaterhousecoopers business services manager Samantha van Leeuwen, Absolute Corporate Events managing director Tim Gasson and Chewton Glen C&I sales director Lisa Lernoux-Dock, will hold an initial meeting in October. The HBAA also used the forum to launch its new code of conduct, which will come into effect from 1 January. It was developed in response to growing demands from buyers for standard practice guidelines and calls from HBAA members for a code to protect the integrity of their services. "The code sets standards of professional conduct out for members," said HBAA past chair and code working team member Charles Cockell. "It will also support them in situations like commission payment disputes." Hitachi Capital group procurement manager Mark Slater said that it was important for clients to appoint an agent accredited by a body they value. "It guarantees quality and service standards," he said.

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