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VIII. Read out the interview with the Reservations Manager of the Grand Hotel, recorded a year after the memo was sent.
Note the changes that have been made in the policy of the Grand Hotel regarding room rates.
I — Interviewer; RM — Reservations Manager
I. Do you have a fixed room rate?
RM. In common with most large hotels, our room rate policy is quite complicated. We have a basic room rate for all our I room types, but the way that we sell our rooms means that we often charge a different rate from this.
This is because our Sales and Marketing Department has negotiated different rates with different agents, corporate clients, and other clients.
I. What are your basic room rates?
RM. Well, we have a Standard room which contains all the basic facilities, such as private bath, TV, tea-and-coffee- making facilities, and the basic rate for the double is £85 a night. Our Luxury rooms, or Executive Plus as some of them are called, contain a little bit extra: they're a bit more spacious, have better views and so on — they are £115 a night. Then we also have suites, which vary a lot in price.
I. What discounts do you offer on these basic room rates?
RM. You mean discounts for the individual non-corporate booking? (Yes). Well, we have special weekend rates: two nights, either Friday / Saturday or Saturday / Sunday will get a 10% discount. That's to encourage a two-night booking even though weekends can be our busiest time. And our weekly rate is calculated on the basis of seven nights for the price of six. That's on all room types.
I. Can you tell us how the specially-negotiated room rates work?
RM. Like most hotels of our size, individual bookings paying the full room rate are a minority. Most of our guests come through some other source, either as part of a tour, through a tour operator, or a corporate guest. We get lots of repeat guests from particular companies and they obviously have a contract with us. There's a corporate rate, but there are also special rates negotiated and arranged with the Sales and Marketing Department, who enter them onto the computer for the Reservation and Front Office to access whenever an enquiry or reservation comes in. In addition, a lot of our rooms are sold through agents and representatives: these are either Free Sale Agents or Allocation Holders.
I. What exactly are Free Sale Agents?
RM. Well, every week, or even daily at busy periods, we send out availability charts to Free Sale Agents, who are usually in the States or Europe, and are usually either part of our own company or reputable agents. They sell rooms at an agreed rate — normally the corporate rate — which is arranged by the Sales and Marketing Department. They are told every week what rooms they can sell and if they can sell at a discounted rate or not. The Free Sale Agent doesn't need to check with us first, so it lowers administration costs; they just send in a confirmation sheet.
I. What about Allocation Holders?
RM. Allocation Holders are agents who have a certain number of rooms that they agree to sell in our hotel. They normally sell on FIT rates — Fully Inclusive Tariff rates — which are from the leisure side of the business and are cheaper than corporate rates. The customer pays them directly, they get commission and pass on what is left to the hotel. The rate is agreed with the Sales and Marketing Department
An Allocation Holder usually has up to twenty rooms over a weekend, on a seventy-two hour release — in other words, by Wednesday, the hotel can take the rooms back and re-sell them.
Answer the questions:
Why is the room rate policy complicated?
What facilities does a Standard Room contain?
Why do they have special weekend rates?
What is the difference between a corporate rate and specially-negotiated room rates?
How do they work through Free Sale Agents?
In what way are Allocation Holders different from Free Sale Agents?