SAN FRANCISCO—Travel with teams in mind. Millennium Hotels & Resorts (MHR) has launched Millennium for Business (M4B), an online service with small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) at its focus, promoting a more efficient booking experience for business travel.
The service revives its previous Business Direct and features a simpler sign-in process, with a central dashboard to manage travel and make itinerary-style bookings. The service is also integrated with the My Millennium rewards program, helping travelers earn rewards while on the road.
“Although MHR has been serving business bookers successfully through our Business Direct program, we felt it was time to update and reinvigorate the offering within the digital arena, our loyal customers now benefiting through an online platform,” said Clive Harrington, chief commercial operator/SVP of European operations, Millennium Hotels & Resorts.
Harrington added, “MHR’s previous program was run at a regional office level. It did not offer a digital solution or the level of benefits with Business Direct, which they now do with M4B. Business Direct and other existing programs allow for corporate bookings with negotiated rates; M4B allows for booking flexibility and the corporate business rate promise.”
Launched in March, M4B caters to team members, which is optimal for business travel. Harrington explained that all bookings benefit from MHR’s updated Best Rate Promise, helping SMEs optimize accommodation budgets while also providing access to insights and reporting.
“Visitors to our website will enjoy the best rate available on the website, while those with prior negotiated accounts will enjoy the Corporate Best Rate Promise, where they will be given the lower of the ‘Best Rate’ or ‘Negotiated Rate’—which helps the business optimize budgets,” Harrington said.
Among other benefits are room upgrade propositions as an incentive for company sign-ups, ability to amend the booking with 10% fees, ability to cancel the booking on day of arrival with 25% fees, free high-speed multi-device WiFi, early check-in up to two hours earlier, late checkout up to two hours later, 15% off F&B bills, 15% off meeting room and conference room bookings and access to club or executive lounge where available, Harrington said.
“MHR collaborated with the SME travel industry to design the benefits for M4B users and guests,” he said.
The program is available across all MHR hotels in the U.S., and abroad in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and New Zealand.
“M4B is a product that empowers SMEs as the key target booker; having seen how under-represented they are in the business travel sector, this digital platform makes travel procurement efficient, secure and simple,” he said. “SMEs will save money by booking through M4B and will benefit through discounts on F&B and meeting and event spaces, and free WiFi access.”
Harrington said that programs like this help SMEs, but that these companies are not always strongly represented in the business travel sector, possibly because they don’t have access to tools available to larger global corporations. M4B was born out of these concerns.
“M4B empowers SMEs to manage their team travel in a way that offers flexible booking terms and ease of access through a digital platform and rewards,” Harrington said. “Due to some of the industry challenges previously addressed, we wanted to create a platform that targets small- and medium-sized enterprises, creating a simple and beneficial booking tool.”
And, SME travel is on the rise. According to Harrington, SME travel managers reported higher travel technology usage than in previous years. “Corporate online booking travel has reached more than three-quarters of the market,” he said.
So, introducing an easy-to-use digital platform with benefits seemed like the right idea. “We expect business travelers’ use of technology to increase, which prompts booking features to adapt to the market demands,” he said. HB