How Important is Flexibility in Driver Lodging?

The Complete Guide to Simple and Flexible Hotel Booking for Transportation and Logistics Companies
The Complete Guide to Simple and Flexible Hotel Booking for Transportation and Logistics Companies

When economic conditions shake the market, transportation and logistics (T&L) companies are among the most vulnerable.

Consumers have less discretionary spending in economic downturns, creating intense supply and demand fluctuations.

As if this uncertainty isn’t enough, T&L companies are also plagued by economic aftershocks, such as skyrocketing hotel rates. Unstable market conditions create big challenges for revenue planning.

Coupled with warehouse space shortages, higher fuel costs, itinerary interruptions and staffing shortages, it can be difficult for T&L companies to ensure their drivers continue to feel comfortable and cared for on their routes.

Fortunately, booking flexible travel for your employees makes these challenges surmountable. Let’s take a look at three of the most common travel challenges for T&L companies, and how you can provide stability for your drivers and continue to provide top-notch shipping services even when the unexpected happens.

3 Common Travel Challenges for T&L Companies

Unexpected Changes

Whether their routes are local or weave across the United States, all freight drivers know: things happen.

At some point, severe weather, supply chain issues or major accidents will stop shipments and disrupt your drivers’ travel plans or hotel stay. Unfortunately, when drivers can’t reach their destinations, that tends to impact T&L companies financially: incurring same-day hotel cancellation fees — and the cost of finding and booking last-minute rooms in new locations.

With hotels across the board becoming more expensive, thanks to a travel surge post-pandemic, these unexpected costs can add up fast.

Trip Management and Duty of Care

Because unexpected changes cannot — by their very nature — be expected, it’s important for T&L companies to maintain visibility over their drivers to ensure they meet their duty of care.

What do you do if a truck breaks down, or a warehousing issue delays a driver's departure? Where will they stay while they wait?

Often, freight drivers have to make reservations on their own without a centralized platform, or contact their travel manager out of the blue to make arrangements for them.

Researching options takes valuable time, especially if you take into account the paperwork involved — and booking last minute hotel rooms can be costly. 

Plus, if the driver is expected to stay elsewhere, change adds up. Travel managers often encounter difficulties in cancelling or changing reservations when their drivers hit literal or figurative bumps in the road.

Driving in Bad Weather

Poor Service and Inventory

With T&L companies already responding to up-and-down supply-and-demand surges, supply chain issues impacting the bottom line, and costs rising, profit margins are leaner than ever. In fact, since 2019 shipping container rates have quadrupled, many raw materials remain unavailable, and warehouse space is lacking.

On top of that, it’s estimated that by 2024, the Transportation and Logistics industry will have approximately 84,000 unfilled truck driver jobs — the highest number yet. Trucker turnover is extremely common, and harsh conditions like grueling hours on the road often contribute to low job satisfaction.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to ensure your drivers have a consistently good experience on the road.

If a driver ends up stranded and has to find a last-minute hotel, it's going to take time to find a place to stay that isn’t extremely expensive at the last minute, especially if they’re in a remote location.

And finding a new room may not be the end of your drivers’ challenges. They may arrive and find themselves dealing with the fallout from the nationwide truck parking shortage. (There’s only one spot available per every 11 trucks on the road — and often no way to confirm which hotels have it.)

Or, they may find their hotel room doesn’t exist — typically because the hotel oversold its inventory, or because the online travel agency (OTA) used to book the room doesn’t have a live inventory. Now they’re back to square one, with no support in finding a new place to stay.

A few trips like that, and your drivers may understandably start thinking about a new career.

Meet Hotel Engine: A Comprehensive Solution for the T&L Industry

With so many elements complicating T&L operations, it’s important for companies to create an efficient, cost-effective travel program for their employees.

Fortunately, there’s a solution that will not only help you maximize your travel budget — it will help you simplify booking, maintain visibility and manage changes without losing funds: Hotel Engine.

Here’s how.

Simplified Booking (And Saving!)

Driver Shaking Hands

With Hotel Engine, your company can save up to 60% off hotel rooms with exclusive business rates, even at the last minute. And with over 700,000 properties worldwide, we’re proud to provide great lodging options even in remote areas.

Set up company payment methods and tiered travel policies and empower your drivers to book hotels for themselves, without breaking the budget. Since Hotel Engine’s platform is free-to-use and intuitive, they can easily book their own stays, without submitting credit card authorization forms — saving travel managers valuable time.

And with thoughtful filters like Truck Parking, your company can make sure to find a property ready to accommodate drivers when they arrive. Plus, someone from Hotel Engine calls the hotel directly to confirm each reservation after booking, so there won’t be any surprises at check-in.

Streamlined Billing

Say goodbye to folders filled with haphazard receipts and printouts. Hotel Engine offers consolidated billing to help you stay organized and custom fields to make reconciliation easier.

With Direct Bill, you receive one monthly bill for all lodging expenses, with a reporting function to help you optimize future employee travel. You can easily answer these questions, and more:

  • In which categories do my employees spend the most money?
  • Where is my average daily rate (ADR) higher or lower?
  • What can I adjust in our budget to give my employees a better experience?

To make things even easier, you can add incidentals coverage to your Direct Bill, and then your travelers won’t need a credit card at check-in at all. This is a significant benefit when drivers arrive at their destination at 3 am, or when the alternative is tying up hundreds of dollars on a personal card.

Total Visibility Around Employee Travel

With Hotel Engine, T&L companies can also consolidate and manage their employees’ travel reservations around the world.

Travel managers or drivers can book room nights with exclusive savings, and then visually track them in one centralized portal. Access reservations with just a few clicks and change or cancel them directly through Hotel Engine.

2X the Rewards

In addition, Hotel Engine members earn Hotel Engine Rewards with every booking. You can redeem points for discounts or even free room nights. Since there are no blackout dates, you can book 365 days a year — ideal for T&L companies whose shipments don’t stop.

That’s just one layer of rewards. You can also add hotel loyalty information to each guest profile — so you can earn points for your choice of 15+ top programs when booking eligible rooms, literally doubling your rewards. The more you book, the more you earn.

Customized Reporting

Gather the key insights you need to improve your bottom line with Hotel Engine’s custom reporting features. Peer into key metrics, like:

  • Average spend for your travelers
  • Average nightly rates
  • Number of bookings per traveler
  • Spending according to custom fields applied at booking

You can also easily compare traveler spend to predetermined travel budgets, helping you ensure that employees stay within category limits.

With just a few clicks, export your reports to CSV or PDF files to pore over the details.

True Flexibility

More than anything, T&L companies need flexible stays.

Plans often change on a dime. Allowing changes to hotel reservations without cancellation or modification fees is critical.

With Hotel Engine, you can not only see clearly which rooms are refundable according to each hotel’s unique cancellation policies, you can also avoid that fine print all together.

Enjoy complete flexibility and peace of mind: by booking with Flex or FlexPro.

Introducing Flex and FlexPro

For ultimate flexibility, look no further than Hotel Engine’s Flex program, offering Flex and FlexPro tiers. It saved our customers more than $5 million in change and cancellation fees last year.

On average, Flex customers save up to $440 on canceled bookings, and customers who purchased FlexPro saved an average of $958.79.

But the ease of trip modifications and cancellations might be even more valuable. When you book with Flex or Flex Pro, you can:

  • Cancel your booking up until 12pm on the day of checkout
  • Shorten your trip, no questions asked
  • Get your funds back for unused nights regardless of the hotel’s policy

Add Flex to a single reservation at checkout for a small fee, or pay one flat fee of $200 a month (or $2000 a year) for FlexPro — which means that every booking across your company has Flex coverage automatically.

Flex and FlexPro let T&L employees book with confidence, and save both time and money when the unexpected happens.

Instead of travel managers calling hotels and pleading for a free cancellation while booking a new reservation, Hotel Engine members can change travel plans along their route for any reason. To update or cancel a reservation, travelers simply need to visit the Hotel Engine dashboard, select their itinerary and make changes.

Get Started for Free

Ready to embrace simpler, more flexible travel? Sign up for your free account and start saving today.


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Hotel Engine is one of the world’s fast-growing hotel booking engines. The company is trusted by ~40,000 member companies (including thousands of Transportation companies) and a growing portfolio of 700,000+ global partner hotels.


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