Corporate rates are special rates offered by car rental companies, airlines, hotels, and/or other travel providers to special groups of people.
For example, a major corporation like IBM may negotiate corporate rates with a hotel chain like Marriott to obtain a steeply discounted rate that will be used for corporate travel for its employees.
Corporate rates may typically start at ten percent off the regularly published rate (or rack rates) for hotels. In exchange for the agreed discount, the hotel gains more regular and potentially loyal customers, as well as potential referral business. Of course, corporate rate discounts can go far beyond the basic ten percent starting point.
And remember, you don't have to be a big corporation to get a corporate rate. Simply contact a specific hotel or hotel chain and ask them for a corporate rate.
Corporate Hotel Rates
Getting a corporate hotel rate usually requires a traveler to be associated with a company that has a corporate rate. If your company does have a corporate hotel rate, business travelers may be able to use them regardless of whether they are traveling for business or not. Be aware that once you've booked a corporate hotel rate, you may still have to show your business card or corporate ID in order to obtain that rate while traveling.
However, if you work for company that doesn't have a corporate rate, you can also try calling the individual hotel (not the 800 number) and asking to speak with a manager. Explain your traveling for business, and ask if there's any corporate discount available. I've done this before, and my results have varied. This type of approach tends to work when the hotel has a low occupancy and and is willing to bargain. Other times, it hasn't helped at all. In those cases, try going for a AAA discount or other standard discounted rate.
You may also be temped to try corporate hotel rates or discount codes that you find on the Internet. While you're welcome to try, I've never had any luck in using these, and again, you may be required to provide identification when checking in, so be prepared to be caught.
Another approach for individual travelers or small businesses to save money on hotel rates is by joining an organization that already has negotiated corporate rates with hotels or hotel chains. One such service that I frequently use is CLC Lodging's Check Inn Card. When you sign up with CLC Lodging they assign you a discount rate for the hotels in their system. They provide discounted rates for select hotels in two week windows. I have found these rates are typically 25% or more off the best available rates for such hotels.
Lastly, if you don't have a corporate rate or you can't save money by using a corporate rate, you can try lots of other ways of saving money on hotel stays. But sometimes, no matter what you do, hotel rooms are expensive and you just have to pay.