The hospitality industry in Latin America (LATAM) grew exponentially in 2018 and is expected to continue to grow through 2019. Expansion in the region includes an estimated 800+ new hotel projects. We put together tips to help you navigate the unique aspects of managing corporate travel in the region.
1. Understand financial regulations. It can save you money
Taxes – VAT or IVA in Spanish (Impuestos sobre el Valor Añadido) – paid on travel can be credited against a company’s annual corporate taxes. In places like Colombia the standard VAT is 19%. You need a valid VAT or IVA invoice or a relevant customs receipt to support VAT claims and recover these savings, but not all lodging providers supply these documents.
Use your travel management company (TMC) to remind travelers about requesting a VAT compliant invoice, and to provide you, or a supplier, with all the relevant VAT recovery data.
2. Consider prepayment
Travelers in LATAM and other emerging markets don't often carry credit cards. Prepayment makes travel easy for LATAM travelers, as they can rest assured that costs are covered ahead of time.
It’s important to use payment services that are globally focused and support various payment types. That way, companies can provide the same payment experience for their travelers regardless of their regional-specific needs.
3. Look into travel approvers
Companies operating within LATAM often take a more hands-on approach to managing travel spend. The industry - in general - is moving away from individual approvers due to its inefficiency, so there may be a need for a culture change here. What this means is more education and communication with travelers and managers in the region about how corporate policy and established booking channels can accomplish the same thing in a more efficient way.
4. Keep your travelers connected
Premium Wi-Fi inclusion is among the most important amenities for business travelers, yet even basic Wi-Fi isn’t always available at hotels in Latin American countries. This may be why business travelers in Mexico identified Wi-Fi inclusion as the most important determinant when choosing a hotel; more important than distance to worksite, price, breakfast inclusion and even photos of the hotel.
Many travelers won’t have data or roaming services that work when traveling into or between Latin American countries either. Making sure travelers have Wi-Fi access at their hotel. It's extremely important in this region.
Read more tips on how to manage travel in Latin America.
Blog author: Peggy Studer, VP Marketing, RoomIt, CWT