< PrevNext > BTN's 2015 Most Influential By Julie Sickel / January 25, 2016 / Contact Reporter Share THE RATE ENFORCERVanishing LRA? TripBAM may not uncover why, but can alert travel managers about when they should have gotten their negotiated rate and didn't. Corporates can go back and get that rate or choose to "optimize" repeat offenders out of their programs. Having already made it onto this list in 2013 for his hotel rate-shopping tool, tripBAM founder and president Steve Reynolds shook up the travel world once more in 2015 by leveraging his technology to shine a spotlight on last-room availability issues within the hotel industry.Reynolds’ tool works by repeatedly querying, or shopping, hotels within a geographic cluster to show clients the best rates at their preferred properties or comparable ones. In performing these shops, Reynolds and his team realized they were producing vast amounts of data—data that could, among other things, give travel managers unprecedented insight into whether hotels are honoring their contracts. “We get to provide full transparency,” Reynolds told BTN earlier this year. “It’s live rate auditing, but it’s really live negotiated-rate auditing.”As he worked with his clients on their hotel programs, he said, he repeatedly heard complaints about hotels not honoring LRA agreements. Some said their contracts weren’t worth the paper on which they were written. “LRA in my opinion is somewhat of a myth in the corporate travel space,” Reynolds said. “You’ve got it in your contract, everybody’s got a loose definition and when you actually go back and look, ‘Is my rate available?’ on a real-time basis, you see that it’s not. It’s not there when you most need it. In a high-occupancy market, you’re paying these crazy rates. Where the heck is the negotiated rate?”With tripBAM’s metrics, Reynolds’ clients have been able to identify which hotels within their programs were not providing LRA where it was contracted. That’s information travel managers can use as they head back into the request-for-proposals season, avoiding a months-long dance with a hotel that’s proven to be noncompliant. “It will dramatically reduce the number of RFPs that you have to negotiate, and you’ll have a much better result at the end, where it’s rates that you can actually get and use and have value,” Reynolds said.Reynolds is looking to expand tripBAM’s rate-analytics programming so clients can identify more clearly whether a negotiated rate is good or bad and so they can can audit properties with which they negotiated a discount off the best available rate. During the first quarter of 2016, the company is offering a free pilot to customers on the Fortune 1,000. It’s also working on enhancements to allow clients to shop for applicable rates outside the global distribution systems, on online travel agency sites and alternative lodging sites like Airbnb.