What is last room availability?
Last room availability, or LRA, is a contract between a company and a hotel. It guarantees that the hotel will sell their rooms to the company at the contracted price, regardless of how many rooms are left.
The travel manager and the hotel or hotel chain negotiate a last room availability agreement and often include it in a company’s corporate travel policy. The policy may, therefore, state that employees can only book with a certain hotel company in order to benefit from the agreement.
Advantages of last room availability
Anybody travelers with even a hint of experience will know that the later you book, the higher you pay. LRA saves companies from having to pay over-the-odds prices for rooms when booking last minute.
It is especially suited to companies, as while people book holidays well in advance, business trips are far more likely to be more spontaneous.
Disadvantages of last room availability
While many hotels offer last room availability in return for loyalty to their hotel, 44% of hotels charge a premium for an LRA agreement. Theoretically then, it could cost a company more to have the agreement, than the saving they could make.
Does last room availability apply to all rooms at a hotel?
An LRA always depends on the specific agreement between a company and a hotel company. Agreements are usually for a specific room type, for example, a double room for one person. Therefore the guaranteed rate is only available for rooms in that category.
Are there any alternatives to an LRA agreement?
The most obvious alternative to an LRA is a non-last room availability agreement or NLRA. This agreement usually offers preferential rates to the company, but the hotel may raise prices as other guests book their rooms, or at peak times, such as during public holidays. With the risk of paying more if booking late, companies with an NLRA contract generally pay a lower contract rate.