Booking.com fires away strict rate parity: What it means for hoteliers – Part II

In the first part of my article (see here) I’ve focused on Booking.com’s new rate parity agreement and how hotels now have regained control over their pricing. Here is the next part of the article.

Loosening rate parity with a caveat
The commitment comes with a caveat: the hotels had to maintain same rates and booking conditions on Booking.com as they do through their own direct website. Term this as a narrow ‘Most Favored Nation’ agreement, the OTAs require a minimum allocation, or some availability, from hotels. Predictably, hotels are not happy.


They fear that the big OTAs, with their marketing budget would be able to manipulate the search results, which they claim would continue to affect their business adversely. In a strongly worded statement, the British Bed and Breakfast Association calls Booking.com a “bully” and says, “that this new settlement, thrashed out behind closed doors in Europe, is wrong and anti competitive, and against the interests of consumers.” The powerful British Hospitality Association has shown similar disappointment, and terms the commitment as falling short of progress and not benefit customers or hospitality businesses in a meaningful way.

Paris based Accor, Europe’s biggest hotel chain has taken a cautious approach and expressed satisfaction. However, InterContinental Hotel is not impressed. In a market, where close to 70% reservations come through OTA with Booking.com alone contributing over 43%, no one can afford to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.
For now, they have the option of promoting discounted rates to their closed groups for more direct bookings. But then again, Booking.com with its excellent loyalty program, which accounts for close to 50% of their overall reservation will give then a tough run. In fact, industry watchers believe that the next war will be fought over loyalty programs between the OTAs and major hotel brands. Elimination of rate parity might trigger ‘price cannibalism’ between OTAs and brand sites that could (at least potentially) lead to a worse-case scenario for the industry as a whole.
Make the most of the opportunity
As travellers spend more time on research, hotels need to be present at every touch point to their target audience. This is why, hotels need to evaluate each channels for the opportunities they present, and create tailor-made pricing strategies – all while staying within rate parity constraints – for optimizing rate and revenue.
To start with, hotels need to look at analyzing margins from each channel and allocate rate and inventories with margin as base-line. Select channels that bring key value to their properties – ones that support not just when the circus is in town but on a rainy day. With access to reservation reports to identify the customer demographics, hotel can develop intuitive packages to help customers actually find what they are looking for. The basic of every pricing strategy is to know the value of the product and the elasticity up to which consumers would be ready to pay.


Which leads to the importance of evaluating different distribution platforms. Without a foundation of platform based pricing it will be extremely difficult to manage pricing to the players sitting on the various levels of distribution, such as  traditional OTAs, Same-day booking sites, GDS, Tour Operators, Own Website, social media, mobile applications, fenced groups, loyalty programs, specific credit cards, and so on. By introducing a platform based pricing methodology, hotels can optimize their rate matrix while staying within their contractual obligations.

Mature distribution markets are moving from daily rate changes to real-time changes from a revenue management perspective which has a positive impact on profit optimization.  Remember, price is only one of the four P´s of marketing. Give equal importance to other 3, namely product, place and promotion. Parity is not so evil after all, only misunderstood.



Cristina Blaj is Sales Director at eRevMax.  She can be reached at cristinab@erevmax.com

ResorTime integrates with eRevMax Channel Ecosystem for seamless booking connectivity

ResorTime, the leading timeshare condo rental reservation site, has integrated with eRevMax the leading provider of online distribution solutions, to further expand connectivity options available to its fast growing portfolio of resort and hotel partners. Accommodation providers connected with ResorTime will now be able to make immediate ARI (Availability, Rates and Inventory) updates on the channel through eRevMax’s RateTiger solution.
Jeff Farr, Vice President, ResorTime, said “We continue to deploy new technologies that enable our guests and lodging partners to find each other, allowing us to deliver better rates and services to both segments. This integration helps our partners reduce their reaction time to constantly changing market demands.” ResorTime’s improved connectivity to eRevMax’s hotel customers is an opportunity to tap new partners thereby increasing supply and reach.

One of the leading timeshare condo in U.S, ResorTime offers its services to more than 900 resorts located in top destinations throughout the U.S., Mexico, Caribbean, and Canada, making it one of the largest condominium rental services. With this new partnership with eRevMax ResorTime will be able to manage their ARI more effectively through the eRevMax Channel Ecosystem.

Brazil 2014 – Capture the Craze – Infographic

eRevMax, the leader in hotel online distribution and channel management solution has released an interesting infographic “Brazil 2014 – Capture the Craze” in time for the Games!
The infographic based on several market studies sheds key insights on international tourists flow to Brazil and Hotel Price Index. The study shows that in 2012 around 5.7 million travellers visited Brazil which will double by the end of 2014. eRevMax suggests hoteliers to focus on their distribution portfolio with a balanced mix of global and regional channels as an estimated $25 billion expected to be spent by tourists.

Brazil is witnessing an explosion of hotel inventory supply with over 173,000 new rooms being added before the event. With the online travel industry growing at over 34%, eRevMax believes there was never a better time for the Brazilian hotel industry to maximise revenues through intelligent online distribution.

To access the full infographic, click Brazil 2014: Capture the Craze

Host Hotel Systems integrates with eRevMax for seamless online booking connectivity

Host Hotel Systems have recently completed a two-way interface between HostPMS and eRevMax, allowing HostPMS users to fully utilise the advantages of both systems at once. Through this interface the accommodation providers will be able to manage automated online inventory updates, and standardised rate changes across the multiple channels.
Marketing Manager Joao Rodrigues of Host Hotel Systems anticipates that this integration will improve overall customer satisfaction and will give them the ability to expand their distribution portfolio to reach out to vast audience. He also thanks to eRevMax for this integration which removes the need for manual input.
Commenting on the integration Chief Operating Officer of eRevMax, Greg Berman said this integration will help Host customers to get automatic updates in real time across all connected channels.

Using Connect, a SaaS based enterprise connectivity solution from eRevMax; HostPMS users will be able to increase their web presence through greater access to marketing channels.

TBOHolidays joins eRevMax Channel Ecosystem for seamless connectivity

Dubai-based TBO Holidays has recently completed a two-way XML integration with eRevMax to boost online revenue to its fast growing portfolio of hotel partners. Accommodation providers will now be able to make real-time ARI (Availability, Rate & Inventory) updates and receive bookings generated on multiple channels through eRevMax’s online distribution platforms, RateTiger and Connect. This will significantly help TBOHolidays to expand its inventory base by becoming a meaningful demand partner for the eRevMax client base.

The Middle East, particularly Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Oman are becoming the ‘go to’ holiday destination for westerners due to the warm weather, luxury hotels and breathtaking skyscrapers. TBO Holidays had reported an ‘unprecedented triple digital growth’ in the past three years, which sparked the need for a more efficient and effective system. Commenting on the partnership Gaurav Bhatnagar, Managing Director of TBOHolidays said this integration will give them the ability to manage growing base of customers in the Middle East with superior technology provided by eRevMax.

Barteo – 365nights.com completes XML integration with eRevMax

365nights has recently partnered with eRevMax, utilising the RateTigerdistribution system to make real-time ARI (Availability, Rates & Inventory) updates and receive bookings generated on the channel through eRevMax solutions directly into their property management system. The French-based company are confident that the ease of use and immediate results will boost their client portfolio whilst keeping existing users happy. 365nights chose RateTiger as they were looking to focus on “reliable connectivity which will save time and energy”, according to CEO Thomas Hiley and for a system that would simultaneously manage availability, rates, and inventory.

Launched in 2013, the France based price comparison site allows potential guests to negotiate on the price of the room directly with the hotel and in real time, before making an actual booking. Greg Berman, Chief Operations Officer at eRevMax said with this partnership 365nights.com will become certified eRevMax channel ecosystem partner through which both the channel and the hotels will be benefitted.

Hyatt certifies eRevMax as the Preferred Channel Manager Partner

Luxury hotel chain Hyatt International has recently endorsed eRevMax’s RateTiger, citing it as the most cost effective, efficient and beneficial ARI system for assisting Hyatt properties across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia to meet their individual objectives whilst still maintaining the high standards associated with the Hyatt name. Along with Hyatt properties themselves, Hyatt franchises and partners, such as Hyatt Place, Hyatt House and Hyatt Residence Club will all be encouraged to implement RateTiger to manage their online availability, rates and inventory. Hyatt’s endorsement of RateTiger comes as more international hotel chains are opting for comprehensive systems which not only manage ARI, but also guest satisfaction and research.

Read full story here

Russian hotel OTA Travel.ru (Oktogo) integrates with eRevMax for advanced XML connectivity

Travel.ru, Russia’s largest OTA, has recently completed a two-way integration with eRevMax in order to provide their users with greater flexibility, improved visibility, and more efficient and effective booking processes. Maintaining a portfolio of 350,000 hotels across the globe, Travel.ru had identified issues relating to outdated rates and properties being overbooked simply due to the difficulties in overseeing such a large number of properties. CEO Marina Kolesnik sought out an easy-to-use, cost effective solution to tackle these problems head on, whilst also providing users with additional benefits, most notably eRevMax’s Reservation Delivery Service, which transfers online bookings through the OTA directly to the hotel’s internal PMS.


Why It’s Time to Include Meta Search in Your Distribution Portfolio

Hotels around the globe are being told to prepare for the metasearchera, and that includes changing their marketing strategies, outlook, and software systems to make the transition from solely direct and OTA bookings to direct bookings via travel oriented meta search engines such as TripAdvisor. Meta search is fast becoming the ‘goto’ method of travel booking, up by 13 percent in the past year alone. Why? Not only are the younger generation of travellers more web savvy, but travellers today are also striving to find the best deals to meet strict budgets. Utilising meta search channels isn’t just about staying in the game, it’s about diversifying audiences, increasing visibility, and boosting brand reputation across multiple platforms.

Meta search allows for visitors to book either through OTAs or through the brand website, helping to increase direct sales. Meta search sites such as TripAdvisor have been criticized for favouring OTAs with which they have a partnership, but direct information is available, which is more than can be said for OTAs themselves.

eRevMax to host TigerTime at ITB Berlin for hoteliers

eRevMax, the leading hospitality technology & solutions provider of channel management and connectivity solutions, RateTiger and Connect, hosted its signature TigerTime session with the major Asian OTAs at ITB Berlin. The distribution provider will share valuable insights how to capture fair share of bookings in the emerging markets from the key online distribution players in the Asia region. Asia has ousted Europe to become the world’s biggest travel market. TigerTime session will be held with major Asian OTAs Rakuten, Wotif and Agoda.

Until recently, there was very little need to ensure visibility within Asia – a continent known for their preference of more traditional ways. However, with almost half of Asian travellers now citing the web as their number one method for travel booking, there has never been a more important time for hoteliers to branch out.