OTAs remain the top research source for US vacation package buyers, says Expedia
Online travel agencies continue to be American consumers’ favorite source of information prior to booking vacation packages, despite all the buzz about review sites such as TripAdvisor and metasearch sites such as Kayak.
Revenue management today is beginning to deliver strategic benefits across the business. With a bigger and broader mandate, RM specialists have an important role to play in communicating with other departments to make the most of emerging opportunities.
Revenue managers adapt distribution strategies
While new distribution channels are emerging seemingly every day, more accurate forecasting and improved technical automation are helping hotel revenue managers stay sane. Few hotels, unless they’re large full-service properties with a significant amount of meeting space, have a dedicated manager assigned to only that property, sources said. Many hotels share a revenue manager with a small group of properties and, in most cases, a general manager also acts as the revenue manager.
The Traveller’s Path to purchase
When it comes to leisure travel shopping, consumers spend a significant amount of time online researching options. Up to 45 days leading up to a booking, a consumer will conduct as many as 38 visits to travel sites. Knowing how and when to influence their decision-making process is crucial to generating mindshare and ultimately driving bookings. In this report by Expedia Media Solutions, get a snapshot of how the overall purchase path looks like from initial exploration through the booking stage.
How will online hotel booking change in the near future?
In recent years, supplier sites have gained at the expense of OTAs. Hotels want to drive bookings to their own channels because the payouts to online agents for hotel bookings are huge. To be sure, commissions seem to be declining lately. I used to see major chains paying out commissions in high 20% ranges, while more recently such high payouts seem to apply mostly to independent hotels. The savvier big chains like Marriott, depending on the online channel, may have negotiated down the payouts to the high teens.
Addressing the 3 Cs of same-day bookings: Control, cannibalisation, commissions
With the recent surge worldwide of same day booking apps, hotel chains know they need to get on board but there are significant challenges to overcome in the same-day booking market – to avoid cannibalisation, to avoid paying high commission on already discounted rates and not relinquish control of how their last minute inventory is sold and promoted via third parties. Let’s take a look at how hotel chains can address the 3 C’s when considering how to tackle the same-day booking market.
Connect to your hotel guests – directly!
Travel brands have a huge opportunity to circumvent the OTAs and connect directly with consumers searching for their products and services through paid, earned, and owned media strategies. Many travel brands are missing basic SEO strategies that would help them compete with OTAs.
Brands, OTAs mending relationship
Although large-scale hotel brands have denounced online travel agencies in recent years, instead focusing their efforts on driving travelers directly to their own websites, there seems to be a shift in attitude of late. Hotel brand executives are beginning to embrace OTAs again, even calling them partners, as companies such as Expedia and Priceline work through complex negotiations with many of the major brands.