Direct, direct, direct is best is a well-worn mantra in the hotel business. So why then has Red Lion recently gone and handed over its loyalty programme, and all its future direct business, to Expedia?
Responses to the move from hoteliers, former hoteliers and other industry commentators have ranged from ‘pretty strange’ and ‘a move in the right direction for data sharing’ to ‘setting a dangerous precedent for the industry’.
Says Marco Corsi, Third Party and Distribution Manager at Sokos Hotels: “Honestly, the decision seems a little odd.”
So, again, the question is why?
UK hotels are being urged to take part in an EU-wide survey investigating the impact of rate parity agreements used by OTAs.
In June 2015, Expedia and Booking.com agreed to change terms preventing UK hotels from offering lower prices through other online booking sites. However, hotels are prevented from offering cheaper rates or better booking conditions through their own website.
Now, the UK Competition and Markets Authority is among 10 countries taking part in a European Commission study examining whether the changes have affected how hotels market their rooms.
Today, hotels can set dynamic rates for most channels. The exception has been negotiated contract business, mostly through groups that book in advance and wholesalers.
Until now, it appears. In response to a large push from hotels, it’s no longer unusual to see contracts with flexibility for hotels to adjust the built-in rate.
Revenue managers must convey to the sales team that it’s in the hotel’s best interest to negotiate a dynamic rate in a contract. Sometimes there are limitations.
We’re in the information age. There’s no doubt about it. Yet, with all this data supposedly flying around us, it’s hard to know just what to do with it. What does it mean? And more importantly, how can you use it to make better decisions? We think hotel data shouldn’t be so complicated. And we want to give you, the hotelier, practical action items you can start using now.
These are practical steps that you and your team can take today to start making your hotel data work for you. Trust us, it’ll be worth it.