This is a guest post from Triptease, a provider of digital tools for hotels and guests.
There’s a battle out there. Direct bookings against OTAs. Which one will win the minds and the money of eager travellers around the world? Is it the case that only one can win, or must we find a new booking path that creates a better balance?
We’re finally seeing big brands take a stand. Marriott’s It Pays to Book Direct is almost a year old and was the first mainstream campaign of its kind. A highly recognised name willing to speak up about how they prefer their guests to book with them. Punch number one. But the counter punch? A complaint from ASTA arguing that the campaign was misleading to consumers.
Punch number two: Hilton’s latest Stop Clicking Around campaign. It too attracted criticism, with a counter punch coming from Expedia about the group’s ranking on their pages. It’s fair to say that no sooner than a hotelier shouts a about direct bookings that they receive a stark response from travel agents.
Will it always be this way?
We have to remember that the industry has come a long way. Whilst online-first companies have sprung up and created huge service and value in hotel distribution, hotels have caught up in making their traditionally bricks-and-mortar businesses ready for those all important clicks. You just have to look at the number of ‘digital’ and ‘online’ job titles that are linked to a hotel brand on Linkedin to realise the balance is becoming even. We also see a number of very innovative travel technology companies appealing to hotels that want their fair share of bookings. These are all good signs and the counter punches are just par for the course.
Is direct best?
The war is by no means over. The topic of direct booking appears on every conference schedule but needs much more depth to it. It’s all well and good for hotels to create better websites, but what about the rise of metasearch, the promise of chatbots and of course European regulation?
Don’t feel alone. Hoteliers can unite and learn about the future by booking a ticket to Triptease’s Direct Booking Summit. It’s a dedicated event where top industry chiefs from the likes of Skyscanner, TripAdvisor and Google will come together to talk about why direct is best. The likes of CitizenM, IHG and Four Seasons have all signed up. Will you be there? Click here to find out more.
Triptease (www.triptease.com) is a SaaS company that builds digital tools that create better experiences and relationships between hotels and guests. These products include Price Check, a widget for hoteliers to encourage travellers to book directly along with a powerful Data Platform that allows hoteliers to get better control over their rate parity.