Hotel companies are working to be able to respond to their customers when voice bookings are widespread, continue to promote their direct sale, reduce as much as possible the payment of commissions, avoid disparities and focus on data to better know the customer and be able to personalize their offer. They are just some of the future challenges they face, with technology as their main ally. This was noted at the ITH Innovation Summit held this week at the NH Collection Madrid Eurobuilding.
Expedia, for example, is already working to have a voice presence, as confirmed by Luis Hurtado de Mendoza, its senior director of large accounts for the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and Latin America regions. It is not in vain that there are already 1 billion connected devices in the homes, as the manager has recalled.
For its part, Magic Costa Blanca Hotels & Resorts also focuses its efforts on achieving maximum visibility by being present on all channels, although, according to its vice president, Javier García Cuenca, ” voice is not expected to have a special relevance for the holiday segment, in whose marketing multimedia elements, video, etc.will continue to be very important.
In fact, he hopes that searches and bookings in 10 years will be “something hybrid between voice and multimedia on the mobile web”, while Hurtado predicts that “in a decade there will still be people calling the agency or the hotel by phone and there will also be those who book by voice”.
Fight for direct sales
In the fight for direct sales, García Cuenca has it clear: hotels have to “generate a differential value in the booking experience, different from the one offered by OTA. We must customize this experience to the maximum in order to bring greater value to the client, but we cannot give that battle for loss because we are presented with many opportunities to empower it.”
Booking.com he has fulfilled his threat, at least in the United States, as since the beginning of June he has begun to charge the hotels an additional fee for the additional expenses that the guest who has booked through the OTA makes in the establishment, even if they are for direct payment.
Expedia has already assured that it will not follow in his footsteps, while García Cuenca has proposed “to distribute through other actors who do not charge those fees. Each hotel will try to defend the income generated during the client’s stay, without giving the commission to the distributor. It is lawful, but the supplier will decide whether or not to give it that relevance.”
For the vice president of Magic Costa Blanca ” disparities are one of the evils of the industry because they hurt the hotel, by impacting on its results Account, and its image before its loyal customers; but also to the rest of the sector because it conveys the image that it is cheaper to buy in an OTA”.
That is why he said that ‘we cannot be neutral in the face of disparities, we cannot allow them, although it is quite difficult to fight them because hotel owners do not have a police soul’. In this sense he has suggested ” two strategies to avoid them: first, to reduce distribution channels to a few actors, something that is increasingly being done by independent chains and hotels; and at the same time not to offer the same rates to all distributors, but on the basis of visibility, better margins and ADR (average Available Rate). Different rates for different customers”.
For its part Expedia, in the words of its manager, has “specific equipment and systems to try to control these disparities, although it is being improved in this field by the optimization of the connectivities. But the boss is the client and also the hotel owner, who has the rooms.”