Let them compare prices on your website, quick and easy.
Offer dynamic discounts to always offer the best rate guaranteed.
Grow your loyalty database.
Offer them a second chance opportunity.
Display exclusive book direct advantages
81% of people navigating hotel websites abandon the booking engine without a transaction because they experience inferior website, functionality or cheaper rates on third-party sites.
The decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to enshrine rate parity between hotels and Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) has created a new impetus for the hotel sector to reclaim their guests through innovative marketing strategies.
The agreement – which was signed off in early September – allows hotels to offer lower rates than they provide OTAs for phone and over-the-counter bookings, but they have to extend ‘rate parity’ to OTAs for online bookings, unless it is to a ’closed’ user group, such as a hotel’s loyalty club.
OTAs are here to stay and are likely to grow even further, irrespective of the fightback being launched by major hotel groups.
More importantly, once an OTA delivers a traveller to a hotel, then it is up to the hotel’s team to win over the guest’s loyalty. From the moment the guest arrives, the hotel needs to be focussed on enticing the guest to book direct in the future, knowing they will be treated as a VIP, and will get the best possible rate.
There are plenty of advantages for the guests as well, which hotels need to highlight:
Bookings can be made fully refundable till a set period before the stay (most OTAs do not allow refunds)
The benefits of loyalty membership (whether it be points, upgrades, free wi-fi)
Special welcome such as fast check-in or extended check-out
It has to be remembered that the hotel industry effectively created the OTAs by offering their rooms as “distressed inventory” after the crash of the early 90s. The ACCC decision has confirmed their place in the Australian online environment, so it is going to require a bolder, more creative approach to marketing by hoteliers if they are to fulfil their ambition of dissuading travellers from “clicking around”.