The next few months are going to prove very challenging for Independent hotels as they make sense of the changing landscape, on one side you have the announcement this week of AccorHotels opening it´s distribution channel to independent hotels which comes off the back of their recent purchases of Fastbooking (a distribution, digital marketing & Revenue management company) and Wipolo (Mobile Developer), whilst on the other side, you have lasts years acquisition of Buuteeq, which was rebranded to Booking Suite (CRM & Digital Marketing) and PriceMatch (Revenue Management) by Priceline.
So, what we have here is a hotel chain that wants to act like an OTA…………and an OTA that wants to act, as a hotel distribution provider.
The French hotel giant is continuing its fight in the online wars on several new fronts by changing its name to AccorHotels, adding staff to its digital platform team and opening its distribution channels to independent hotels. Accor say that by pulling in global independent properties does not constitute a soft brand, and they are not looking to transform itself into a model that resembles an online travel agency but they will clearly be up against Booking.com, Tripadvisor and quite soon Airbnb
In terms of commission charges, it is anticipated that It will be lower than on other channels, competitive with OTAs and adapted to each market due to dynamics.
With over 6000 hotels enjoying the digital marketing solution provided by Buuteeq when it was brought out by Priceline last year, they strategy was clear, whether the client books through Priceline, Booking.com or Directly with the Hotels – Priceline wins. The Hotelier receives a great looking website with Revenue Optimization. Booking.com will also provide search engine optimization for their hotels online presence and we could arguably see in the future that Booking.com uses its reach and distribution to promote their hotel direct sites, with the recent announcement of their new business service for example
Commission payments for direct hotel bookings being set at 10%
So what’s going on?
By having a Hotel chain, that actively targets independent hotels to support them and act as an OTA is just another indication on how all the focus is on a very fragmented market where currently there are hundreds of solutions to choose from. Everyone expects that will be consolidation in the hotel world … but speed and size are going to make the difference. We can expect new players who simply did not exist 10 years ago, will have the same value in the next 10 years, that took a chain like Accor 50 years to build.
Hoteliers are eager for alternative distribution platforms, as their love-hate relationship with booking.com continues, however, independent hoteliers have a fantastic opportunity to go it alone, for example:-
A) Google HPA will allow hotels to gain a level playing field as OTA´s as well as Google´s clear strength on mobiles via Google Maps
B) Recent European court judgments have set in motion a series of events that will eventually lead to hotels offering the best price directly on their website
C) Hotels can use technology which is available now to become smarter in increasing their marketing as over the next few years reacting quickly to changes in the marketplace is going to set you apart.
Search around, there are a lot of great CRM providers that offer better functionality and better value, Booking engines that increase your conversion and new revenue optimization tools that do not cost the earth.
With the anticipated growth in bookings coming directly to hotels and Google becoming a big player within the travel market, hoteliers have to be aware that these solutions that may save money in the short term, might not be such a great idea in the future as the market evolves.
Hotelient can help your hotel make sense of this constantly changing landscape, we’ll let you concentrate on ensuring your guests have a great stay with you while we build your a digital marketing strategy to compete with the big boys. Email us for further information.