When it comes to the Internet it is indeed the consumer that has been defining each new online revolution from blogging to the growing importance of social media. The trends are no different in the accommodation industry where consumers are demanding real time online booking and confirmation, high quality imagery.
A clear indication of locality and surrounding attractions. The accommodation provider’s website is increasingly becoming the most important portal for online sales with hoteliers’ heightened appetite for direct online bookings. SEO and your business
Commissions to third party accommodation websites are like tax to the consumer, they squeeze margins on hard earned dollars by up to 20%. Accommodation providers grappling for tighter control of their inventory distribution are starting to become more selective in their choice of online distribution partners. No longer willing to accept price cutting practices and third party advertising on the business brand, hoteliers are increasingly setting the rules of engagement for these online relationships. The simplest mode of control is by restricting inventory and cancelling partners with questionable online sales strategies.
Why many major hotel brands are giving online distributors the push:
- Unwillingness to pay high commissions ranging between 10-20%
- A high consumer demand cycle in recent times
- The complexities of managing and allocating inventories to distributors
- The ability to ‘showcase’ the property with unique selling points, opposed to featuring in identical directory-like listings
- The growing success of direct online sales and the importance of an effective website to ‘sell’ the consumer on the property & surrounding area
- The increasing consumer demand for real time availability & rates
- Refusal to be undercut by distributors and offer of ‘Best Rate’ guarantees on the hotel website
- Quite simply wanting to maximise their yield in an industry crammed with distributors all trying to increase returns in a growing travel industry
One thing that hoteliers are struggling with is getting consumers to their websites in the first place, as in the Australian market third-party hotel websites dominate, with Wotif.com leading the pack.
The key to managing hotel brand marketing strategies is through search engine marketing. Through effective brand positioning online, where consumers know to find the website they will increasingly choose booking direct rather than foraging through extensive, confusing and in most cases visually unappealing third party sites.