February 09, 2016

European independent hotels are sleepwalking into an era of increased OTA dependency


In Europe, almost three quarters of independent hotel reservations comes from an OTA (Phocuswright). Now just imagine if we got that figure down just 10% by being smarter with how you connect to your guests and users on your website.

Independent hotels here in Europe have been always dependent on agencies, initially offline which then became online. From the days of GTA (Gulliver Travel Associates) who were all dominant in the early days to now where booking.com has to some extent replaced GTA as the agent where hotels have allowed them to take over their inventory.

We are though entering a new phase, where it has been clear for some time that Booking.com & Expedia have been implementing two very different strategies to maintain growth and market share. Expedia has been expanding by acquisition with its latest buys of Orbitz, Travelocity, and Home & Away while Booking.com has been diversifying with its purchases of Buuteeq, due in part to the competition on the horizon from Google & Airbnb. The recently announced deal that saw booking.com providing global inventory to Tripadvisor Instant Booking effectively makes them now an OTA.

Over the last few years, Tripadvisor has been worked extremely hard in cultivating a positive relationship with hoteliers while reviews, thanks to them, have become an ever more important part for hotel directors to focus on to ensure excellent guest comments get published. Some hotels have even gone as far as directing their hard-won traffic from their website to their page on Tripadvisor (which also sells your competitors). Behind Reception, there are now certificates and plaques of excellence from booking.com and Tripadvisor occupying pride of place. However great these actions are, hoteliers are feeding and promoting the very agencies online that send them business with a 15-20% commission bill.

Get the full story at Hotelient