September 16, 2013

InterContinental Hotels eyes mobile to combat OTAs


IHG believes that mobile can be used for much more than just a medium for transaction - enhancing a customer’s hotel stay all the way from the point of search and browsing to checkout. A valuable end-to-end experiences that eventually includes the transaction too.

“The Expedias have taken over the first two steps [of search and booking],” said Bill Keen, director of mobile solutions and emerging products for Web and interactive marketing at InterContinental Hotels Group, Atlanta. “We try to get people to book direct but they typically book on an aggregator.”

“All they want to do is show price and location,” he said. “If I booked the Crown Plaza Times Square on Priceline let’s say for $100, but then I really like it, and the next time I want to come its really a $120 retail value, people go, ‘I don’t want to pay that.’ It’s because a lot of these aggregators drive down the price. We understand it’s an important channel for us, but it drives down brand.

“The aggregators don’t do any service. Once you’re there, the hotel takes care of it. If I give [good in-hotel] experiences, they’ll see the value in the entire end-to-end experience and not just the transaction. Mobile is right in the square of service for us.”

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