March 29, 2011

The limitations of hotel inventory availability on OTA sites


Even as some of the new OTA players stress upon transparency in the room selection process, a section of the industry believes the more specific the requirements are, the more difficult it will be for hotel suppliers to guarantee availability.

“The uncertainty of a hotel room is one of the biggest imbalances in travel today, and we aim to change that by giving people the information they need to be able to request the room that is best for them.”

This statement came from a new online travel venture, Room 77, which is being described as the world’s first hotel room database and search engine. The company, in an interview with EyeforTravel last week, pointed out that travellers are in control of almost every element of their travel planning, from where they go down to their airline seat assignment, but they are at the mercy of the front desk when it comes to the room they stay in at the hotel. Travellers have many different needs when it comes to a room, and the company has created its latest offering to give travellers an insight into the best room at any hotel for them.

Room77 says it matches room within a given hotel based on traveller’s preferences for view, floor, distance from elevator and connecting rooms. So how do hotels assess the significance of transparency in booking at this stage? How do hotels think the industry is focusing on getting consumers closest to knowing what they are booking before they actually complete the transaction?

From a hotel’s perspective, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based Ricky Ang, VP Sales & Marketing, Hotel Equatorial Group, says the biggest challenge that suppliers face from a perspective of having such booking features is the inability to fulfill all the specified requirements of every consumer due to inherent product limitations.

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