Expert: hotels need the services of online travel agencies
Bob Diener, founder of the online booking engine Hotels.com and, in 2009, the similar booking engine Getaroom.com, stresses that hotels need the services of OTAs because it is another valuable distribution channel. Hotels can’t afford to do their own marketing, distribution and advertising themselves, but an OTA can invest substantial sums in marketing and promotion, and bring guests to the hotels. The relationship between OTAs and hotels is a partnership, he says. Since the average occupancy rate is never 100%, working with OTAs ensures additional distribution for the hotel at a relatively low cost.
Diener also places value on “locking consumers in” to a deal for a better rate by pushing non-refundable rates. “We know there’s a high cancellation rate in the industry, so it’s one way to decrease that. Any way you can lock the consumer in, it’s that much more efficient. Booking takes resources. A guaranteed booking is much more valuable.”
[pictured: Staybridge Suites Austin Northwest; courtesy IHG]