Same-day booking trend gains momentum

Same-day air and hotel bookings headache for travel agencies?
The trend of same-day airline and hotel bookings is likely to grow in the future, and travel agencies must consider how to stay relevant in such a climate, said speakers at the Travel Tech 2015 conference in Kuala Lumpur.
Such travellers who book on the day of travel are still in the minority, but the number of very-last-minute bookings for hotel search queries are on the rise, said Marc Woo, Google Malaysia’s head of e-commerce and travel, at the conference organised by the Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (MATTA).
This indicates that consumers are driven by the availability of platforms and technology, and the ease of doing searches on mobile devices on-the-go, he added.
The trend for same-day bookings is aided partly by the oversupply of hotel rooms and airline seats, which drives hoteliers and airlines to use platforms that can absorb excess capacity, said Laurens van den Oever, GfK Group’s global director for travel. He felt it would be difficult for intermediaries, such as travel consultants, to add value to same-day bookings.
Nigel Wong, MATTA’s vice president for research and technology, disagrees. He told TTG Asia on the event’s sidelines that it would depend largely on whether a travel agency is flexible enough to allow execution of same-day bookings.
“It depends on what types of services are provided by the travel agency,” he explained. “If it is a city tour, all you need is a vehicle and a guide. But if it is a package with limited inventory, for example accommodation on Mount Kinabalu, then this may not be possible, as the agency would first have to contact the accommodation provider before confirming the booking. Undoubtedly, those with an online platform with capabilities for same-day bookings and instant confirmation will be able to take advantage of instant engagement with clients.”
TTG Asia
[pictured: Galaxy Note Edge; courtesy Samsung]