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CMA Investigation Into OTAs And Booking Sites

Leanne Donovan 6 December 2017
CMA Investigation Into OTAs And Booking Sites

Kristian Valk, CEO of Hotelchamp has outlined his predictions…

“The CMA’s decision to investigate the accuracy of booking sites comes at a crucial time for the hotel industry. With hotels becoming increasingly dependent on these third-party booking websites, they are unable to compete directly with the sorts of strong-arm tactics the investigation hopes to uncover.”

“This investigation is a real win not only for consumers, but also for the hotels that strive to provide them with legitimate value. By bringing more transparency to the industry, this will allow hoteliers to compete on a more level playing field – offering what is right for the guest, not the middleman.”

“This investigation may see a shift in 2018 that hotels try to push direct bookings as a way to avoid passing further costs to the consumer by using a booking site middleman.”

Diversification of Accommodation

“International hotel chains and conglomerates are looking to expand into new markets and appeal to experience-based travel seekers and a younger, millennial market. We are seeing a huge shift with international hotel chains acquiring a range of hotels and brands in an effort to accomplish this. This includes purchasing smaller boutique hotels and chains, or aiming their new openings in cities that are not capitals or the traditional tourist hubs of that particular country.

In the past year Accor have continued to invest heavily in diversifying their portfolio, from the acquisition of Australia’s Mantra group, to partnering with French rail operator SNCF to develop the famous Orient Express brand. Whilst acquisitions and mergers might appear to be business as usual for a multinational corporation, the variety of Accor’s investments shows a definitive recognition of the changing and diverse desires of guests.  Differing travel tastes extends to locality too – several chains such as Zetter Townhouse have announced UK launches in cities like Manchester, instead of London, and Hilton’s new chain Canopy, are opening first in D.C., Portland and Dallas.

All this shows that big players in the hospitality and hotelier industry are willing to take serious action to cater to this diaspora of travellers seeking new and unique experiences. As they feed this appetite, it will undoubtedly continue to grow in 2018 – encouraging news for unique and independent hoteliers.”

A completely digital travel experience

“The advancements over the last few years in travel tech, particularly in the form of apps, have changed the way we travel.

Google Translate, is now able to give a live translation using the camera and other apps like VizEat (a social dining platform), offer a unique and personalised experience that can really enhance a trip. These new developments in tech are letting holidaymakers immerse themselves in a new culture and environment in every part of their vacation. Online and mobile booking is also the main way people are subscribing to travel, mainly due to the better user experience, and this is only expected to grow in 2018.

We are seeing a growth in digital tools being used to create more authentic, unusual and intimate experiences, which typically younger travellers are seeking out. But even well-established resorts like Walt Disney World, are now offering full service apps for guests that provide maps and attraction times. It’s imperative that brands get on board with the digital revolution.”Local Travel / Shorter Breaks / ‘Staycations’

“With the younger generation having less disposable income, travellers are now venturing much closer to home with their vacation time.

These ‘staycations’ were a growing trend this year that is set to continue into 2018, and has seen many now choosing to spend their holiday time in local boutique settings that offer unique experiences, rather than a typical destination, further afield.

In Amsterdam for example, ‘Hotel Nacht’ is growing in popularity – a night in January that sees over 30 hotels throw exclusive parties and offer discounted room rates – but only to Amsterdam locals.

Like Hotel Nacht, there are many ways clever hoteliers can take advantage of this. Offering discounted rates to locals is just one way of increasing valuable word-of-mouth recommendations to fellow ‘staycationers’. It doesn’t have to be price-focused though – targeting offers based on proximity is effective too, like offering free parking to website visitors who are browsing from within 100km.”