Google's Beating OTAs at their Game; Tingo's Challenging Yield Management
Web in Travel
Friday, 24th August 2012
Following the proven success of its partnerships with Google's Hotel Finder and Room Key, hotel central reservation system (CRS) vendor Trust International is looking for similar opportunities to leverage on the proliferation of online booking channels for its clients.

4Hoteliers Image LibraryTrust's managing director, Richard Wiegmann tells Travel Daily China that it is a CRS's duty to get in bed with as many channels as possible and extend the reach for hotel clients, even if the channels duplicate each other in functionality.

"From the technical perspective, the business model (of the online booking channels) may be the same, (but) they cover different geographical market segments. They might open new markets for our clients, and this is the key for the hotels," he says.

The partnership with Google's Hotel Finder started a year ago is paying dividends. Hotel Finder has been generating nearly 50 million page impressions a month for Trust's portfolio of over 7,000 hotels, most of them are live on the Google platform.

Wiegmann is impressed with the Google solution's delivery of availability and rates and its graphic interface showing geographical boundary and points of interest in the neighborhood of the targeted property.

That the Google search takes a customer to the hotel's website instead of via an online travel agent (OTA) is a major advantage. "(This way) the hotelier owns the booking. The hotelier has the unique chance once the customer has come through the Google link to keep that as a direct customer, through direct mailing or whatever. That is a unique chance not offered by the OTAs today," he says.

Price guarantee set to change hotel game

He also sees Tingo's initiative of offering lowest rate guarantee a positive development for online hotel booking. Tingo, a TripAdvisor company, has offered to rebook customers if a more favorable rate is on offer after bookings are confirmed, to assure customers that they enjoy the lowest rates even if they book early.

"Some of my hotel customers would hate me for making that statement – I like the idea because it gives customers assurance. In the back end it ruins all yield management of hotels," says Wiegmann, "(but) I think it puts more faith into online booking. People will feel a lot more secure. It will increase the lead time for booking, giving hotels planning security."

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