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Getting Around Rate Parity Agreements With OTAs

November 21, 2018 at 8:52 pm · · Comments Off on Getting Around Rate Parity Agreements With OTAs

Getting Around Rate Parity Agreements With OTAs

This has been a difficult one, and more and more countries are kicking OTAs rate parity agreements into touch.

For now, in the UK it seems like the independent hotelier doesn’t have the clout to utilise their own loyalty programme incentives enough to get around rate parity like the big boys, but there are still ways to achieve direct bookings at ultimately attractive rates by using utilities such as the ‘Special Offer’ feature on Trip Advisor’s Business Listings.

Offer a discount or upgrade or some other incentive, but let it be known that this only applies to direct bookings made on the hotel’s own website by entering a promotional code on the booking page.

Another way to get around rate parity is through packaging – including a meal with a two or three night stay, or a spa treatment or a complimentary upgrade, at a price which when compared to the OTA offering has obvious appeal. This can be done on a ‘Special Offers’ section on your website.

Really it seems like the OTAs are most concerned with price parity being maintained between them and their competition, with them constantly trying to outflank each other by offering hoteliers optimised exposure in exchange for reduced rates (then when you go for it, all the other OTAs contact you too, asking [demanding!] that they receive that discount too…)

One hotelier I know consistently displayed marginally lower rates on his website than those made available to the OTAs, and when questioned said that his direct booking rates were calculated in relation to foreign currency conversion rates and were updated bi-monthly, and they seemed to swallow that, and he consistently landed direct bookings of all the most cost conscious guests – sure, they didn’t spend much at the hotel, but at least they were ‘commission free…!’

Germany, Austria, Italy and France have all shrugged off the OTA burden of rate parity agreements, but for now it’s up to UK hoteliers themselves to see the best way to circumvent such constraints and incentivise those vital commission-free direct bookings…

Best of luck!

What are your views on the Rate Parity debate?

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Renegade OTAs Undercutting Your Direct Booking ‘Special Offer’ Rates

November 21, 2018 at 8:31 pm · · Comments Off on Renegade OTAs Undercutting Your Direct Booking ‘Special Offer’ Rates

Renegade OTAs Undercutting Your Direct Booking ‘Special Offer’ Rates

This really can be a headache.

Lost revenue due to lost direct bookings, plus you’ll have other OTAs on at you to offer them the same rates available elsewhere.

We’re talking rates discounted by as much as 20% compared with the correct retail rates…

Add in guests who’ve already made bookings calling up unhappily asking for partial refunds as a ‘pricematch’ and ‘Thiiiings can only get betteeeeer…!’

You check on the link you’re given to the site offering the discounted rate, and there it is, a discounted rate being offered by a provider you’ve no contract with – Hmmmmmmm

They get their rates via wholesalers like Hotelbeds.com and GTA, apply a minimal markup and then sail to the top of the price comparison sites – a good business model and good for consumers, but they grab direct bookings from right under your nose (and then the aggravation from other OTAs asking for parity, and requests from existing bookings for partial refunds – plus the damage that does to existing customer loyalty / negating the value of the customer loyalty programmes you went to so much trouble to put into place…

The solution…?

Contact the renegade OTAs directly and you get nowhere – they know what they are doing…

The only way to solve the issue is to get the wholesalers to close off access to that channel, but you’ll need to do it on all your wholesalers, as just as soon as you have one closed off those renegade OTAs find supply through another; again and again and again…

Cut off their supply and you’re free from them!

Have a look on the metasearch engine price comparison sites to see if you’re suffering from this issue.

Nobody likes their direct booking ‘special offers’ being undercut!

Have you experienced this? What solution did you come to…?

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