Vizergy’s Director of Client Services, Ross McAlpine, weighs in on whether or not rate leakage is a problem for hotels.
As someone who works with hotels on their direct booking strategy, I know the serious impact rate parity issues have to website conversion. The OTAs also understand parity is crucial to their own website conversion and revenue. Simply put, if a hotel doesn’t provide the best rate to an OTA they’ll source it from someone who can regardless of who that seller is. Just like a consumer, an OTA is now rate shopping! This is rate parity 2.0 and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see it become more commonplace in the US as it has become in Europe and Asia.
So how do you plug holes in a leaky bucket blindfolded?! That’s the problem with rate leakage, there’s little visibility over where the leak is in order to fix it. Dynamic rates would solve most (not all) of the rate leakage problems but the issue we have as an industry is that guest shopping online is moving faster than our distribution technology, meaning many wholesalers aren’t capable of dynamic rates. Hotels have to take back control by consolidating wholesale distribution to just a few providers and then test additional smaller wholesalers from there. Audit religiously and attempt to troubleshoot rate parity issues with that partner, be ready to disconnect that partner if issues persist. And always sell with a best rate guarantee on the hotel’s own website because that should always be the hotel’s best guest experience and most profitable distribution channel.
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