With competition for bookings more intense than ever, hotels continue to look for ways to become a ‘one-stop shop’ for guests planning a holiday or business trip.
Dynamic packaging – the method of creating deals or packages based upon components selected by the customer – is increasingly being adopted by hotels looking to join companies like Airbnb and Google in the ‘trips’ marketplace. Whether this is achieved by integrating a flight-booking feature – see Accor and Barceló – or by offering dynamic packaged content, it’s clear that hotels are thinking carefully about how to differentiate themselves from the competition.
Marriott’s latest experiment
Marriott are continuing their own expansion into ‘experience’ offerings with their investment in PlacePass, a search engine for activities and tours. Beginning this summer, PlacePass will power ‘experience’ recommendations for guests on the Marriott website and app – a natural progression from the ‘experiences marketplace’ the group already offer to Rewards members.
This diversification is a clear sign that Marriott intend to keep pace with the travel industry’s big hitters – Expedia, Airbnb, Google – as they expand further into the ‘trips’ market. Airbnb Trips launched in November last year, while Google and Facebook are continuing to introduce travel planners and city guides to their platforms.
The decision to invest in PlacePass was an obvious one, according to Marriott’s Global CCO Stephanie Linnartz. “This experience market is exploding,” she explains. “It’s a hundreds of millions if not a billion-dollar industry, and we’re also using it as a way to bring more to our consumers.”
Marriott aren’t the only hotel group climbing aboard the ‘experience’ train. Accor Hotels – who have already announced that they will be adding flights to their website – are currently in negotiations to buy a stake in French events company Potel & Chabot, continuing their expansion into non-traditional businesses.
Faced with a consumer group who are as convenience-driven as they are time-poor, hotels are increasingly looking to emulate OTAs when it comes to offering guests everything they need in one place.