Hotel CEOs Love Direct Booking But Have Varied Views About Strategy

Earlier this month, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts surprised many in the hotel industry when news leaked during its current contract negotiations that the company was threatening to abandon Expedia and its numerous online travel agency sites.

If Hyatt makes good on its threat and it doesn’t come to terms with Expedia then that might mean consumers would no longer be able to book a Hyatt hotel on Expedia and sister sites, including, Travelocity, Orbitz, and Hotwire, among others.

Hyatt’s potential move would be just one of many recent efforts hotel companies have launched in recent years to win the so-called direct booking wars or, in other words, to get more consumers to book directly on their own sites. Online travel agencies often charge chain hotels a commission ranging from 10 to 20 percent.

The height of these efforts by Hyatt and its peers seemed to peak last year, especially when Hilton debuted its largest-ever advertising campaign called Stop Clicking Around. Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, Choice, and others also began offering discounted room rates for their respective loyalty members.

Fast forward one year later, and most hotel CEOs remain bullish about their efforts to push more direct bookings, and their success with member-only rates.

“Certainly, it’s better for the industry to do direct booking,” said Stephen Rushmore, CEO of HVS Global Hospitality Services, a hospitality intelligence business. “That seems to be happening. It happens in the airline industry now most regularly, so I think that the number of hotel brands that are having campaigns toward loyalty programs and direct booking and so forth — from what I’ve heard from senior people in those organizations — have been quite effective.”

Rushmore thinks hotels need to press ahead with these campaigns.

“I think it’s one of those things that they just have to keep on pushing and keep on campaigning. You can’t just do a one-time campaign in order to really get the consumers to change their behavior.”

Read rest of the article at Skift