letters spelling out the word pricing reflecting importance for hotels to look at right price sources to ensure parity

Monitoring how the rates customers see on your booking engine compare to those on OTA sites has long been an important tactic in the fight for direct bookings.

NB: This is an article from Triptease

This kind of insight is key to keeping track of partners and making sure your parity is under control for the real guest searches happening on your booking engine. But with the rise of metasearch giants like Google Hotel Ads, customer booking journeys have changed and so too have the ways hotels need to keep track of rates.

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Parity is now bigger than just your booking engine, which begs the question – are you monitoring the right price sources? As we enter the post-Covid travel rebound, you’ll need to broaden the scope of your parity monitoring to look beyond your booking engine and select partner OTAs if you want to keep track of where customers are seeing your direct price.

Global travel is bouncing back but potential customers aren’t necessarily heading directly to your booking engine. Seventy three percent of guests now use metasearch sites regularly in their pre-booking journey, with Google Hotel Ads dominating the scene. Hotels finally have the chance to compete, yet OTAs are spending billions to squeeze you out – driving ten times more booking revenue from metasearch than hotels.

Hoteliers can no longer simply rely on the old way of monitoring parity – you need to be keeping track of rates on metasearch too. But how can you keep up with the rapid pace of metasearch given the sheer variety of OTA players and constant fluctuation of rates?

Step aside booking engine, prepare yourself for the new parity

Triptease has long supported hotels with monitoring their parity for the real guest searches happening on their booking engine. This is important to to keep track of undercutting rates and ensure that the OTAs you choose to partner with are playing by the rules you set. But it’s important to understand that monitoring parity in this way does not provide a real indication of how customers are actually seeing your direct price on metasearch.

To ensure you’re able to see the full picture when it comes to your online prices, you need to step away from your booking engine. This doesn’t mean neglecting the old way of monitoring parity – this still has immense value. It simply means understanding how customer experiences on meta are different.

The most important lesson here is that you’re up against a far greater range of players. This is not just your specific OTA partners. On metasearch your direct price will be competing against wholesalers and ‘random.com’ OTAs you may never have heard of. You need to be monitoring their rates too. Remember that on metasearch there is nowhere for an out-of-parity rate to hide. If your rate is being undercut then you are immediately at risk of losing the direct booking.

You also need to be monitoring price undercuts in a way that is relevant to how customers actually see your direct price on this channel. Metasearch is a rate parity battleground – having the best rate can be the difference between winning or losing the customer’s booking. So whereas traditional parity monitoring meant paying attention to when your direct rate is cheaper, in parity and undercut for each real guest search made on your booking engine, the new way of monitoring parity requires hoteliers pay more attention to when they’re being undercut. This is because from the customer’s perspective you are considered undercut even if just one OTA price is cheaper.

Read rest of the article from Triptease