There’s been a subtle change in tone from some quarters when you ask hotels about the power of online travel agencies or how those OTAs feel about hotels driving business direct.
What used to almost incite rage has softened with a few hotels starting to refer to the likes of Expedia and Booking.com as partners.
Some in the OTA community even go as far as to dismiss the direct sell efforts of the hotels as just PR which might not sound conciliatory but, OTAs say, behind the scenes it’s a different story.
During a recent presentation to media, Cyril Ranque, president of lodging partner services for Expedia Group, spoke of previous investment being all about the customer experience, but now shifting to investment in driving growth for partners.
He was alluding to initiatives such as its white label with Marriott Vacations which, he says, is driving a twofold improvement in conversion in package traffic.
Expedia’s partnership helping to drive loyalty for Red Lion Hotels is another example, as are its TravelAds which used to direct consumers to the hotel page on Expedia but now direct them to the hotel’s website.
“That’s the change in mindset and it means removing friction for consumers. We know they are clicking around so we’re facilitating that and we’re probably removing a click from Google which is good for the industry.”