Hotels are expected to invest in direct marketing technology this year as they look to limit the influence of leading OTAs and drive more direct bookings.
Andrew Metcalfe, chief technology officer of global hospitality software business Guestline, said hotels need to “work hard to strike the right balance between direct channel and OTA bookings” in 2018.
With some forecasts predicting Expedia and Booking.com parent Priceline Group will between them control 94% of hotel bookings by 2020, Guestline believes 2018 is the year the tide may turn in favour of hoteliers.
Metcalfe added: “Throw into the mix the fact that commission is coming under pressure as hoteliers try to drive the value down, and that OTAs are sure to respond by expanding their services. We’re already seeing innovation as OTAs use data and automation to enhance the quality of the customer experience.
“As a result, and in order to more efficiently better manage their distribution, we expect the hospitality sector will take significant steps to increase its understanding of the digital marketing landscape.
“Increased investment in digital marketing will enable hoteliers to inspire more direct customers and invest in ways to better capture data. This can encourage guests to move away from third-party channels when they return and to open up inventory to innovative new avenues of purchase.”
Guestline, which aims to help hotel chains increase revenue, also predicts a rise in the number of API links between chains and start-up companies with complimentary products, for example restaurant management or spa booking platforms.
“Not only improve the guest experience but can also ensure that potential opportunities to drive more revenue are realised,” said Metcalfe.