TUI takes commissionable rooms global

TUI Travel’s has followed in dropping use of wholesalers in favour of an exclusively commission-based relationship with hotels.

Chris Morris, managing director of the business-to-consumer section of TUI Travel’s accommodation and destinations unit, told Travolution: “Using the merchant model, buying through wholesalers, we were able to get strong brand penetration for AsiaRooms, but the best long-term proposition for accommodation-only is the commission model, because hoteliers want control of rates and availability.”

AsiaRoom, which concentrates on English-speaking source markets in the Asia-Pacific region, now sits on the same platform as TUI Travel’s Hoteliers load inventory via an extranet which allows them to set the rates at which both sites sell beds – and sell through both brands.

Morris said: “It is a fairly simple route to market for hoteliers looking for global reach.” He added that the commission model “gives us more information about customers” which is being used to improve pay-per-click returns.

AsiaRooms is popular in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and picks up some business from Europeans looking to visit the region. It only exists in an English-language version, but Morris said: “We will look at adding local language sites. It’s quite a complicated process, but we need to do it to maximise profitability over the long term.”

There are close to 30,000 hotels on the combined database. However, Morris said: “It’s not really about the total number of hotels, it’s about getting the right spread of product for each country and city you operate in. You need a range of properties from five-star chain hotels to independent bed-and-breakfasts to appeal to the widest range of customers.”

He acknowledged TUI had spent “very large sums” on paid search for laterooms, but argued this was done within strict return-on-investment guidelines. “We’ve had great success in raising brand awareness through offline activity for laterooms,” said Morris. “We will do the same for asiarooms at some stage.”


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