Patrik Oqvist – Information that’s priceless

This is the information age and existing information put together in a new way can go a long way. When we launched our first Hotels.com Hotel Price Index a year ago we knew it would throw up some interesting trends and be newsworthy – but we never realised how far-reaching it would be.


The HPI is based on actual bookings at our 85,000 properties across 1,000 locations. As such, it is one of the most comprehensive and accurate sources of pricing information. Most other reports are based on what hoteliers report, not what the guests paid.


Within hours of Hotels.com releasing the first index we had a phenomenal response and demands from all over Europe for television, radio and newspaper interviews.


The good thing is we now have the systems built to retrieve the information, and the public relations value alone makes it worthwhile.


However, the information is powerful in more ways and demonstrates how vital it is to track your customers’ purchasing behaviour.


The latest HPI, released at the end of October, highlighted some pretty surprising trends. For example, it showed, that Moscow was the most expensive city for a hotel stay between April and June this year. The average price paid per night was £167, compared with the next most expensive in New York at £140.


Another example is the difference in value for money to be had in some cities compared to others, and this could effectively enable tourists to double their stay if they choose the right city.


Visitors to Tallinn or Istanbul could afford to stay longer with average rates paid per night of £70 and £69 respectively compared to Moscow at £167 or Venice at £123.


The accuracy and authority of this sort of information is valuable to us as a travel provider. We can use it to identify new business opportunities.


For example, let’s look at the long-haul outcome in the latest HPI. The results demonstrated that it could be cheaper to go to Shanghai, Beijing or Singapore for a five-night stay in a five-star hotel than to visit Venice, Nice or Pisa.


From a long-haul perspective I would be thinking about building a marketing campaign based around the information. Or, from a dynamic packaging angle, I would want to be out and about promoting that now is the time to travel further. It’s pretty compelling stuff.


The trends information could also prove useful to the conference and business travel sector in deciding how to plan a high-profile overseas meeting based on relevant and current pricing information.


Businesses could use the information to draw comparisons of the sorts of rates they might be paying.


The statistics also help dispel myths about how expensive some cities are.


So, in this age of information the number of ways we can track and understand our customers is increasing dramatically. At Hotels.com we are particularly pleased to be the authority on what is happening to hotel prices paid by customers worldwide.


Further, we are happy to share this publicly to generate debate and insight.


As an industry we can only benefit from more data sharing and discussion.


Patrik Oqvist is marketing director for Hotels.com

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