What do hoteliers really think about direct bookings? What works and doesn't?
Mahmoud Hegazy, Director of Sales, Hilton Doha
STOP CLICKING AROUND. It's a message that's hit the world, from billboards and prime-time commercials to stolen glimpses over shoulders in the train... So it's no surprise that Hilton believe that 'the best channel to a hotel is to come directly'.
Interestingly, Mahmoud add that HHonours guests are clearly marked in the system and get the best out of their stay. It's time to make the general public more aware of an improved experience when they book direct!
Stephen Kamat, Director of Branding and Marketing, Millennium Copthorne
Direct Booking? Key for any hotel group and very much Millennium Copthorne, Stephen tells us. The hotel group have recently relaunched a global website and social media campaigns: beautiful, optimised for mobile, multilingual and with a brand new price match guarantee.
Stephen describes the power of big brands who have 'gone to war with the OTAs' but points out the unique ability of independent hotels to appeal to holidaymakers' love of the personal and stand in opposition to mammoth OTAs. He calls for a re-education of the consumer: 'Customers should understand that small hotels are paying about 20% commission.' They would, he explains, be treated much better if they booked direct as the money could be used for free upgrades, free amenities, free wifi and so on.
The message? Push people to book direct, but tell them why!
Rakhee Lalvani, PR & Comms Director, Taj Group Worldwide
Taj Worldwide has launched a new website, full of content to serve as a valuable resource for holiday-planners.
The world is moving towards new direct bookings - some use of OTAs is necessary, but building a strong channel is highly valuable in the face of high commission costs.
Small Luxury Hotels
A more detailed look at how Small Luxury Hotels support independent hotels while retaining that all-important personal touch and insight into a whole new type of lyalty scheme - which rewards engagement and requires guests to earn their benefits.