In today’s environment, hoteliers can no longer sit idly by, complacent with the tech systems and hardware that they have been using for decades. Those that focus on tech in terms of the overall customer journey will not only delight guests, but also outpace competitors in sales and ROI.
The hospitality industry is evolving rapidly, with brands shifting to asset light and consolidating, soft brands and non-branded operators growing steadily, and the distribution landscape becoming increasingly competitive. Nevertheless, hotel owners stand to gain if they focus on acquiring and developing the right real estate, choosing the appropriate franchisors, managers, and partners, running their properties efficiently and effectively, remaining innovative and thoughtful, and maintaining that ever-needed hospitality factor.
This report analyzes the state of hotel distribution with a focus on direct booking. Rather than taking the view that it’s a booking war, we believe the landscape is far more nuanced where hotels need to take a holistic approach with their distribution channels. Readers will gain insight from our interviews with over 20 executives across the hotel and online travel ecosystem along with the results from our survey of 370 hotels around the world, which was powered by Skift and Trivago.
The tours and activities segment is a two-sided race, with the big online aggregators clamoring to bring both suppliers and travelers into the digital age. The category has a relatively short booking window compared to accommodations and flights, leaving little room to use the latest in digital marketing and retargeting tech. Average booking values are also significantly lower than other categories. Yet, despite the challenges, the opportunities remain significant; the category is very much the next (if not final) frontier in online travel.
The complex issues and questions being raised by alternative accommodations providers are proof that these businesses are no longer in their infancy, or startup stages. Despite the challenges, the sharing economy is here to stay. The almighty consumer will ultimately decide the ebbs and flows of how the business of short-term rentals plays out.
The world of hotel technology software, or the “tech stack” as it’s often called, has long existed as a fragmented puzzle of competing platforms, competitors and solutions. Now, growing signs of consolidation loom as big players from both inside and outside the category vie for a bigger piece of the pie. What solutions and strategies will be most important to help hotel owners stay competitive, and profitable, in the years to come?
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