Hotel chains are increasing the number of perks offered to customers making direct bookings rather than through online travel agents (OTAs) as commissions rise, reports the Financial Review.

“[The cost of online travel agents] is creeping up,” said Michael Issenberg, chairman and COO, Accor Asia-Pacific. “And as it creeps up it is more important than ever to generate business in your own distribution channels.”

In markets such as Australia, online travel agent Wotif’s commission rates rose three per cent following Expedia’s purchase of the company last year.

Hotel chains such as AccorHotels and Hilton are creating perk packages to encourage guests to book directly with the hotel. AccorHotels is offering $20 a day adult drinks and children’s meal deals to its loyalty members, and Hilton is now offering free Wi-Fi for loyalty members, no matter their tier, as long as they book their stay directly.

AccorHotels also recently relaunched its mobile app, consolidating all of its brands and opening its distribution platform to independent hotels.

These new loyalty offers still need to compete with the loyalty programs offered by companies such as Expedia and Priceline. Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi recently told analysts his company was investing heavily in its loyalty program and customer service because repeat customers accounted for the majority of the company’s profits. []



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