The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has today concluded its investigation into sales practices by online travel agents (OTAs).
We’re encouraged by the findings of the CMA and the agreement from the online booking sites to incorporate more transparent and clear information for customers so that they can make an informed choice about where and when they stay. In such a thriving market offering so much choice, it’s vital that hotels which focus on personalisation, quality of service and the experience they offer guests, not be disadvantaged by their representation in the major booking portals.
Customers deserve to be offered transparent, clear and helpful information to aid their booking decision and it should not be skewed unfairly by distracting and misleading sales practices. As a result of the CMA’s findings, we are pleased to see OTAs such as Booking.com taking a more transparent stance on data sharing and making changes to their policies in order to provide guests with more personalised booking experiences.
While Avvio has pioneered a number of innovative prompting techniques, we feel that accuracy of information is essential for customer confidence in the direct channel.
Hotels are seeing the OTAs and distributors eating into their margins and this is happening with both independent and chain hotels uniformly; the CMA’s action should help return the hotel market back to a level playing field for all.
We’ve been on the hotel side for many years but, seeing the lack of progress with AI and personalisation at hotel website level, we dedicated time developing and sharing guidelines which we hope will help the entire industry to improve the personalisation of website user experience.
Personalisation using AI needs to be built into hoteliers’ and accommodation providers’ websites to ensure that site visitors and prospective customers are attended to at all stages of their user journey.
Our trends report, which we released in 2017, highlighted the vital and influential role OTAs play in the global hotel industry, accounting for around 18% revenue. OTAs have enjoyed too much control over information provided to their guests, leading to widespread confusion online. Hotels should be able to own the customer journey right from the beginning.
At Avvio we provide the tools for hotels to use directly, providing complete transparency to our clients and ensuring the success of booking directly continues to be a cost-accurate and timely solution.
Part of the consultancy service we provide is to highlight any price discrepancies. We continue to display the full rates (including tax) to ensure customers have complete understanding around what they can expect to be charged, removing any risk of hidden charges and allowing our clients to confidently know they have chosen the best accommodation for their needs at the best price.