News for the Hospitality Executive
AboutAnywhere.com Explains Commission-free Online
Distribution Model for the Hotel Industry
Objective to Eradicate Commissions in Hotel Industry
MIAMI - January 14, 2009 - In response to backlash from the travel agency community in reference to AboutAnywhere.com’s commission-free online distribution model for the hotel industry, the Company issues the following statement.
With the emergence of the “virtual” or Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) came speculation and concern over the “death” of the brick and mortar travel agency community. Such a metaphoric death would leave many travel agents without employment and the travel industry without an integral part of its foundational infrastructure.
The main issue that the team at AboutAnywhere.com has studied is the high commissions hotels are required to pay OTAs. The original intention of the travel agent commission was to compensate the agent for sending a customer to a particular hotel. That process evolved into customers referring to an OTA and searching for a list of hotels in any particular area and then proceeding to book their hotel stay. In today’s online environment, a fee and commission may be justified in the latter case if the customer has never heard of the hotel or is unfamiliar with the location that they are traveling to.
A fee and commission is not deemed fair, however, when the customer knows where they want to go and which hotel they would like to stay in. What real service is being provided by the OTA in that instance? A hotel is required to pay 25 to 35 percent of its booking revenue in commissions to an OTA even if the customer had already decided that that specific hotel was the one they wanted to patronize but were unable to find the hotel’s website in order to book directly. Though initially reluctant, hotels tolerate these high commissions simply because they just cannot compete with the exorbitant marketing budgets and team of Search Engine experts that the OTAs have the luxury of maintaining.
“We believe that travel agents are and will continue to be an essential element of the travel industry. AboutAnywhere.com’s new commission free model is meant to connect customers who already know where they want to go and stay with the destination and hotel that they are looking for, without charging the hotel any commission,” explains Ashwin Kamlani, CEO of AboutAnywhere.com.
Travel agents provide a personal touch and level of care to the travel experience that remains a very high priority to certain individuals who may be a bit technologically challenged, unfamiliar with their travel destination, or who would just rather complete their travel reservations with a live person instead of a computer screen. But for the millions upon millions of Internet travel shoppers that would rather conduct their business with a few clicks of the mouse, AboutAnywhere.com provides the world’s largest hotel network comprised of the familiar large hotel chains as well as the remote 5-room inn with the worth-the-trip view.
About the Company: AboutAnywhere.com, founded by Danish entrepreneur Morten Sondergaard, operates the world’s first and only free online distribution network for the hotel industry. Ashwin Kamlani, formerly Global VP of Distribution with Sol Melia Hotels & Resorts, was selected as CEO of AboutAnywhere.com in March 2008 and is based in the Company’s Miami office.
|Also See:||Pegasus and Travelport GDS Announce Exclusive Agreement to Help Boost Hotel Commissions Earned by Travel Agencies; New Arrangement Offers Reduced Pricing for Commission Processing, Reconciliation and Tracking for Galileo-connected Travel Agents / July 2008|