ChatGPT: How Conversational Bots Will Be the New OTAs
Sérgio Serra | February 16, 2023
By Sérgio Serra In late November 2022, OpenAI unveiled ChatGPT to the world, calling it a trained model that interacts in a conversational way. I’m sorry if the title of this article misleads you, but heads up, this is not an article about ChatGPT. It’s an article about how conversational bots based on Large Language Models (LLMs) can shape the future of the hospitality industry. Unlike many other technologies, this is a breakthrough that virtually everybody can understand and see many uses, a key one being online search. It’s simpler to pose a question and get a straight answer, rather than browse through different websites look...
A Hotel Guide for Avoiding OTA Panic and Rate Parity Games
Vikram Singh | January 24, 2023
By Vikram Singh OTAs are a fact of life in our industry. But there are so many negative feelings about them, constantly being stoked by hotel media, that it becomes difficult for hotels to form calm, cohesive OTA and rate-setting strategies. OTA-bashing articles surface every few months, no matter what cycle the travel business is in. These articles usually involve screenshots of OTA rates being lower than the hotel’s direct rates, leading to complete disgust and a ton of hate reading. Other times, these feelings of fear and loathing towards OTAs are triggered at conferences by speakers going for some cheap applause. I would like t...
Hotelier’s Quick Guide to Expedia’s Search & Sort Factors Update
Sarah-Anne Tissot | July 26, 2022
By Sarah-Anne Tissot Competing for guests in our tech-centric world typically includes having a strong and engaging presence on OTA websites. Researching hotels on OTA review sites are often the first step in a traveler’s guest journey, which in turn makes those listings an important aspect of most hotels’ marketing strategy and why the latest change to the Expedia Marketplace is something important for all hoteliers to understand. Starting this August, Expedia Group is releasing new Search and Sort Factors in their marketplace that will affect how hotels appear in Expedia’s search results. These new factors will look at both th...
Google Represents Ongoing Threat to Online Travel Agencies, Says GlobalData
GlobalData | January 13, 2022
COVID-19 had a serious impact on online travel agencies (OTAs), according to GlobalData, which notes that the OTA market value decreased by a gruesome 60.4% year-on-year (YoY) in 2020. The leading data and analytics company reveals that this strain has amplified OTA’s existing concerns around the growing presence of Google in the market, and how the tech giant’s control could impact competitivity and, therefore, consumer choice. Ralph Hollister, Travel and Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Google’s growing presence in online travel will be ominous for OTAs that have no choice but to rely on the search engine fo...
Content Matters as Much as Rate on the OTAs
Larry and Adam Mogelonsky | June 16, 2021
By Larry and Adam Mogelonsky With the pandemic subsiding, hotels are gearing up for another summer of largely domestic guests, with many of these customers finding their accommodations through an OTA. With this in mind, one pain point we’ve found from working with revenue managers throughout the pandemic is that it is a slog to constantly update each channel with new rates as each property yields to growing demand. The problem here is that with so much focus on the rates, we’re often missing how much influence the content on these websites has in driving bookings. For clarity, with the banner term of ‘content’, we’re referring...
Maximizing Your Relationship With OTAs
Tim Lee | January 13, 2020
By Tim Lee The relationship between hotels (particularly major international brands) and Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) may sometimes seem an uneasy alliance. Major hotel companies, such as Hilton, Marriott and IHG, are adding policies on price match guarantees to encourage direct bookings and detract from the perceived value of OTAs. Meanwhile, OTAs push even harder for competitive pricing and invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Search Engine Marketing (SEM) to increase their market share. Due to acquisitions and mergers over the last two decades, most OTA brands are a part of, or work with the two largest players in the space: Bo...
Redefining The Value Chain in Tourism: Lessons From Thomas Cook’s Demise
Achim Schmitt | October 25, 2019
By Achim Schmitt Thomas Cook: An Industry Perspective On September 23rd, 2019, Thomas Cook – one of the world’s oldest travel companies – declared bankruptcy. The 178-year old travel firm was forced to indefinitely suspend its operations after failing to secure £200 million in emergency funding, despite having already reached an agreement for a £900 million rescue deal. But this wasn’t the first time that Thomas Cook rifled with financial struggles. The company almost went under in 2011 when its debt reached £1.24 billion – but narrowly avoided it by securing an emergency loan of £100 million. Now, 8 years later,�...
New Research Shows Fraudulent, Misleading Hotel Bookings Rob Consumers of $5.7 Billion Annually
AHLA | October 7, 2019
WASHINGTON (October 7, 2019) – The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) released new research that reveals online booking scams and dishonest marketing practices by fraudulent and misleading travel websites continue to deceive and confuse consumers. In fact, 23 percent of consumers report being misled by third-party traveler resellers on the phone or online, which amounted to $5.7 billion in fraudulent and misleading hotel booking transactions in 2018 alone. “The numbers we saw in this research are completely unacceptable. Consumers are being robbed of billions of dollars every year by bad actors,” said Chip Rogers,...
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