Our TravelLine team has just returned from Click, an event hosted by Booking.com in Amsterdam. Most technological innovations and IT travel trends are originated in Europe. So, this event was full of news and information. So let me briefly tell you what it was about.
Ecosystem by Booking.com
Booking.com forces on creating its own ecosystem, in which a guest can book everything for the trip in one place. Flights, transfers, guided tours, additional services, etc. The idea is that a user shouldn’t be torn between dozens of tabs and multiple websites while planning their route. Everything should be on one page.
Understandably, you can’t develop such a system in a snap, so you have to partner with technological and supplier companies, and be nice to them. While being polite, you still have to hold the frame. The main idea is, “Grow together, where travel connects.” In general, everything is for the sake of common interests.
Hotel vs. hospitality house
There should be complete interpenetration with channel managers. Booking.com sees a valuable threat in channel manager tools because hoteliers might miss new Booking features. The reason is that hotel managers have everything at hand in their channel managers and PMS, and they rarely open their Booking.com account. This is exactly what Booking.com doesn’t want to happen.
To overcome this, Booking includes most functions into their API so that all new features can be transferred into channel managers. At this moment, their API covers 77% of the features, but they are going to include the rest of the features soon. On the partner side, those who keep up with their API and embed new features, get Premium status.
Ideally, there should be a direct link with Booking via a PMS with the exclusive right to sell rooms. This will give Booking a super strong position against competitors, and the hotel turns into a hospitality house, where its mission is to make beds and serve buffet tables. And this scheme might work great for many hotels. But I think that such a position is very vulnerable for a hotel, because once you realize that you’re no longer an independent business owner, but merely a screw in the global IT giant processes. In general, each hotel should choose what’s more important: more guests or independence.
New powerful players
Who is the boss competitor? It seems like Google and Airbnb pair. In our neighborhood, this story is only starting out, while overseas market wheels the deal. Google owns all the information and actively offers bookings, including the commission model. Airbnb, the second competitor, grows very aggressively in the local markets. It is about to go into the hotel industry and competes for their piece of the pie.
What does TravelLine have in terms of integration with these guys? No worries, we got you covered! :)
Our team at Click: me, Veronika — TL: Channel Manager product manager, and Alexander — TL: Hotel booking engine product manager
Phrases for inspiration
Just for fun, here are a few new phrases that I liked. Last time it was “Fail fast,” and it worked actively.
- Avoid tunnel vision. Indeed, you better think broadly and don’t miss peripheral details.
- CASE for “Copy And Steal Everything”. It is about learning the best practices by the leaders.
- Cheaper or different. There are two options to stand out — either smaller price tag or a product that draws attention.
- No fresh simulations in — no new ideas out. Try different things, explore new approaches, and some ideas will surely take off.
About the author:
Founder and CEO of TravelLine. A hotel IT solutions professional since 2003. A reliable partner and a good hoteliers’ friend. He works out the strategy of increasing online hotel sales.