In recent years, the travel and hospitality industry has seen many technological innovations. Earlier people used to plan their trips with travel agents now online booking is the left-hand game.
The agents used to log into their computers and offer the best packages that included travel expenses, hotel booking, etc.
But since the invention of the internet and mobile devices, the travel industry has gone through a lot of changes.
In the mid 90’s Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) like Expedia and Priceline.com came into existence upon seeing the vast opportunity in the emerging travel eCommerce industry.
They built a dedicated website to provide travelers with what they needed. They provided information regarding trip fares, and reviews along with a facility to book airlines and hotels online.
Therefore, giving them easy access to enormous information helped them compare, review and book hotel rooms or flight tickets online.
According to Wikipedia, a metasearch engine is defined as:
A metasearch engine (or aggregator) is a search tool that uses another search engine’s data to produce their own results from the Internet.
Metasearch engines take input from a user and simultaneously send out queries to third party search engines for results. Sufficient data is gathered, formatted by their ranks and presented to the users.
In simple language, it means that a metasearch produces well-organized results for the query entered by the user from different search engines.
This was done because different results were produced in different search engines. So through a metasearch engine, a user could see different results on one result page.
Using this as an opportunity Kayak came into existence in 2004, as a fare aggregator and travel metasearch engine.
It searches other travel sites and displays all the offers in one list so travelers can compare, filter, and book through the site they find better or cheaper.
The hotels have been trying their best to survive in this online battle to get their share of Return Of Interest (ROI).
Though there are options like online travel agencies and metasearch engines which bring them, customers, they have to pay high commissions approx 20-25% per booking.
Due to such high commissions, hoteliers don’t have enough income to maintain and upgrade their hotels.
So to gain more control over direct booking, many hotels came up with their hotel websites.
But still, there isn’t much success because online travel agencies have invested greatly in their online presence on search engines which provide their links when a user searches for hotels or airlines.
Nowadays travelers have become smarter! They are using all the sources available to them online to make their travel plans and choose the options which help them complete the process quickly.
It’s a good user interface and a simple booking process. If a user doesn’t get an easy way to book he will immediately go for other options.
Therefore the online travel agencies provide him with all the required information clearly and a seamless booking process.
In 2015, revenue from tourism accounted for 264 billion euros in Europe and is expected to reach 282 billion euros in 2017.
A large part of the growth of the tourism market is increasingly towards digital technology with online booking.
Sales from these are indeed growing faster than in the overall travel market in 2015. Online tourism increased by 14% compared with 5% for the overall market.
According to research by the PhoCusWright agency, the penetration rate has reached almost 60% in the US and 40% in Europe.
Online travel agencies and Meta searches should be used as the alternative revenue stream and Hoteliers must have their sites and a reliable Hotel reservation System.
By building a hotel website, hoteliers can focus on making a fast and easy booking experience for customers.
If a customer isn’t happy with the hotel website then he’ll switch to OTA website. It will provide him with easy access to information and a hassle-free booking option.
Technology will keep evolving and new trends come into motion with it. So hoteliers need to use all the resources available.
They also need to concentrate on making their website and account on OTA.
That’s all from “A look at the Past And The Future Of Hotel Online Booking”.
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