The blurring of booking channels caused by the proliferation of options is causing more confusion to travel firms than it is to customers, according to Expedia’s strategic insight team.
Maxim El Masri, director of strategic accounts, said it was vital hoteliers and OTAs understood how consumer behaviour was changing.
One insight Expedia has found is a polarisation of booking lead-in times, with very late and very early bookings on the rise.
Speaking to Travolution at last week’s Travel Distribution Summit El Masri said: “There was a lot of talk here about the blurring of channels and how customers were a bit lost.
“But I don’t believe the customer is lost, it’s mostly us OTAs. The multi-business, multi-channel model, all mixing with one another does bring a lot of complexity.
“It’s our role to try to help the supplier to understand all the different channels they have got. We keep explaining to our partners you have to define your strategy.
“A lot of people talk about testing and planning and that’s crucial in our industry. What might be working for one hotel chain might be very different for another.”
Luis Hurtado de Mendoza, Expedia strategic accounts manager, said the rise of social, video, group buying models and mobile was changing consumer behaviour.
“We see platform changes, point of sale trends, booking windows, different consumer behaviour depending on where the booking is coming from and we make recommendations in order for hotels to plan their strategy.
De Mendoza said Expedia was seeing particular growth in bookings more than 90 days out and same day bookings.
The travel giant is tapping this consumer insight data to help its hotels develop campaigns to target particular markets or types of bookers to address particular needs.
This service is offered regionally at a hotel chain level and locally with managers in resort providing intelligence to individual hotels.
El Masri said hoteliers are increasingly going to have to understand the consumer better and Expedia will work with partners to help them drive incremental revenue.
“Looking at the relationship we have with our partners, it is paying off. It’s important to show that commitment.
“There is a lot of traffic, people surfing on Expedia and hotels.com and people end up booking directly, we know that.
“Data is one piece but the expertise and the collaborative approach that we are offering both at our level and marketing manager level is something we put in to the relationship.”