As Cancellations Overwhelm OTAs, Hotels Might Benefit

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As Cancellations Overwhelm OTAs, Hotels Might Benefit

By Michal Christine Escobar - 03/19/2020

A recent article from CNN reports on how coronavirus cancellations have overwhelmed third-party travel booking sites. Customer interviews reveal the frustrations guests are experiencing as they try to cancel previously booked trips amid this pandemic. OTAs are telling guests to contact the hotel for a refund and hotels are telling guests to contact the OTAs. While some of the major Online Travel Agencies are updating their cancellation policies and working with guests, the reality is that many guests may find the experience nothing short of a nightmare.

HT’s Takeaway:

Since the emergence of OTAs, hotels have struggled to drive direct bookings. Booking directly often offers greater flexibility for cancellations or changes to travel schedules. These benefits haven't always been enough for consumers who were shopping for the lowest rate. That, when coupled with a hotel's ability to offer high-touch customer service through websites and call centers, could become an important point of differentiation among consumers when travel resumes.

HT recently interviewed Red Roof, G6 Hospitality, Choice Hotels, Jupiter Hotel and MEININGER Hotels to discuss how hospitality brands can effectively drive direct bookings in 5 steps. The first step? Effective marketing. Read the article here.