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As the hospitality sector reels from last week’s announcement from Marriott that it will acquire Starwood and create the world’s largest hotel company, every hotel whether it’s a Marriott or Starwood property or otherwise understands that there’s no precedence for what comes next.
Not only will Marriott now have much more negotiating power with major online travel agencies, it also has an opportunity to change the online booking game and shift power back to its side of the field. As the largest hotel company, it could make booking direct a more attractive option with its vast inventory and heavy presence in many metropolitan areas. The realization of what a combined Marriott and Starwood will look like is years away, but the startups working to increase direct bookings and give independent or boutique hotels more leverage already exist. Below are five companies that want to be part of this wave of hotel consolidation and help hotels reap the benefits.
>>Voyat helps increase direct bookings for hotels by presenting offers, promotions and guest loyalty rewards tailored to every guest.
SkiftTake: Winning over a guest is as easy as saying “Welcome back, so-and-so.” Just acknowledging someone’s identity in their name, in a nonintrusive way, goes a long way.
>>Commeasure helps independent hotels increase direct online bookings and includes features such as allowing guests to pay at the hotel and letting hotels track their competition.
SkiftTake: Having the option to pay at the hotel would certainly rival some big online travel agencies like Booking.com, and what’s hospitality if you don’t know how you stack up to your competition?
>>Triptease helps hotels drive direct bookings to high quality guests who have been referred directly by prior guests. It includes features such as displaying prices from online travel agencies on a hotel’s site and a “hold this price” option for guests not ready to book right away.
SkiftTake: We love the “hold this price” idea. It’s a way for a hotel to demonstrate that they know a guest is a human, and also shows that the hotel has some humans behind it as well. It’s also the hotel acknowledging that they realize a guest might not be ready to book right that second, which research shows they probably aren’t on a first or even second site visit.
>>BookingDirection says it can get hotels 41% more direct bookings through price comparison and sense of urgency tools it offers.
SkiftTake: Creating a sense of urgency isn’t always the most effective at getting someone to convert. Guests don’t want to feel as if they’ve been backed into a corner. This tool should be tailored to a guest’s behavior based on how quickly they make a booking from the first time they visit a hotel’s site.
>>The Hotels Network wants to help hotels get 20% more direct bookings by offering a suite of conversion and retargeting tools.
SkiftTake: If you’re lucky enough to get the guest to visit your site, that can only be counted as a success if they return, which is why retargeting tools are so crucial to steering the guest towards a direct booking.