Last month CEOs from a few of the greatest hotel brands in the world came together for a chat at IHIF, The International Hotel Industry Forum, in Berlin. The videos have just been released. Time to share a few highlights - there was lots of discussion on direct booking!
I thought my panel was good, but we were put to shame by the excellent session featuring a selection of hotel CEOs. The panel that included Geoff Ballotti, CEO Wyndham, Christopher Nassetta, President of Hilton, Wolfgang Neumann, CEO & President of The Rezidor Hotel Group and Richard Solomons, CEO of IHG. They covered everything from Airbnb to the ability of hotels to deliver great technology internally and even the potential impact of hotelier Donald Trump being President.
You can watch the whole conversation below. They go deep on hotels driving more bookings direct from 29:00 minutes in. [Full disclosure, Triptease has been involved in the trials helping IHG's Holiday Inn Express increase direct bookings]
A few key comments:
"Be really clear to the customer about the proposition about booking direct... if you're making a price promise you've got to deliver on it...
The trial you're talking about in the UK was to make sure the price promise is kept... we saw a massive uptick in business booking direct...
The OTAs have made a lot of business from saying they are the cheapest and the best value and in many cases that may not be the case ... As brands there's no question that booking direct and having loyal customers and is how we drive a lot of our incremental value"
Richard Solomons, Chief Executive Officer, IHG
"We have to have engagement with the customer directly"
Wolfgang Neumann, CEO Rezidor
"Over time for a whole lot of reasons I think [customers] have been confused by a lot of the intermediaries out there into thinking they are getting better value as a result of buying through other third-parties... Of course we love all our customers. If we can bring in a customer we otherwise wouldn't be able to bring in by working with intermediaries, we want to do that...
There's been a lot of damage done in the industry. creating a misperception of all of our customers of where value is. [Stop Clicking Around] is a huge global campaign to right-size that..."
Christopher Nassetta, President & CEO Hilton
Image Courtesy of Mark Brown