It seems reasonable to expect that when it comes to booking patterns, where flights go, accommodation is likely to follow. We couldn’t help but think about how Lufthansa has been rocking the “book direct” boat. Especially as the Macron law coming through in August will give French hotels the power to control pricing on all online channels.
Back to airlines. Lufthansa recently sparked uproar from travel agencies by announcing that from September, it will impose a €16 fee on bookings if they are made through a global distribution system. That means if you book your flight from London to Frankfurt through Amadeus (instead of Lufthansa.com), you’ll be paying 10% more. It claims this charge reflects the savings it makes if it sells plane tickets on its own website but the move has seen it labelled “Public Enemy Number One” of the GDS world. True, it may just be employing a negotiating tactic, but that’s not the line taken by its chief commercial officer who claimed that “the market is ready for this change” and “someone’s got to do it”.
The trouble is that Lufthansa is not also providing a channel that is appropriate for mass corporate bookings or that enables bookers to compare prices. At the moment it’s also lone wolf: its competitors are not following suit. So even if this fee does for Lufthansa’s bookings what myxomatosis did for rabbits, it’s tricky to map the consequences straight onto the hotel-OTA relationship but it bears thinking about.
In any case, there’s no reason for hotels to also jump to using the stick, when there are so many ways they can offer carrots to direct bookers. Want to know the four we think are especially great? Read on.