The Caterer
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More credit for online sector

11 May 2006

There was much to commend in your report (Caterer, 4 May, page 36) on relations between the hotel and online sectors.

However, were the comments and conclusions just a touch one-sided? Not taken into account is the point that electronic distribution brands require considerable vision, investment and enterprise, and probably only one in every 100 makes it.

E-commerce removes real day-by-day costs of hotel staff, as well as human problems of inconsistency. It also slashes the costs of incremental bookings.

Finally, in conferences and events, it is possible for hotels to gain bookings worth five figures - in our case, for commission from corporate buyers of only 5% - and, yes, prices are set by the hoteliers themselves.

A more nuanced analysis of the accommodation-internet market might find the costs and benefits are more evenly split, particularly as hitherto unsold space is usually the main focus of activity.

John Gallery and Chris Martins
LateMeetings.com, York

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