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The Caterer

Rate control is top benefit of internet

13 April 2006
Rate control is top benefit of internet

Rate flexibility is the biggest advantage derived from having your own website, according to hoteliers surveyed exclusively by Caterer.

Some 70% of respondents said that direct control over room rates was what they prized most about internet bookings, while 16% said the opportunity to use visuals and photos was the most important thing.

Only 9% saw their website as a way of winning new custom.

The survey, conducted in association with pan-European online travel service Opodo, also found that just over half of all respondents used third-party distributors for internet reservations.

However, hoteliers had different expectations of third-party websites. Some 28% looked to agents to raise their market share, 16% expected them to maximise yield rates and 5% were seeking to boost their brand identity. Half said they expected all three.

Our survey also revealed that 43% of respondents said that company websites accounted for 10% to 30% of bookings, while only 38% claimed they achieved the same rate of bookings via third-party distributors.

While 65% of respondents said they used a third-party distributor, 60% believed the big chains benefited the most from these channels. Only 31% and 25% respectively felt the same was true for independents and small chains.

\* In 2005 global hotel chains won more bookings from the internet than from travel agents for the first time, says electronic marketing firm TravelClick.

It found that 35.2% of central reservations bookings came from the internet, against 34.6% from global distribution systems run by travel agents and airlines, and 30.2% from call centres.

By Angela Frewin

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