February 23, 2022
While the early pandemic days consisted of bulk Amazon and baking supply orders, consumers in 2022 are looking to spend their hard-earned cash elsewhere. After getting their fill of commodities during two years of lockdowns, people now want to purchase services and experiences. To boot, inflation for consumer goods skyrocketed by 10.7% YoY in December 2021, while the increase for services was far less drastic, at 3.7%. The result? A travel supercycle that is set to sweep through 2022.
“All the indications are that it will be a big year for travel,” Visa Chief Financial Officer Vasant Prabhu tells The Wall Street Journal. “We see the shift to services continuing to gather momentum.” With spring and summer travel bookings right around the corner – and in many cases, already well underway – guests are pouncing on tropical spring breaks, summertime European tours, and domestic beach vacations galore. The time is now for hotels to seize the supercycle.
According to Skift, “branded hotels [are] notably taking back control of their distribution,” giving OTAs a run for their money as hotels maintain pricing power in tandem with consumers’ increasing desire to spend on travel. Hotels’ average daily rates have recovered by almost 90%, and OTAs cannot keep up with the preferential prices direct bookings have offered as of late. The aim for hotels should now be to double down on their toolkits to keep direct bookings rolling in, even as the initial travel supercycle boom evens out over time.
The first step is ensuring their own website offers guests the most fluid booking experience possible. If any hiccups arise, whether in the form of a redirect to an external booking template or a lengthy personal information page that needs to be filled out, the hotel is at risk of losing their guests to an OTA. In these instances, the potential customer might even happen upon a competitor they would rather book at a better price, causing the hotel to lose the booking in its entirety. Keeping guests within a hotel’s brand world – which entails ensuring they stay on the website – requires a booking experience that simultaneously never redirects consumers and maintains an on-brand experience all the way through checkout.
With Selfbook, hotels can provide their guests with a seamless, on-brand booking flow that never guides them anywhere but to a one-click checkout experience right on their own website. By integrating Selfbook with their existing booking engine, hotels are also given the opportunity to offer their guests their preferred modern payment methods, whether Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, or Buy Now, Pay Later. Additionally, with guests willing to spend more than ever on travel, hotels can increase their average order value by offering upgrades and add-ons, such as spa services and in-room amenities, which consumers can intuitively include in their booking right on the room detail page.
As Skift’s Dennis Schaal says, “As online travel agencies try to regain their profit momentum, hotels won’t sit idly by in the contest for traveler eyeballs.”
By partnering with Selfbook, hotels will gain the right tools to ensure they never have to by taking back the power of direct bookings.
By Haley Crawford