The importance of technology in tourism and hospitality would occupy pivotal focus center during World Tourism Day (WTD) 2018, providing opportunities for innovation and preparing.
In October 1996, Microsoft launched a product that would forever change the way consumers research, plan and book travel, including hotel stays. The effect on the hotel industry of the founding of that first online travel agency, then called Microsoft Expedia Travel Services, has been both profound and often changing.
“While I would include other intermediaries like Google and TripAdvisor, it’s true the emergence of the OTAs has been one of the most significant things to happen in the hotel industry in the past 20 years,” said Mark Lomanno, partner and senior advisor with Kalibri Labs. “It has completely changed our business model.”
Some hotel executives see the OTAs’ commission structure as an impediment to profitability, but others believe that these intermediaries bring singificance to the industry.
“There certainly are some real pluses and real minuses to the OTAs, but to me the pluses outweigh the minuses,” said Robert Rauch, CEO of San Diego-based management company RAR Hospitality. “For one, they have done a phenomenal job of marketing, and they are so far ahead of (the hotel industry) in terms of technology. They also have a tremendous grasp of what’s coming down the pike in social media marketing, channel management and use of the internet. They understand this space better than any hotelier does.”
Since its launch 20 years ago, Expedia has grown a lot and through acquisitions to become the largest OTA in the industry, followed closely by Priceline Group and Chinese-based Ctrip.
News Source: Travel and Tour World