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Survey on Hotel Distribution Highlights Growing Cross-Sell Opportunities for Agents

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Findings from Amadeus second Asia Pacific hotel distribution survey highlights how cross-selling add-on services are key to ensuring travel agents attract and retain customers who are pre-booking hotel rooms.

The survey found that airport transfers and sightseeing tours represent the biggest cross-selling opportunities, with travel agents increasingly offering to help travellers rent cars, purchase concert tickets, make dinner reservations, and even buy metro passes.

The purpose of the survey was to examine travel agents and travellers perspectives on the hotel selection and booking process. The comprehensive hotel distribution survey is the largest ever conducted by Amadeus in Asia Pacific and examined the views of more than 1,047 travel agents across nine countries in the region: Australia, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand.

Key findings include:

Travel agents consider ease of booking and commission guarantees as the most important criteria when selecting a channel to book hotels.

This represents a shift in priorities from a 2010 Amadeus hotel survey where the amount of commission was considered top priority for travel agents. Post-sales support on booking modifications is also a key factor, ranking as the third most important criteria when selecting a hotel booking channel. This is in line with travel agents needs when selecting hotels to offer travellers, with guarantee of commissions and post-sales support ranking as the most critical factors. These findings clearly demonstrate a deeper understanding and maturity across travel agencies driving hotel booking volumes.

Hotel reviews by travellers overtake brand power.

A significant change is evident in the factors influencing the traveller. In comparison to 2010, these findings show a marked decrease in pure brand influence which has been overtaken by user reviews. 70 percent of travellers check hotel reviews prior to choosing a hotel. This is acknowledged by travel agents who listed additional content like hotel reviews as being a top five must-have feature in a perfect hotel booking solution.

Travel agents continue to face competition from consumer websites.

Overall, travel agents have experienced a gradual decrease in the degree of influence that they have on a travellers final choice of hotel, with only one in three (32%) travel agents responding that customers heed their hotel recommendations without question, compared to one in two (51%) from 2010. Travel agents advice remains relevant but customers increasingly tend to compare agent offers with options from consumer websites and reviews. The survey found that 62% of travel agents responded that travellers conduct price comparisons compared to 48% in 2010. Travel agents can influence travellers choice of hotel by offering a better deal and prepaid vouchers.

 Travel agents today need to respond to changing consumer preferences by providing a one-stop service to travellers, particularly given the rising demand for ancillary options when travellers book their hotels, said Mr. Kartikeya Tripathi, Regional Director, Hotel Distribution, Amadeus, Asia Pacific. Our survey shows that travel agents prefer hotel booking channels that help maximise revenue and offer the flexibility of real-time access to availability and rates, to ensure the most seamless booking experience. The ability to cross reference multiple price options and complement the same with reviews, the ability to pre-pay are a must have. There is a need to look beyond basic requirements and address the evolving needs of travel agents.

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