Speaking at the PhoCusWright European Executive Conference, entrepreneur Andy Phillipps, who’s Active Hotels venture was acquired for £90 million in September 2004, says it is absolutely critical for online travel players to get to know the customer.
Andy warned that travel sites could be in danger of losing valuable customers by not addressing ‘customer feedback’. He commented: “Customers booking on the internet are transacting at an arms length, so it more difficult to find out what they think you are doing right or wrong”.
Andy commented: “Current hotel booking sites have a long way to go - they are just online brochures. The next step is to get customer feedback on what you are doing wrong.” He added: “It’s very important to take risks. If you don’t get things wrong you’re doing something wrong”.
Active Hotels recently appointed Brainbox to allow active hotels to move towards a more customer-centric business model by gaining a greater insight into customer behaviour and needs.
Andy highlighted the benefits of customer reviews, in addition to other interactive features on Active Hotels. He commented: “We are now giving guests questionnaires. We use previous guest feedback to help potential guests make future bookings”.
As well as getting to know the customer, Andy emphasised the importance of the supplier relationship, claiming Active Hotels give hotels full control of their pricing inventory. He commented: “We let hotels do everything they want - it’s a matter of control”.
Andy also revealed that he has his eye on Expedia as a fierce competitor. He commented: “I think Expedia are a very strong force in this industry and we watch them like a hawk”
Active Hotels seems to be on track to achieve its mission - to become recognised as the number one hotel provider in Europe - having recently won the ‘Growth Strategy of the Year’ award at the National Business Awards.