KPMG Analyst Says Hotels Need to Undercut Intermediaries

The new figures from the fourth annual KPMG
Hotel Distribution survey reveals that only 27% of hotels offer a consistent price to business customers whether they call the hotel direct, call a central reservation system or book via the hotel website. This compares with 45% of hotels surveyed last year. According to Nick Pattie, author of the survey, price integrity and greater transparency across all booking channels will be a key issue for the hotel sector to address as the internet continues to attract more bookings online.

From 1999, KPMG has monitored the development of online bookings and pricing across various booking channels, including this year for the first time, online intermediaries. Hotels recognise the value of the internet with 92% of hotel branded sites being listed in the top 5 links using a search engine, and the same number conforming to the “three-click” rule, i.e. a customer should be able to find the information on a website within three clicks. This compares with 67% of online intermediaries conforming to the “three click” rule.

Larger branded sites encourage customers to register and provide information prior to making a booking. This implies hotels recognise the online channel as an effective way of capturing information for customer relationship management (CRM) purposes. The content on hotel branded sites is broadly more superior to online intermediaries.

Eighty per cent of hotel websites surveyed facilitate end-to-end booking and cancellation. Of the 20% that did not facilitate booking online, they were able to check availability and rates by completing an email request form. Sixty percent of cases received a response within 2 hours of sending an email. However, there was no response in 40% of cases, even after sending three reminders.