Google will change revenue management, Metasearch and the big OTAs, what should we innovate next and more
Metasearch and the dangers of a duopoly
The recent story of Priceline deciding to cut back on advertising on Trivago is an interesting look at what it means to have a duopoly in the online travel industry. As one of the major players pulls out, the second will probably follow suit shortly after, and there goes an entire business model. In a conversation with a metasearch company executives a few years ago, we discussed these dangers. The executive was convinced that this would never happen because if one pulled out, the other will be raking in all the revenue therefore they would never pull out. We never quite agreed on that point. The bottom line is we need more major players in travel distribution. And maybe metasearch providers need to consider adding more value to users and advertisers.
A critical view on hotel tech startups
In hotel technology most startups seek consumer level applications and solutions. It makes much more business sense when one can target a market of hundreds of millions rather than hundreds of thousands. Hence we get a glut of trip planning applications as one of the last sections of travel tech innovation. But as this panel from Phocuswire correctly points out, we need to address core back of house technology issues. In fact I believe that once we have solved the much less sexy innovations hotel PMS, payroll, productivity, human resources, housekeeping etc we'll finally get an infrastructure where guest level technology can take a whole new golden age, but that takes a lot of investments and hard work in much riskier, more political and harder to scale territories.
What if hotels were more than a place to sleep?
Sebastien Bazin's view on hotels is pretty clear, it needs to be re-thought. And one idea is to expand hotels from being a place to sleep, to a local hub. The idea is pretty interesting and makes business sense. All the space in hotels being empty for most of the time, while there are 24h shifts. In fact it's probably the only business (in many countries) that is open all the time. There will be some social issues and habits to over-come, will guests appreciate the random people coming in to pick up their dry-cleaning and so forth. Hotels are after all meant to be a "sanctuary" to relax. But we can think up a ton of reasons why it will or will not work, the only way to know is try. And if it works, it's a great move that could help the entire industry.
Google will help change revenue management
At PhocusWright Oliver Heckman, Google's VP of Travel & Shopping announced a few things that they're doing to improve travel according to their view. One of which is their new Google Hotels application. While it will inevitably offer more functions and most probably booking functionality (hopefully it will work for them better than it has for others) what it will do is change revenue management. With their built in artificial intelligence indicating if the rates will drop and alerting when they do, things will get a little more complex in the revenue management space. And that's probably a good thing for hotels and guests.