LONDON – Fornova, a leading provider of distribution intelligence and automation solutions for hotels, have released their 2nd edition of Worldwide Distribution Trends for Meta Search Engines, for Q3 2018. The report analyses and highlights key trends that are impacting hotels on Meta Search Engines, and a new battle brewing between contracted and non-contracted OTAs.
In November 2017, Phocuswright reported nearly a one-third increase in travellers in United States using MSEs to find flights and hotels online compared to 2016. MSEs have lowered the barrier-to-entry for many small and regional OTAs. Many such OTAs will source inventory indirectly – typically from wholesalers. We refer to such OTAs as non-contracted OTAs.
The key findings in the report revealed that hotels’ contracted OTAs were undercut by non-contracted OTAs on Meta Search Engines in nearly one in five shops. This is worse for hotels in Asia-Pacific in Europe, where non-contracted OTAs presented cheaper rates than hotels’ contracted partners in nearly 25% of all shops – indicating a different battle brewing in MSEs beyond just the battle for direct bookings.
Dori Stein, CEO at Fornova, said, “Meta Search Engines have long been viewed as the battleground for direct bookings and our Q3 analysis reveals a new story.” He continued, “Hotels can no longer ignore MSEs, even if they are not participating directly. When their contracted OTAs are being undercut by other non-contracted OTAs, it can deeply impact the hotels partner relations and yield from that channel.”
India Point of Sale (PoS) reported the worst performance for contracted OTAs, who were being undercut by non-contracted OTAs in nearly every other shop. The full report provides breakdown by key PoS as well as how hotels based in different regions compared during Q3.
“Most leading OTAs are regularly monitoring activity on Meta Search Engines. When they find that they are not getting the best rates, it means they are not able to deliver the best value to their audience, and they take this very seriously” said Nir Dupler, Chief Revenue Officer at Fornova, “MSE is critical for hotels pursuing direct bookings. But now we can see that hotels can not ignore MSE even if they choose a partner-led strategy. It is critical to monitor and ensure that all partners – contracted OTAs and wholesalers – are acting in good faith to ensure their distribution remains aligned with their strategy.”
In both Q2 and Q3 2018, hotels based in North America consistently outperformed in all areas compared to hotels based in other regions. The Q3 report is based on data gathered from monitoring 20,000 properties worldwide and 30 million shops performed on five leading MSEs. The detailed report which contains trends, analysis of contracted and uncontracted OTAs including PoS highlights and breakdown by region is available from Fornova as a free download.
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