When Lowcost Travel Group boss Paul Evans declared at last month’s Barclays Travel Forum that he was more interested in selling hotels than flights, he spoke for many.
With an estimated 500,000 properties in the world, selling room nights is a far more compelling proposition than the commoditised mode of transport to get you there.
Evans said the fragmented nature of the sector offered more opportunities – something particularly true of the Mediterranean, where beach properties tend not to be part of global chains.
This is something the industry’s big two understand well, in particular Tui’s Thomson and First Choice brands, which have seen significant success with their exclusive product ranges.
Huge corporations like Tui and Thomas Cook can use their clout to mould the hotel offering to their requirements, making it easier to sell and ensuring consistency of delivery.
But for smaller agents and operators, opportunities still abound for those who demonstrate in-depth knowledge.
Discerning Collection’s Nick Wrightman told me at the ITT Conference last week how all the hotels in his range are sold on an individual room basis, while Bookable’s Jason Dwyer told me he longed for the day when he could sell specific hotel rooms, enabling him to give customers the service they want.
The technology isn’t there yet, but the race is on. Check out Room77.com, which claims to have millions of rooms digitally mapped.
However, there will never be anything as powerful as a personal recommendation from a trusted expert who has seen a hotel firsthand. And that’s where you come in.
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