A new trade accommodation supplier launched this week promising to help agents be more competitive by giving them the best prices and availability in the market.
Fastpayhotels has been set up by Alex Gisbert, former chief operating officer at Lowcost Travel Group.
He claims dispensing with the fixed-rate contracts that traditional suppliers distribute means it can offer prices and availability to match, or even beat, the big global OTAs.
The Majorca-based supplier, which has “multimillion-euro” backing from Spanish investors, will pass money to hotels and pay agent commission within 24 hours.
Prices are non-refundable, pre-paid rates that Gisbert said consumers used to buying budget flights and OTA room nights were increasingly comfortable with.
“Our formula is what low-cost carriers did to traditional airlines where you pay upfront and can’t cancel or modify,” said Gisbert. “It’s online, super simple and a hell of a lot cheaper.
“The challenge is how to move the model to give travel agents the upper hand.”
Fastpayhotels has launched with 2,000 beach and city hotels and says this will rise to 6,000 in Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America by the summer.
Gisbert said hoteliers offer aggressive early prices for upfront payment and won’t put agents on stop-sell when demand pushes prices above contracted rates.
This is expected to be a particular issue for the trade this year in popular western Mediterranean destinations like Spain and Portugal which are filling up fast.
“The better you treat the hotel, the better your pricing and availability is going to be,” Gisbert said.
No cancellations or amendments will enable Fastpayhotels to run a slick operation, he added. Gisbert has recruited seven staff and expects this to increase to about 20.
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