The travel industry is changing faster than ever. It seems like every week there is a new buyout, partnership or startup that is changing the way guests shop for hotels. This week is no different with some interesting news from Hipmunk and TripAdvisor.
Hipmunk is another meta search engine growing in popularity. Recent partnerships with
Yahoo Travel and Yelp have made them a much more influential player in the OTA space. Even though their business still flows through traditional OTA channels like Expedia and Booking.com, Hipmunk is a much larger threat to hoteliers than other meta search sites. Along with aggregating hotels prices, Hipmunk is also including AirBnB listings into the mix. Guests who haven’t taken part in the Sharing Economy site will now be presented with short term rentals along with hotel prices. This exposure will inevitably take more bookings away from hotels. Hipmunk may be the first, but as sites like AirBnB continue to grow in popularity, it is only a matter of time before they are found on other sites.
Another change in the way guests shop for accommodations comes from TripAdvisor. Recently they have introduced “Just for You” recommendations that will be custom tailor a hotel selection based on a traveler’s search history and TripAdvisor usage. This system will read a guest’s computer cookies to determine browsing habits and narrow down hotel choices. The more a guest uses TripAdvisor the better this choice will become. With this system in place hoteliers need to make sure their profiles are filled out completely and as detailed as possible.
With short term rentals appearing next to hotels and guest search history affecting hotel selection, hoteliers will need to redefine certain aspects of their business. Revenue Managers take note, your direct competition is no longer just the hotels down the street, but now can be any vacant condo in your area.