The consolidation of OTA giants has centralised the distribution channels for hotels, which are not only investing heavily in direct bookings but are also looking for new marketing channels. So, which marketing channels have the most potential for growth? How would WeChat Mini Programs, short videos, blockchain and other new technologies change the marketing channels for hoteliers? These were just some of the questions addressed at yesterday’s ITB China Conference session entitled, “The New Dynamics of Hotel Distribution”. One of the panellists, Andrew Hughes, Regional Director Hotel Sourcing of Hotelbeds Group someone who has been involved in travel and hospitality in various roles for over 20 years. We asked Andrew what he thinks of the distribution landscape at the moment.
The distribution landscape is constantly evolving, though now it’s moving at a pace at which few can keep up. There are so many developments, we’d take days to cover them, though two stand out at the moment. Firstly, consolidation is occurring and will continue to occur, largely driven through the desire of hoteliers and B2B clients to leverage partners’ technology to optimize their business. Secondly, there’s increased pressure on intermediaries to demonstrate value in the supply chains, as well as the clear ability to influence clients to preference certain partners over others. It’s also no longer enough to have strong data available, intermediaries and travel companies need to demonstrate the ability to turn the data into commercial outcomes.
What are your thoughts about the initiative by ITB to start the show here in China last year, aiming for the outbound market?
China is such an exciting market, especially seeing the growth of Fully Independent Travellers (FITs) from across the whole country, not just major gateways. ITB is an ideal platform for us to engage suppliers and clients who access this outbound market and forms a part of our extensive range of actions planned for the coming year in China.
Photo: Andrew Hughes – Regional Director Hotel Sourcing, Hotelbeds Group