Today’s traveler is very focused on fast and easy.
Google and Expedia have replaced the travel agent and the 800-number. The smart phone has replaced the computer.
Today many travelers on the run google a hotel in a specific area. They are presented not only name brand like Hilton and Marriott but also independent hotels. They look at the pictures. They look at the price. They look at the value. They want to book a reservation very simply. They don’t want to take the extra time to get their credit card entered. They do not want any hassle.
They don’t want to worry if their plans change; the flights canceled; if they forgot and get charged for an expensive hotel room. They want a smooth hassle free reservation experience for their hotel room just like their rent-a-car.
The bottom line is that for hotels just like car rentals 4 p.m. hold makes a lot of sense from the standpoint of the guest. But what about the standpoint of the hotel? If the hotel takes 4 p.m. holds are they going to end up with no-shows and vacant rooms? The answer by and large is both the hotel and the guest wins with a no hassle 4 pm. reservation.
By and large if the times are busy, the hotel can typically re-rent to a walk-in. Walk-ins typically are more profitable to the hotel because they don’t have a large Expedia online Travel Agent (OTA) type 28% commission attached.
During the shoulder season and low season it does not cost the hotel operator anything to accept the 4 p.m. hold because even if the person does not show, the hotel would likely go down with vacant rooms that night anyway.
But if there’s nothing really to be gained why should the hotel take 4 p.m. holds? The answer is there’s a lot for the hotel to be gained since the number reservations that the hotel could receive could double or more because of the ease and simplicity to the guest. If the number of reservations from mobile devices doubles and 15% of those do not show, then the hotel is still 85% ahead of the game.
The bottom line is if the travel industry makes it easy for the travelers of today with their mobile devices to make a reservation more reservations is the result. And if you 85% of these reservations stick, everyone – hotels and travelers win.– By James Wirth