When making a hotel booking, commissions have always been a key decision factor for a travel agent. It’s logical, that’s their business model and one way to source revenue. However, although commissions remain a top priority, our recent Asia Pacific hotel distribution survey shows travel agents’ needs have evolved….
This year’s hotel survey – the largest ever conducted by Amadeus – examined travel agents’ and travellers’ perspectives on the hotel selection and booking process – drawing information from the views of more than 1,000 travel agents across nine countries including Australia, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand.
Findings from the survey highlighted that travel agents consider a simple booking process one of the most important criteria when booking a hotel. Travel agents also prefer hotel booking channels that help maximise revenue and offer the flexibility of real-time access to rates ensuring the most seamless booking experience.
Today’s travel agent needs to respond to changing consumer preferences by providing a one-stop service to travellers, particularly given the rising demand for ancillary options when travellers book their hotels. This translates to providing travellers with rich information beyond the traditional rate and availability, assisting travellers in making an informed choice best suited to their needs.
Our study also provided intriguing insight into how cross-selling add-on services are key to ensuring travel agents attract and retain customers who are pre-booking hotel rooms. Airport transfers and sightseeing tours represent the biggest cross-selling opportunities, with travel agents increasingly offering to help travellers rent cars, purchase concert tickets, make dinner reservations, and even buy metro passes. Nowadays, travel agents need to do more than book a bed for the night, by assisting with the booking of other elements of a trip.
Additionally, the survey revealed that hotel reviews by travellers have overtaken brand power. In comparison to 2010, these findings show a marked decrease in pure brand influence which has been overtaken by user reviews with 70% of travellers checking reviews prior to choosing a hotel. With increased use of social media and other online travel resources, travellers are armed with a great deal more information than before, hence the decline in brand power.
Overall, travel agents have also experienced a gradual decrease in the degree of influence that they have on a traveller’s final choice of hotel, with only one in three (32%) travel agents responding that customers heed their hotel recommendations without question, compared to one in two (51%) from 2010.
So what is Amadeus doing to cater to the needs of travel agents in Asia Pacific? Well, we’ve just launched Amadeus Hotels Plus (Multisource), a one-stop-shop search platform integrating Amadeus’ GDS hotel properties with content from leading hotel aggregators to allow Amadeus travel agents to search and book hotel content from multiple sources in a single screen. This allows travel agents to offer a wider variety of options to their customers.
Currently, Amadeus Hotels Plus (Multisource) is available in India, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and will be introduced in other Asia Pacific markets in the coming months.