I read an interesting story today from Tnooz on last-minute mobile bookings and the challenges and opportunities hoteliers and revenue managers face from these new applications.
Mobile apps like HotelTonight allow consumers to look for and book last-minute deals. Hotels, if they so choose, can offer at lower prices inventory that otherwise wouldn’t be rented.
The opportunity for hotels is this emerging channel offers another outlet to sell rooms in a new place where consumers are frequently shopping. The danger, of course, is that by unloading last-minute inventory for lower prices hoteliers will be training consumers to wait for the best deals. It goes contrary to traditional yield management strategies that entice guests to book early for the best prices.
The airline industry is often cited as the master of classic yield management, where ticket prices are almost always higher the longer you wait to book. While these mobile channels are still in the infancy stages, hoteliers need to make sure they don’t create another monster. Most hoteliers today would admit the overreliance on online travel agencies a decade ago helped train consumers to believe the best deals were online. That’s mostly not the case anymore, but try telling that to consumers.
The way you handle these mobile channels today will affect the way people shop tomorrow.