Travellers now prefer online reviews in choosing hotels
Donnabelle L. Gatdula (The Philippine Star) - May 29, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Travel agencies are now hard-pressed to dangle add-on services to attract more hotel bookings as travelers are now no longer rely on brand names in choosing accommodations, an Asia Pacific hotel distribution survey showed.

The comprehensive hotel distribution survey, the widest of its kind conducted by global travel solutions firm Amadeus in Asia Pacific, examined the views of travel agencies in the Philippines and eight other countries: Australia, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Taiwan and Thailand.

Examining travel agencies and travelers’ perspectives on the hotel selection and booking process, the survey showed that travelers are being swayed more by online reviews than hotel brands.

“Seventy percent of travelers check hotel reviews prior to choosing a hotel. This is acknowledged by travel agencies which listed additional content like hotel reviews as being a top five must-have feature in a perfect hotel booking solution,” the Amadeus-commissioned study said.

Other critical findings of the survey indicated that travel agencies are seeing a gradual decrease in the degree of influence they have on travelers’ final choice of hotel, with only 32 percent stating that customers heeded their hotel recommendations without question as compared to 51 percent three years ago.

The study added that 62 percent of travel agencies, have noted that clients are now increasingly comparing their packages with options from consumer websites and reviews.

Still, Amadeus believes that travel agencies can influence travelers’ choice of hotel by offering a better deal and prepaid vouchers.

“Travel agencies need to respond to changing consumer preferences by providing a one-stop service to travelers, particularly given the rising demand for ancillary options when travelers book their hotels,” the survey said.

It added that cross-selling add-on services is key to ensuring travel agencies attract and retain customers who are pre-booking hotel rooms.

“The survey found that airport transfers and sightseeing tours represent the biggest cross-selling opportunities, with travel agencies increasingly offering to help travelers rent cars, purchase concert tickets, make dinner reservations, and even buy metro passes,” Amadeus noted.

To cater to the changing needs of travelers, Amadeus launched its Amadeus Hotels Plus, a one-stop-shop search platform integrating Amadeus’ GDS hotel properties with content from leading hotel aggregators to allow travel agencies to search and book hotel content from multiple sources in a single screen.

Amadeus Hotels Plus is now available in China, Hong Kong, India, and Malaysia and will be introduced in the Philippines.

AGENCIES AMADEUS AMADEUS HOTELS PLUS ASIA PACIFIC HONG KONG HOTEL NEW ZEALAND TAIWAN AND THAILAND TRAVEL TRAVELERS
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