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[Travel News]: Hotels want to capitalize on the direct trend – but for how long?

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The following is the [Travel News]: Hotels want to capitalize on the direct trend – but for how long? from [Phocuswire] recommended by TheTourAttraction.com:

OTAs are already working to erode any competitive advantage built up by the hotel chains.

Large hotel chains are looking to make hay while the sun shines when it comes to attracting bookings via direct channels.

For several reasons, from loyalty membership to the latest information on hygiene protocols, many consumers have gone down the direct route over the course of the pandemic.

The most recent earnings calls from Accor, Hilton, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Marriott International contain overt references to direct channels or at least hints of encouraging the trend.

In its fourth quarter, 2020 earnings call, Accor chairman and CEO Sebastian Bazin described the company’s loyalty program Accor Live Limitless (ALL) as the best tool in the armoury to fight the online travel agencies.

He said the company had managed to protect its direct clientele in 2018 and 2019 and that the strategy going forward would be to continue boosting its lifestyle offering and working hard to retain existing customers.

Bazin said while Booking.com and Expedia would spend billions on keywords to acquire customers, Accor did not have the same “amount of wealth.”

Marriott is also very keen to leverage its “digital direct channels” and its relaunched Bonvoy app, in particular.

Keith Barr, IHG’s CEO, said that while OTA business was down year-on-year that might be a “false read.”

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