The Burden of Booking Platforms
Hospitality is one of the oldest existing industries, and it has been functioning almost the same way for centuries. A simple signboard was replaced by yellow pages, then by a basic website, but the hotel manager has always been in contact with the customer, without any intermediary.
At the beginning of the Web 2.0 era, platforms entered the scene. Convenient for both hotels and customers, they provided aggregated information on all the available offers in the area and allowed you to book a room in just a few clicks, and then to rate your travel experience.
On the downside, some of them became quasi-monopolies and introduced quite steep commissions of up to 20%, which considerably affected hotels margins and often made them increase their prices. Hotels had no choice but to comply with the rules imposed by these booking monopolists and became dependent on them.
Channel Managers As a Temporary Solution
Naturally, hotels have been looking for some platform diversification, but they quickly realized that publishing and constantly updating their offers on several platforms consumes too many resources. The market had to react to this pain, and some agencies started offering platform-relations services. These so-called channel managers took some burden off the shoulders of the hotel staff and became a convenient access point to hotels for platforms themselves.
On the positive side, the balance of power started shifting from platforms to channel managers; it also provoked a slight decrease of platform commission level. However, when channel managers become popular, they start working less proactively and require more efforts and expenses from platforms: to collaborate with them, platforms shall now pass a certification and pay an important connection fee, connect to some custom APIs, etc. As a consequence, channel managers usually collaborate only with selected platforms, and hotels in their turn have to work with several different channel managers.
The Web 3.0 Breakthrough
The next step is urgently needed and we believe that the Web 3.0 Data Space is capable of bringing the ultimate solution. Post-Platforms allow hotels to update all the information just once, via their favorite software solution, and to get it published instantly on hundreds of platforms, with no intermediary.
Basically, we offer the same thing as channel managers, but with absolutely no limits in terms of number of connected platforms and with a single standardized protocol instead of numerous complicated APIs.
How is it possible?
The same POD can be used for ERP and CRM data, for booking management, access/room key management, and even in order to collect ratings and reviews from all platforms at once. This feedback collection is especially important since it allows to calculate a consolidated and verifiable rating of your hotel, its e-Karma. Besides attracting new clients, your e-Karma is able to directly influence the hotel relations with its suppliers and contractors, giving them more trust and allowing you to negotiate more beneficial conditions.
And since all the data on PODs is stored in the machine-readable Linked Data format, it opens unprecedented opportunities for data analysis and AI, when new platforms are able to suggest ideal hotels based on thousands of parameters, from wall paint colour to TV screen size.
But what about the platforms’ 20% commission, how does the Web 3.0 Data Space solve this issue?
With no vendor lock-in and with the most recent data available at source to everyone, the booking platform market will go through some truly drastic transformation, with hundreds of new players launching their solutions. These new platforms will get access to every hotel with no extra cost, and can instantly become as data-rich as the established aggregators. Even if such a change won’t eliminate commissions once and for all, it will considerably reduce them, allowing hotels to become more profitable and efficient.