Consumers will in many cases get a much better deal by booking hotels through online travel agents rather than direct with the property, according to Asian online veteran Craig Hewett.
“Online rate parity, especially in Asia, is a myth,” said Hewett, co-founder of Wego, a meta-search site.
“In many cases sites such as booking.com and Expedia have better rates than those advertised on the hotel website as they rely on the OTA to bring in their bookings.
“OTAs live and breathe the internet; their entire business is online so they’re smart and creative in their merchandising and discounting methods, sometimes using their own commission as a discount mechanism to stay ahead of their competitors.”
Hewett said a major reason better deals can often be found at online travel agents in Asia is because up to 70% of hotels are independent and use OTAs as their default distribution and booking channel.
“In many cases they don’t have efficient online booking systems to power their websites, nor the resources to manage fluctuating pricing, but instead need to focus on the huge task of managing hotel operations.”
Global chains have much better control over their inventory and pricing, he said.