Direct now cheaper than agencies for majority of hotel searches

Maybe the regulatory restrictions are starting to get through, or something else – data-crunching has shown that 53% of rates are now cheaper on hotel websites than intermediaries.

Checks on over 200 million price comparisons between supplier-direct and intermediaries for hotels around the world has found the hotel website is starting to turn things around, at least in terms of displayed rates.

There is no indication in the analysis from Triptease as to how many hotel guests are actually noticing the trend and, therefore, altering their booking behaviour.

But it does show that the so-called rate parity issue is possibly having an impact, as regulators impose restrictions on clauses which in some cases until now have barred a hotel from displaying a lower rate than on an OTA partner.

OTAs in this case are inevitably going to be Expedia or, the pair of which are collectively predicted to be taking four out of five bookings via intermediaries in Europe.

Equally, it could also mean that OTAs have decided that their own customer volumes are so high that losing a little ground back to the supplier is not worth getting troubled over.

Still, data over the last nine months shows that OTAs have been under-cutting hotels less frequently than in the past, at just 14% of the 200 million price comparisons (down from 21%).

Rate parity is maintained, Triptease says from the analysis, on 32% of occasions (up from 27%).

The company points out that when OTAs are cheaper than a hotel’s website the difference is by $1 or £1, which is often due to currency exchange rates.

In late-2015, Triptease ran into a spot of bother after the Priceline Group-owned threatened hotels using Triptease’s widget (a system that shows comparable rates from OTAs and direct).

NB: Hotel booking laptop image via BigStock.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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  1. Chris Moreno

    As a small bed and breakfast owner I beg guest to book direct, the OTA’s are killing us with their 15% fees. Plus dealing with AirBnB just complicates the fact the cheaper rentals are out there; in the state of Virginia it has yet to be mandated that taxes be paid on booking.Hopefully that will be corrected soon.

  2. Evan Davies

    How long until the public starts to wake up and realise OTA isn’t always the “cheapest” place to book?

    • Charlie Osmond

      Hi Evan,
      Great question. I suspect it will take 2-3 years.

      If the big chains (and now the smaller groups too) are clearly showing better prices or other incentives for booking direct on their website, then the message will start to get through.

      Clearly there are contractural restrictions in certain parts of the world that limit hotels’ ability to offer better direct, but there’s a growing body of evidence* that just ‘proving’ parity is all most hotels need to do to win the majority of online bookings on the direct channel.
      [*see Koddi and Skyscanner].

  3. JB Pieri

    Hi Kevin,
    Where the data released by Triptease you mentioned can be found? I saw nothing recent on their website, neither their blog.
    In advance, many thanks,

    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @JB – Triptease hasn’t released it elsewhere or posted on its own site… Just on Tnooz so far:

      • JB Pieri

        Many thanks Kevin! Feel free to contact me if you need some insight about news on the French hospitality. I am the President of the Digital economy task force at Synhorcat and GNI, the sole French hospitality association for independent hotels, cafes and restaurants. Warm regards and keep up the excellent work 😀.

    • Charlie Osmond

      Hi JB
      Feel free to email me: charlie[at] and I’ll give you what I can. Sorry not to have anything up last week, I was away

      • JB Pieri

        Thanks Charlie, will do this next week. I would love to exchange and other topics as well, as I am the President of the Digital economy task force at Synhorcat and GNI, the sole French hospitality association for independent hotels, cafes and restaurants. Warm regards.


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