This is a really big question. I would love to see the industry really delve into this.  The transition from real world to online has been very fast, and a lot of the “infrastructure” is so much e-duct tape, putty, and last minute jury rigs – all of which should have meant to be temporary so that we can rebuild our online world of distribution based off tried and true methods, as they evolve.  I know our industry is never that pro-active, but maybe we have an opportunity to start learning from where we are losing the most money, and patch those leaks.

This Argophilia post by Phillip Butler starts the conversation: Who is the big bad wolf of hotel marketing?  Simply put, there isn’t just one –  OTA’s, Franchise Fees, Internet Marketing Fees, Booking Engine Fees.  This is one leaky ship.

Here is my response, but I am more interested in what all of you have to say?

Great read. Thank you much. =)

I always thought of the OTA’s as something that filled the gap during the off line to online distribution evolution. They were a stopgap solution. They are now becoming unnecessary, and getting in the way of commerce because they are becoming obsolete, where they used to promote some level of commerce for our industry. Distribution has changed… and their role will phase out. It won’t be in the next 5, maybe 10…. but this will all change. I adore how people revile when you suggest the guy on top won’t be there forever.  The fact is, nothing is forever, and new paradigms unfold.

Another big bad wolf, on top of franchise fees? Ridiculous internet consulting firm charges by hourly consulting model.  Buuteeq is doing some good with simple pricing plans… it makes a lot more sense, and you aren’t nickel and dimed for the internet marketing group’s mistakes or on the job training.

Lastly…. commissions to booking engines. Including the franchise fees, as well… Engines like Synexis get promoted by franchise and flag brands, which then take a cut. It’s incredible how much money is lost to an engine that simply helps facilitate online booking. Eventually, the hotels will realize the money lost can be recouped quickly by building and designing a proprietary engine of your own, off a template, for the hotel to own, outright. That can save 20K – 100K+ a year.  I imagine a management group could justify the development fees to an owner group, based solely off the last 3 years of annual or commissionable fees that the property made to the booking engine company.


Would anyone have any idea how much it would cost for development of a competent template, and simple engine with solid UI – that includes a mobile component? Is that $100k or more?  I know… you can always spend more. =)

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