The utopian situation is having 100% of reservations winging their way to hotels commission free. The reality is that only exceptionally unique jaw hitting the deck establishments come close to order nirvana. In their case, exclusivity breeds thoroughbred direct channels. Out of this world gadgets and gizmos, coupled with world class designs unite and heighten the trust for Guests to part with their 16s, MM/YYs and CSVs right there, right then, without a second thought of straying to one of the big boys to confirm their stay.
Having said that, the work I have done with our GOLD members drives direct reservations greatly. In fact, they are - in no uncertain terms - mowed out. Some may say that there is a conflict of interest in my consultancy process advising on direct sales, when I now have my own travel site where the name of the game is indirect. Yet as far as Little Touches is concerned, there is a very clear formula to how hoteliers should look upon Little Touches Details Club and intermediaries in general:
AQUIRE a new Guest through an OTA once, and once only
NURTURE the new Guest to ensure they view direct as the daddy
That does not mean that I only wish to see Guests once on my travel site. I want them to return time and time again and use us as the premier portal to discover the best places to stay in the UK - a hub with many spokes that passes the baton to hoteliers to go the extra mile to get a place in their new Guests' speed dial.
Observing the massess and doing the opposite
Former Dragons' Den star James Caan lives by the above philosophy. I refuse to give the you know who travel players the publicity, but I have not had to do as much observing as one might think, as they are all largely similar level peggers, bordering on blending into one big samey melting pot. It is time for a shake-up and I hope to set the tempo for the new era of online travel agencies in my own small way.
What makes Little Touches Details Club different ?
- Clear signposting - APPROVED, TRIPLE C and GOLD
Guest is God. Staying, paying Guests have on our site - quite rightly - more power than star ratings decided by inspectors who rock up for a fleeting visit. Disregarding traditional grammar, it is always Guest with a capital G. You have the ability to rate, slate or appreciate: review our members in a short and snappy manner or demonstrate your travel journalistic skills, the choice is yours.
When all our competitors have been going one way, I have marshalled the resources to firmly go the other way. So far, it has been a winning formula, but whether I have cooked up a travel titan is for you to decide, as when it comes to Little Touches Details Club, you are judge, jury and executioner because ultimately Guest is God.