A turning point?

John Wagner George Sell Uploaded

The mainstream media coverage surrounding the UK Competition and Markets Authority's decision to investigate OTAs has singularly failed to mention serviced apartments, but there is the possibility of a real boost for apartment operators, particularly the smaller independent ones, if the CMA decides to get tough on the practices it says it is concerned about.

Probably the most relevant issue is that of whether OTA rankings - which are presented as being based on search preferences - are actually linked to the amount of commission that an OTA receives from a hotel or apartment operator. If this proves to be the case, then it means the smaller operators are at the lower end of a distinctly unlevel playing field.

There is also the possibility that the OTAs' reputation will be damaged to the extended that some travellers, keen to avoid perceived hidden charges and misleading rankings, will make the effort to book their accommodation directly with the provider - music to the ears of revenue managers across the land!

The serviced apartment industry should watch the investigation closely, and if the OTAs' reputations are tarnished, perhaps it could be the right time to launch a generic sector marketing campaign, highlighting the advantages of the product and inviting consumers to book direct.


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