OTA hotel rates up for corporate grab

OTA hotel rates up for corporate grab

New Zealand-based tech firm Serko has become the first to enable Australian businesses to compare and book hotel rooms via Expedia, Wotif and Booking.com, in addition to accessing GDS fares.

The feature on Serko Online will allow corporates to tap into more than 122,000 properties across Australasia, and 1 million globally, to easily compare and book the “Best Rate of the Day”, enabling companies to save around 20% with online travel agent (OTA) rates up to 15-20% cheaper than GDS rates.

Speaking to Travel Weekly in Sydney yesterday, Serko chief executive and co-founder Darrin Grafton said the company’s ethos was to “make stuff happen” a mindset which is expected to see the company snare a market share of 50% by the end of 2016 in its full, or white labelled form. Existing clients include Flight Centre and CTM. Darrin Grafton

With the “Best Rate of the Day” product line joining forces with two of the largest hotel room aggregators, Grafton said “we are disrupting the disruptor; aggregating the aggregator”.

The tool will also include a fleet of other Serko-enabled functions such as company policy overlay which would restrict corporates from booking hotels outside certain set parameters.

“We want to keep it nice and simple. Australia is unique to the world where 80% of the corporates book through travel bookers,” Grafton said.

“Companies need to know where their employees are staying, but they started to feel they weren’t getting the best rate, and there was also a risk of overspending.”

Grafton said the company launched the new tool after noticing a bleed in hotel bookings being made “offline”, despite 7 million nights being transacted via Serko Online.

“The GDS model was starting to fragment, and 50% of bookings that required hotel stays were not being transacted on Serko Online,” Grafton said.

“A competitive hotel marketplace will offer more value for businesses. Best Rate of The Day can avoid the need for travel bookers to go “offline” to book hotels. The whole trip can be booked in Serko Online giving businesses visibility of where their staff are staying.”

Grafton said: “Our aim is to bring the everyday competitive rates of the internet to the corporate travel sector, and this means maximising all the data available to us.”

“We make business travel personal, and eventually we want to get to your (corporates’) leisure spend.”

Image credit: iStock

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