It is no surprise that many potential guests base their travel bookings on price alone.  In this highly competitive marketplace, price can be a true differentiator, but it can also cause friction for hoteliers who are looking to enhance their brands with new innovations.

For example, with the rise of mobility, there has been an increase in mobile apps that are geared towards providing last-minute bookings at the right price.  Of course, these mobile apps help hoteliers fill rooms that may be vacant, but it could also contribute to compromising a hotel’s brand.

Most forward-thinking hospitality providers know that these mobile apps and other online travel agencies (OTA) fill a major void when it comes to helping with guest lead generation.  However, the challenge is that many OTAs and mobile apps have the potential to erode a hotelier’s profit margins and one cannot rely on price as the dominating factor for the brand.

“Hoteliers struggle to find a balance between selling on price and differentiating the brand based on key innovations,” said Tobias Bray, Innovation Strategist at NetLink Resource Group. “The key is being able to create brand loyalty that will last even if a hotel is not the most cost-effective option available on the web or on a mobile app.”

As we have highlighted before, it is all too easy for hoteliers to fall into the trap of viewing guests and customers as being ‘transactions.’  We believe that the world of data that is available at any hotelier’s fingertips provides unique ways for influencing potential guests in ways that extend way beyond price alone.

Selling on price certainly works when developing last minute deals in partnership with OTAs and new mobile apps.  Filling up surplus rooms at any given time is a good thing.  Though by focusing on price alone, many hoteliers are missing out on the opportunity to establish long-term brand loyalty that will supersede price – and innovation can be the driver of this effort.