Hotelbeds MarketHub: Tough trading will require more control over hotel room rates

Hotelbeds MarketHub: Tough trading will require more control over hotel room rates

Carlos Muñoz, managing director of the leading European bed bank, spoke to Lee Hayhurst ahead of this week’s MarketHub in Istanbul

Leading bed bank Hotelbeds says greater control over the distribution of room rates will be demanded by hotels as markets enter a tougher trading environment.

Speaking ahead of its annual European MarketHub in Istanbul, Carlos Muñoz, bebank managing director at Hotelbeds, said data and technology will be key to achieving this.

Following a string of profit warning from the like of Thomas Cook, Ryanair and easyJet, Muñoz said he expected to see increased pressure on travel company margins.

“I think that more difficult times are coming so there will be pressures on margins and there will be consolidation in some segments.

“The way we overcome that will be to use data and technology to make us be much more smart than we have been in the past.

“We need to target customers and make sure we issue the right product to the right consumer. Reinforcing this message will be hotels who are increasingly worried about pricing.

“It’s important that their partners develop the right technology to distribute the right products in the right channels.

“Not all deals will go to all channels because hotels are concerned about that. There’s a need for trust building between partners through action.

“For this you need technology and data to control distribution of rates and to ensure the right rates reach the right customers.”

Hotelbeds’ invitation-only MarketHub will see 300 of the global distribution giant’s top European customers converge on Istanbul for the two-day event themed “Shifting Futures”.

Speakers will include senior executives from event partner AccorHotels, Alibaba, the European Tour Operators Association, Universal, Hard Rock London and JFS Travel & Tourism Business School.

Muñoz said the event will look at key topics in the areas of technology, the complexity of distribution, payments and data.

He said in technology efficiency and cyber-security are becoming increasingly important areas of focus as firms look to build trust between partners and consumers.

“In tough times when margins are under pressure means the most efficient player has a significant advantage,” Muñoz said.

“And across all industries the consumer is becoming increasingly concerned about the use of data. It’s becoming a key factor in reputation and company value.

“Companies that have the size and scale to invest in technology to drive efficiencies in distribution and cybersecurity are the ones that will make it happen.”

Greater complexity in the distribution of hotel rates is being driven by the fact that today everyone is connected but hotels want greater control.

“In this segment you need to be able to work in partnership with hotels to bring them only the right customers,” said Muñoz.

This week’s MarketHub is the first Europe since Hotelbeds completed the integration of GTA and Tourico onto one technology platform.

Muñoz said this has made Hotelbeds “much stronger” and, he claimed, the Majorca-based firm has control of distribution through its market-leading technology and data.

And he said a more diversified global business means it will not be as affected by issues like Brexit which is having a particular impact in its European heartland.

“It looks like something is changing [in the market],” Muñoz said, “but we do not know if this is mainly driven by Brexit or there are other factors.”