OTAs have begun offering loyalty rewards hoping that additional incentives will keep travelers from straying to other booking sites. Hotels have employed this incentive for a long time and hoteliers worry that programs like Expedia Rewards and Orbitz Rewards will continue to encourage travelers to make third-party bookings.
Online travel agencies target consumers looking to rack up and redeem points more quickly than they would through a hotel program, said Expedia CMO and Senior Vice President of Global Marketing David Doctorow. OTA program members can earn rewards by booking stays at eligible hotels, regardless of the brand they choose — allowing for increased earning potential. “There are more ways to get to a reward faster,” he explained.
For hotels it gets even worse; Orbitz recently announced a credit card partnership with Visa that enables members to receive an 8 percent return per dollar spent on hotel bookings and a 6 percent return on airfare bookings and package deals purchased through Orbitz.com with the Orbitz Visa card.
Have to say that pretty good for travellers, but where will this leave hotel brands, can they compete? What do you think?