After an agreement with Onlinetravel, which is part of the Destinia Group, at Mirai we are now offering our customers the option to book flights and hotels directly through the hotel’s official website. As such, travellers will be able to purchase both plane tickets and hotel rooms directly through your website, as one combined product.
Thanks to the more than 600 airlines that work with the Onlinetravel platform throughout the world, and with a product that is fully integrated into your website, you’ll be able to compete directly with channels that have traditionally sold package holidays, such as classic tour operators, online agencies like Onthebeach or Edreams, and the almighty Expedia, particularly for the North American and UK markets. It is also a product with a key focus on usability and it has been perfected as a result of the company’s many years of experience in the hotel industry.
You will also have access to another of the pillars of package holiday sales: a call centre service. This can be used for both new bookings and for managing amendments and cancellations, so hotels will no longer need to concern themselves with managing this service.
What benefits does booking a flight+hotel offer?
Currently all customers can only book a room on your website, so they have to arrange the transport themselves, whether they come by car, train, plane or ship. There is a segment of customers that feel more comfortable booking transport and accommodation at the same time, whether it be through a traditional travel agency (wholesale or tour operators) or an online agency, such as Expedia or eDreams.
With the option to book a flight+hotel you can attract those customers who, for whatever reason, prefer to book a package holiday. You will channel them to your own website, achieving both cost savings and loyalty at the same time.
In which kinds of hotels does it make sense to offer flight+hotel directly?
Although it could potentially make sense for all hotels, it is particularly useful for those that work significantly with the following channels:
- Traditional tour operators.
- Online agencies whose main business revolves around package holidays, such as onthebeach.co.uk, travelrepublic.co.uk or cheapcaribbean.com.
- Expedia through their package sales.
What services are offered by the flight+hotel solution from Mirai and Onlinetravel?
The idea is for us to manage the process for you as much as possible.
- We will work with Onlinetravel to help you register your hotels on their platform: registration, rate plans, mapping, etc.
- We will help you to choose the extras (e.g. transfers and excursions) that are best suited to your hotel and that will best complement your flight-hotel offer.
- Onlinetravel will take care of providing the flight+hotel service and will respond to any queries or incidents that may arise. Your customers will also have access to a call center for managing new flight+hotel bookings, as well as any possible cancellations or amendments.
- We will incorporate the option to book a flight+hotel into your website. We can also limit it to a specific market if you like, as often the majority of package sales are concentrated on just a few markets.
- We will configure the tracking in Google Analytics and ensure it is working correctly, so you will have access to a global vision of how your direct sales are performing (only hotel and flight+hotel).
- We will add the flight+hotel sales to our BI module to provide you with the best analytics (markets, prices, rooms, advance dates, etc.) of your total direct sales.
- We will offer advice to help you use flight+hotel sales effectively, to understand it properly and thus achieve the best performance possible. As with sales for just hotel bookings, aside from technology, strategy and pricing is also key.
But why do customers like to book a flight+hotel in one single purchase?
There are several reasons of different types, with the most significant being as follows:
- Exclusive planes and seats: some destinations don’t have many flight options and a good way to get there (sometimes the only way) is through a tour operator that offers exclusive seats on flights. These flights are not sold individually, but only through the flight+hotel option offered by these tour operators. It is without a doubt a high-value offer and not even OTAs have access to these flights. It is important to highlight that no OTAs have their own seats or flights, they always purchase them in real time. As such, the name “online tour operators” is misleading, as they never (or very rarely) take on any risk themselves.
- Convenience: for some customers, buying everything at once is much more convenient. This is particularly true if, in addition to the flight and hotel, they also add extras to their purchase.
- Brand image: leading OTAs like Expedia have a very strong brand image that gives customers the peace of mind of knowing that, should they have any issues, they’ll have access to 24/7 customer service in their own language.
- Price: this is without a doubt the main reason why online package holidays are so popular for certain destinations and hotels. With the classic, and questionable, argument that “flight+hotel sales require lower prices and also increased commission”, hotels give OTAs a competitive advantage to offer cheaper prices than buying separately. Curiously, the discounts offered on package sales are often borne by the hotels, as the flight industry offers very little movement in price, usually just offering the same price that they publish on their own website.
Will the flight+hotel offers and prices from my website appear on any OTA sites?
No. What you add to your website will only be available on your website. This is 100% guaranteed.
Can I offer a flight+hotel option even if I’m an independent hotel?
Yes. All hotels, whether they be independent or chains, can offer this product without issues.
How does the integration work? Where does the end customer make their purchase?
We will incorporate the flight+hotel sales into your website under a subdomain, which will offer travelers a “direct” experience at all times. The website will have your own company image, logo and colors, as well as your website’s header and footer. The customer will have no doubt that they are still on your official website.
Where does Onlinetravel obtain your availability and prices?
You will incorporate a new flight+hotel channel into your channel manager and add whatever offers, prices and restrictions you like. This will allow you to apply any closures or restrictions you like for this type of sale on your daily dashboard. Although it is a direct sale for all intents and purposes, you should follow a different strategy than for simple hotel bookings, and having that flexibility with your channel manager is key.
How will I receive flight+hotel bookings? Will I see them on the extranet or in the Mirai BI?
The booking will be downloaded from the channel manager onto your PMS. It will be marked as the flight+hotel channel, which will enable you to access statistics through PMS in advance or the average price as an additional channel.
Onlinetravel will provide you with an extranet, where you can see the details for all your bookings. At Mirai we incorporate flight+hotel sales into our Business Intelligence technology as an additional section, and also as a filter, so you can include or exclude these types of sales from reports. You will see all your direct sales (either package or just hotels) on the same panel.
Who will handle fraud or declined card payments, should they occur? How will my hotel be paid for these package sales?
Onlinetravel takes care of everything related to the end customer’s payment, in addition to any potential fraud or declined card payments.
Onlinetravel will pay you for the rooms you supply in the package sale, minus commission.
Can I work with other flight+hotel companies aside from Onlinetravel?
Yes. Our mission is to offer our customers a range of different complementary providers, like flight+hotel companies in this case, and we want them to be able to choose the ones they prefer, those that best suit their needs.
I’m interested, so what do I do now?
Contact your account manager and they will give you all the information and details you need.