ABS is the next evolution in hotel inventory merchandising
Jos Schaap | ROOMDEX
For most consumers, finding a hotel comes down to searching a destination for the best priced room that passes the brand preference or loyalty filter. This activity is done via a search engine like Google, an OTA, or, if loyalty is involved, a brand site. Yes, there are many other sites and resources for consumers to choose from, but they all come down to the same experience: a list of room types ordered by price.
We are so used to it that it may surprise younger people that this is not the only way hotels have been sold, or “merchandised.” Hotels got here through the evolution and power of the Internet – but it hasn’t necessarily been the best method for either guests or hoteliers. Why? Because current hotel inventory merchandising commoditizes the hotel product, leaves money on the table for hotels and de-prioritizes guest experience preferences. The industry is ripe for a new way to merchandise hotel inventory.
When price rules above all else, you get commoditization. Why is this bad? First, one room appears to be nearly the same as any other room that is the same price. It undermines differentiation of product. A room with a pool view is different than a room with a parking lot view but that difference is so buried in the description that your consumer can’t get past the price.
Attribute-based Selling (ABS) re-imagines hotel inventory merchandising in order to improve guest satisfaction and generate greater hotel revenue. ABS presents features that more closely match personal interests and give them a greater sense of control over their stay experience.
For the hotelier, ABS offers the promise of improved conversion AND improved cart value. Yes, like any other e-commerce model, hoteliers want to increase the value of the consumer cart. ABS provides an ability to reap more revenue for features that were otherwise “bundled” under a room type name.
In recent years, ABS has been talked about much in the industry but never realized due to technological challenges. But, the time is right for ABS. And now the code has been cracked. ABS is not just a new UI for your website. It’s a revolution in hotel inventory merchandising that will change consumer culture just as the OTAs did with self-booking 20+ years ago.