Hoteliers have rejoiced about the increase in occupancy rates. With a twenty percent surge in the number of booked hotel rooms throughout the first half of 2010 and an increase in travel industry spending, it seems as if Britain’s travel-friendly population was back to its old habits. But there’s one demographic that’s missed out on the industry-wide praise: internet-savvy solo travellers.
Hotel aggregator firms like Priceline and its Pacific subsidiary Agoda have helped solo travellers find low-cost room deals and fill gaps in hotel inventory, industry journalists claim. The surge in recent bookings is primarily due to families and business travellers, although individual bookings have made up a significant portion of the global accommodation market’s revenues.
Most travellers still book their flights and accommodation using an agency, primarily due to the cheaper fares and hotel rates on offer. But a growing number of solo travellers are eschewing an appointment with the travel agent in favour of an online booking, potentially saving themselves money in the process. Services like Priceline top popularity lists, along with Agoda and Orbitz.
There’s also been an increase in the number of travellers booking combined accommodation and flights through an aggregator-turned-airline. Asian low-cost carrier AirAsia has turned combined bookings into an art, encouraging solo travellers to book hotels using their website by offering a collection of coupon codes and special discounts.
While upsells, cross-sells, and special promotions are far from new in the online travel industry, their renewed presence is certainly a good sign for the travel industry. Splashes of darkness are visible in the windows of even the world’s most popular hotels, indicating that there’s still room available at below-cost rates for those with an innovative approach and sufficient tech savviness.