Independent Asian hotels seek mobile agility to help them compete

Independent and small hotel groups in Asia are seeking to harness the benefits of mobile solutions in order to attract more bookings and compete with larger chains.

Speaking to Travel Daily on Wednesday, Jean-Luc Chretien, co-CEO of FastBooking, revealed that mobile technology is now one of the main requests from independent hoteliers in Asia, as they seek to make their businesses more nimble and compete on a more even playing field with their larger rivals.

“First of all, hoteliers want a system that is efficient, reliable and cost-effective… and secondly, they want something that’s easy-to-use,” Chretien said in an interview. “But more and more we’re seeing hotels requesting mobile access for their website and back office. This allows them to be more flexible in accessing their channels, and they can be very reactive when the market is moving fast.”

Jean-Luc Chretien, co-CEO of FastBooking
Jean-Luc Chretien, co-CEO of FastBooking

He added that the “other big request” is the ability to create and manage personalised marketing campaigns, through which hotels aim to boost customer loyalty and drive more direct bookings.

FastBooking, which was acquired by AccorHotels in 2015, delivers a series of technological solutions to independent and small hotel groups, with the aim of helping them compete more effectively with large chains.

These solutions include a booking engine, GDS connectivity, a distribution channel manager and marketing campaign tools. The automated nature of these products also allows hoteliers to save precious time when uploading and managing their rates.

These products, Chretien said, have been developed in response to the need for hoteliers – particularly in Asia – to “rebalance their distribution”, which is currently heavily weighted in favour of OTAs. And while big hotel chains will generally have a financial advantage over their independent rivals, Chretien added that the flexibility and range of solutions offered by FastBooking can make the playing field more level.

“We have the agility to be faster to market, and we don’t have to cope with legacy systems,” he said. “We can’t develop mega-systems but we have the ability to add functionality; we’ve developed new pricing tools, CRM tools and mobile products, including a booking app on WeChat, the Chinese social media site.

“Our solutions are widely used around the world so we also have the capacity to lower our costs. This makes us very efficient,” Chretien added.

FastBooking has about 4,000 hotel partners in 100 countries, although approximately half of this business in Europe. This means that the company’s Asian customers have immediate access to partners that can help drive more European business.

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