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The OTA market in the DACH region

The OTAs have been a hot topic on the Tourism Fast Forward conference in Mayrhofen. Prof. Schegg from Switzerland presented the market stakes of the three big players in the OTA market in the DACH region. Furthermore he discussed with the General Secretary of the Austrian Hoteliers Association about the opportunities that the hoteliers have to catch.
The OTA Landscape in the DACH region
The current figures from Prof. Schegg from 2015 show the dominance of three big players amongst OTAs: Priceline, Expedia and HRS. Booking.com and agoda amongst others belong to Priceline, while e.g., ebookers, venere.com and Hotels.com belong to Expedia. HRS is in the OTA market with HRS, tiscover and hotel.de.

In all three countries of the DACH region they achieve together between 89.5 – 94.2% of the OTA market. In all countries Priceline is the biggest player in the market by a distance:
  • Austria 89.5%: Priceline 65.5% - HRS 12.8% - Expedia 11.2%
  • Switzerland 94.1%: Priceline 71.3% - HRS 8.6% - Expedia 14.2%
  • Germany 94.2%: Priceline 51.9% - HRS 36.4% - Expedia 5.9%

Conclusion: Direct bookings are falling; indirect sales and thus commissions are growing.

Hotel vs. OTA?
At the end of the presentation by Prof. Schegg, Markus Gratzer, the General Secretary of the Austrian Hoteliers Association joined him on stage. Gratzer stressed that the OTAs are important partners in the hotel sector. At the same time they are taking a slice of the cake and commissions are growing rather than sinking.

The “hotel vs OTA” battle that arises from that is being approached differently by the DACH countries. In Germany the cartel office is acting for rate parity, Switzerland is set on national booking and Austria is choosing the “wait and see”.

Prof. Schegg has a clear opinion on this battle. Hotels have an opportunity, they have to work hard on their fitness though and add real value for their guests.

As an example he named the e-fitness Zermatt project. With this Zermatt Tourism wants to scale the peaks of digital communication in the coming years at the foot of the Matterhorn.

The e-fitness programme in Zermatt consists of the following four areas which interact dynamically with each other but which can also be used individually:
  1. Check: Analysis of the current situation
  2. Coach: independent and individual advice
  3. Training: Increasing digital know-how
  4. Challenge: Implementing what is known and recognised

Finally several speakers gave insights into the “hotels vs OTAs” battle with examples from practice. The speakers were unanimous in one point: To be successful, the hoteliers must regain control of the Customer Journey!
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