Booking.com, a Priceline Group member, is growing in Japan with 11,300 lodging partners registered. The OTA develops its purchase business in three divided areas of eastern Japan, western Japan and Hokkido/Okinawa, and Donna Morris, who talked about the strategy in Japan with Travel Voice, is responsible for the eastern Japan area including Tokyo with about 6,000 lodging partners.
“Japan is different from other countries in terms of ‘traditional,’ which means not only cultural aspects but also Japanese hospitality to offer high quality services,” Morris said. “However, lodgings in Japan are behind other countries in terms of using data. To optimize the traditional aspects of Japanese lodgings, we can provide them with our global knowledge.”
Booking.com data finds staying styles of international travelers by nationality or by lodging type. They tend to make much of high quality services and cleanness of lodgings and also local experiences. Using such data, Booking.com has a contents team with six members to support lodging partners for contents listed on the site.
In addition, account managers advise effective promotions for users, optimized ADR to maximize performance and even revenue control to manage occupancy rates.
Morris also said that the customer service is one of the important sections in Japan. Booking.com call center respond not only inquires not only from users but also lodging partners, which is rare in its global network.
Meanwhile, Booking.com enriches online supports, opening a four-steps registration site for lodging partners (join.booking.com/jp), which provides them with an opportunity to deliver their information to up to 43 countries.
Lodging partners also use BookingSuite without charge and Rate Manager, the price optimization tool, and Rate Intelligence, the price analysis tool, with additional payments. “With our support services, we can increase partners in Japan at an accelerated pace,” Morris said.
One of the biggest merits for users is that a user can choose no charge on cancellation on a booking date, as Morris said that the service is to offer flexibility to users as its principle of user’s first.
It is, however, true that it may be a demerit for lodging partners, when a user cancels on a booking day or no show. Morris explained balance between an increase in demand and user flexibility is important. Even though lodging partners have cancellations, they can increase bookings on Booking.com and make more money “We can support partners businesses to raise their profitability,” she added.
More than 1.2 million lodgings including vacation rentals are listed globally on Booking.com. In Japan, the foreign-based OTA has recently increased bookings not only by international users but also by Japanese users.