Beating OTAs at their own game

WHO The vision of wresting control back from giant OTAs is what led a group of hospitality veterans – COO Yann Gouriou, CFO Martijn Dekker and CTO Bjorn Harvold – to launch Traveliko, a new hotel booking engine that seeks to return pricing control to hoteliers as well as to rebalance travel ethics.

Traveliko takes a flat 10 per cent commission, a rate significantly lower than the 15-17 per cent typically charged by major OTAs in the market now, Gouriou revealed.

Former Miss Universe Natalie Glebova has been appointed Traveliko’s brand ambassador.

From left: Dekker, Gouriou, Glebova and Harvold

WHAT Every hotel is equally visible on Traveliko, according to Gouriou, unlike other OTAs that charge hotels a premium to improve their rankings on their sites.

Hotels can also choose three main targeted segments (e.g. spa, solo travel and family friendly, etc), enabling hoteliers to leverage their strengths to enhance their visibility on the site while travel customers can better customise their search through filters.

“Because of Traveliko’s fixed low commission, the booking engine has also been optimised for selling additional hotel products that hoteliers would not want to sell anywhere else. It will give customers more options and an overall better experience,” said Harvold.

Hotels, for instance, can package a room together with transfers or a bottle of champagne.
And unlike the current OTA practice of sharing with hotels just basic booking information – date of arrival, etc – Traveliko will include customers’ preferences if they wish to reveal too to facilitate more seamless travel for travellers.

Traveliko will also donate 20 per cent of the net commission to local charities in Thailand selected by guests. “We deem ourselves a social venture too,” added Gouriou.

WHY Traveliko is conceived as a business model to help hotels, especially small and boutique properties, save money on commission and focus on giving their customers a better experience, according to Gouriou.

“We want to give power back to hotels and not aggregate power at the top (of the industry), not to those who made immense profits on the back of the tourism industry.”

“We translated our frustration into solution. We see hotels as partners. I’m a hotel person too, so I want to give hoteliers a solution,” said Gouriou, a former hotel general manager who now heads Bangkok-based Unicorn Hotels & Resorts as CEO.

TARGET Since officially launching in April 2017, Traveliko now boasts 450 hotels in its portfolio, having received sign-ups from international companies like Absolute Hotel Services, Centara Hotels & Resorts, Dusit International and Red Planet, plus other hospitality chains and independent hotels in Thailand, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

Gouriou hopes bigger chains like Accor and InterContinental Hotels Group will come on board soon, and would like to expand Traveliko coverage across Asia-Pacific through the founders’ personal networks as well as word of mouth.

While the focus will be kept on the B2C side for the time being, Gouriou wants to expand into B2B and flights sector to grow Traveliko into a “travel Facebook” for travellers to create their personal profile, post comments and gain loyalty programme points.

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