Jetsetter CEO Drew Patterson was a panelist at this week's HEDNA convention in Las Vegas and had some great insights into marketing, distribution and revenue management.
Drew began his remarks with an observations that what is really missing in the online travel industry today is inspiration. Paraphrasing, the major OTAs are not really about exciting people to travel or getting them to book an incremental trip - they are largely order takers. (My words, not Drew's!)
Drew's comments are similar (but not as blunt) to Harrah's CEO and President Gary Loveman's remarks at this year's PhoCusWright conference during which he lamented that the OTA industry has done little to actually drive tourism and increase trips - most energy (in his opinion) is spent on beating up one another (OTA vs. OTA as well as OTA vs. supplier) vs. actually driving and inspiring consumers to travel (and stay in his hotels, obviously.)
Drew also commented on the often difficult relationship between Revenue Management and Marketing within the hotel industry. In Drew's words, "RM and marketing have to work in partnership to stimulate activity. Lowering rates without communicating the price change just dilutes an existing customer base. At the same time, marketing communication without value or a reason is a waste of money because consumers will see through it. The two have to be integrated to have an impact." Sage advice for hoteliers and distribution partners.
Clearly, Jetsetter aims to solve for these issues, but they alone can't be the total answer for what ails the industry today. (Drew has big plans but it is a big world out there.) Will anyone step up in 2010?