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ITB Berlin News - Day 3

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GROUP TRAVEL SPECIAL FEATURE 23 LoL Leisure online has more than one travel planner smiling AccorHotels’ new booking platform, Leisure Online, or “LOL” for short, is beginning to pick up pace. We asked the group’s head of leisure sales, Jean-Claude Balanos, what the original idea was behind creating Leisure Online. The original idea was to have a real booking tool and not only an informative website; to give access to our rooms inventory in real time, allowing also our clients to secure their business in our hotels. This is an opportunity for any leisure professionals in any country in the world to place an option at any time without waiting the hotel’s answer. It’s been up and running for just on a year now. What feedback have you had from users? The clients have been waiting for a tool that would allow them to lower the response time and now AccorHotels has invented it. When it comes to group request, the clients had a real problem concerning the conversion rate. Since the launching of the online group rates, the main issue was to optimise this conversion rate. Today, the clients who have been using this tool have increased their productivity. The strengths of this tool are availability & rate. The clients instantly know the room availability, THE CONVERSION RATE HAS DOUBLED IN COMPARISON TO THE GROUP BOOKING DONE DIRECTLY TO THE HOTELS they are assured that the price is the best one they could find on any channel. What is new is that Leisure online gives the clients the availability to open on our business to new hotels that they are not used to working with. What’s the breakdown of users – by type (agencies, travel planners, operators, etc) and by region? Mainly European clients booking in European countries (France, Germany, Great Britain and Spain) as the long haul destinations have been rolled out since end of 2015. Most of our clients are tour-operators, coach-operators and travel agencies (25 % are travel agencies and 75 % coachoperators) What have conversion rates been like and how can you benchmark this? The conversion rate has doubled in comparison to the group booking done directly to the hotels: due to the immediate information on group rates, and the possibility for the client to place an option online straight away. What brands are in most demand via the system? The most requested brands are Mercure, Novotel and ibis Hotels, which gather more than 80% of number of bookings, whereas our upscale brands, due to the lower number of hotels, gather about 20% of requests. Jean-Claude Balanos Vice President Leisure Sales, Global Sales Division, AccorHotels What are the key services offered apart the accommodation? Since the beginning, the client can buy porter services and dinner services online. What’s your message to travel professionals at ITB Berlin concerning LOL? We keep rolling out new hotels and new destinations. We have just rolled out 150 hotels in Asia Pacific (China, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore, etc.). More hotels in South America and in Europe will also join the offer before the end of 2016 to reach 850 hotels proposed for group requests. If travel professionals want to get all information about the new destinations & hotels, they should register for our Tourism newsletter via our website. Hall 9 / 215 ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 11 th March 2016

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ITB Berlin News