WorldHotels to Adopt 'Flexible Pricing' Strategy in 2006; Company Will Also Offer Cap Over Preferred Rates, Protecting Best Customers in High-Demand Periods

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WorldHotels, the Americas, one of the worldÂ?s leading sales, marketing and distribution companies for independent hotels, today announced that it will adopt a flexible pricing strategy in 2006, offering BAR pricing to its consortia and mega agency/travel management partners. This pricing approach will move buyers away from traditional fixed rates to a structure that better responds to market conditions throughout the year.

WorldHotels, the Americas, one of the world's leading sales, marketing and distribution companies for independent hotels, today announced that it will adopt a flexible pricing strategy in 2006, offering BAR pricing to its consortia and mega agency/travel management partners. This pricing approach will move buyers away from traditional fixed rates to a structure that better responds to market conditions throughout the year.

Michelle Bearman, director of Consortia Development for WorldHotels, the Americas, said travel buyers are heading into the toughest hotel negotiating season in years – a climate created by a strong rebound in business travel and overall occupancy and limited hotel supply growth.

“Because the 2006 season is poised to be a 'sellers market,' we believe it's the right time to move to flexible pricing, providing our agency partners with a guarantee of the best, unrestricted rate available,” said Bearman. “Not only will we implement a fluctuating BAR strategy, we will also cap this rate, providing a ceiling over which the preferred rate cannot rise. This protects our best customers over periods of high demand, where prices could increase drastically. With this level of assurance, agents can offer more value to their customers, while still providing them with the best competitive rate available in the marketplace.”

Industry buyers, suppliers and analysts agree that 2006 rates will rise. According to a report by Price Waterhouse Coopers, record high average room rates are expected in 2006, and the growth is expected to sustain and increase through 2007. "At a growth rate of 4.3 percent, this is the strongest increase since 2000, when the rate was 5.4 percent," the report said.

Bearman added that when WORLDHOTELS' flexible pricing takes effect in 2006, agents who input their rate access code will be able to view their personalized BAR description, and if they choose to book, will be guaranteed to have the lowest, unrestricted rate available for that day.

“No other unqualified/unrestricted rate will be lower, including Internet rates,” said Bearman. “The only exception may be specially negotiated client-specific rates for corporations based on their volume of business to specific cities.”

WORLDHOTELS is one of the world's leading hotel sales, marketing and distribution organizations. This progressive and steadily expanding corporation represents nearly 500 member properties in 70 countries spanning all continents. Unique in its approach, WORLDHOTELS meets the requirements of business travelers and vacationers alike by providing hotels in three distinct categories: "The Deluxe Collection," hotels of refined elegance and luxurious comfort; "The First Class Collection," hotels of casual elegance, superior class and high quality; and "The Comfort Collection," hotels characterized by a casual ambiance, intimate atmosphere and moderate price. For more information or to make reservations, visit online at http://www.worldhotels.com or call toll free at 1-800-223-5652 in the U.S. and Canada.

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Patti Winger