A tidal shift – is distribution mapping the new standard?
Distribution mapping has been around for some time now, yet until today adoption has been fairly limited. If you’re wondering what distribution mapping is, just imagine the benefits of automated hotel mapping throughout an entire distribution network. It gives the hotel inventory owner (the supplier) control over the quality of their inventory throughout their distribution channels, thereby enhancing business potential. With an automated hotel mapping process that removes booking mistakes and duplicates throughout their network, distribution mapping assures improved user experience, increased conversions and customer retention for both supplier and their distributors.
Often a leader in travel market trends, Expedia was the first major supplier to adopt the technology in early 2018. Expedia Partner Network implemented Gimmonix’s Mapping.Works distribution mapping solution throughout their extensive affiliate network, leading to a significant increase in market share. This market effect prompted HotelBeds to embark on distribution mapping as well, they started work on their proprietary ‘OneMapping’ solution, released in late 2018. Expedia’s actions and HotelBed’s response have signaled that a shift is underway in the hotel industry: distribution mapping is no longer optional, it is now a necessity.
How will this change reshape competition in the industry?
The multi-supplier and non-standardized nature of the travel industry makes mapping in the hotel distribution space essential. With multiple distribution partners and players in this aggregated environment, both OTAs and suppliers need to map.
This is compounded by the fact that booking volumes across the industry at large are not growing at a significant rate. With two of the largest hotel suppliers, Expedia and HotelBeds, distribution mapping and taking over more market share, other players will find it even more difficult to maintain their competitiveness. This change in paradigm means that competition revolves around securing a larger share of the existing market. To do this, distributors and OTAs have to create more attractive offerings and better user experience to retain the customers who make up the market.
What has to be done to remain competitive in the age of distribution mapping?
It is apparent by the actions they’ve taken, both Expedia and HotelBeds have come to the understanding that hotel distribution mapping is necessary for them to remain competitive. What was once optional has now become essential, as the increasing market share of these two giants will put pressure on smaller travel companies, eventually pushing them out of the market.
Indeed, this is a turning point that will cause many to become obsolete, especially suppliers that refuse or are incapable of keeping pace. Those companies intent on surviving the change must follow suit and engage in distribution mapping as this raising of the bar will ultimately help companies and consumers alike.
Check out Mapping.Works by Gimmonix to find out more about distribution mapping:
For further insights on the value of distribution mapping, see our blog on why suppliers need to map.