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Lodging
A Popular OTA Tactic Comes to Resorts with Whistler’s Suite Secrets Feature

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GREGG
BLANCHARD
   

I’ve never used this feature, but I know it’s a popular one based on the number of friends that have. Made famous by Priceline I believe (though you lodging folks likely know much better than I), the idea of seeing the price on a lodging search but not the hotel name has become a popular one.

While some details are shown, I like how this sort of “game” both gives the customer a deal while protecting the resort from guests upset by the family in the room next door paying 1/3 what they did.

Whistler’s Implementation
Tourism Whistler is doing something very similar with something they are calling “Suite Secrets”. These show up inline with listings but hide the hotel name and only give a range for the star-rating of the hotel:

sutiesecrets

According to the site, these are the general rules on how it works:

“Suite Secrets offer the best last minute deals on trips to Whistler when you travel within the next fourteen days. Many hotels have unsold rooms to fill, but are unable to advertise these ultra-low rates under their brand names.”

Pretty much on par with the more well known systems from OTAs. On the backend side, Trevor Crist at Inntopia had this to say about the tech.

“This is a feature that is embedded in Inntopia. Whistler.com sets up the Suite Secret parameters, and the lodging providers in town can individually offer discounts on room types they want to include. The system offers the user the best priced item for each location/unit type/star rating group. Users find out where exactly they are staying after they have confirmed the reservation.”

Sales are final which, along with the lack of name/images, constitute the trade off a visitor makes for snagging the super low deals.

Slick
I like this and I especially like that the technology exists in the industry to try it at resorts.

By filling rooms but also keeping guests happy who booked months in advance, it’s not that it’s a marketing world in perfect harmony, but it’s getting pretty darn close.


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