I have been keeping a watch on the stories coming out of EyeforTravel Travel Distribution Summit this week. In one story (via eTravel Blackboard) Revenue Bosses from top hotels are talking about the important role that Best Available Rate (BAR) or Best Rate Guarantees (BRG) (why have one acronym when you can have two) have in the building and maintaining of a hotel brand.
Maunik Thacker of the Venetian Macau is quoted outright as saying "Rate parity builds loyalty and trust in the brand".
I don't agree. Building and owning a brand is about so much more than just beating everyone up in the distribution chain to ensure a single price. Have a look at the Interbrand list of top global brand. Almost every single one of them charges different prices to consumers based on the channel. Here are some examples of channel based price differentiation from the top ten list:
- Coca-Cola, the number one brand in the world, charges more for a cold 600ml bottle at my local super market than it does for a warm 2 litre bottle. This is charging more in the same store for less. It does this because it uses a non-price based differentiator (cold versus warm);
- Nokia is the number one consumer electronics magazine. I can buy a top of the range Nokia N95 out of the box with a price range of $512-700. That is a variance of almost 50%. If I sign up for a contract I can get it for a little as US$20 per month (ie around $140 for the handset); and
- Disney, the biggest entertainment brand in the world, let's retailers set the price on almost anything they sell.
PS - have look at the bottom of the article where (the now TUI owned) asiarooms is singled out for breaking the rules. This gives the answer to the commenter on an earlier post who asked why I called asiarooms infamous.