Thursday, July 09, 2009

90 days is enough for Wotif for now

Back in January Wotif moved their booking window from 28 days to 90 days. Itself and extension of their original 14 day window. At the time Wotif said they were working toward launching a full 365 day back end. Now in a story from TravelToday (PDF will open on link) comes word that 90 days is enough. The quote attributed to Wotif Group CEO Robbie Cooke in the article is
"[Wotif if are] unlikely to launch the 12-month window in the next 12 months but would instead turn its attention to 'more exciting projects'"
More exciting could refer to the new air engine they have launched over at (wholly owned by Wotif). Functionality soon to be expanded to the Wotif brand. Or it could mean that going 365 in the back end was very very hard to do. As I said back in January the current Wotif front end design does not support an easy migration to year round inventory. It would involve having to put in place new date based search functionality. I also imagine it was very hard to convince hotels to load a years worth of rates in the back end. Once you start looking beyond a few months hotels have to be much more careful with fair/event/seasons/peak period dates/ close outs etc it becomes very hard to ask hotels to manage the extranet without expensive inhouse database support.

On the extension to 90 days, Cooke is claiming a 7% uplift in sales (according to TravelToday)


Steve Sherlock said...

i think that makes sense to leave it at 90 days. all the extra effort for another 9mths may yield less than the move from 28 days to 3mths.

i'd have major reservations about adding a flight engine to the site. somehow i doubt it will actually happen.

as a result the site could lose the mantle of accommodation specialist by extending the brand to flights.

can be tricky to move a brand's direction/position from accom only to flights and accom. (Al Ries, Orgin of Brands etc, would back me up) (dont tell me they'll add cars next :-)

maybe a different brand like wotflights? (tongue in cheek)

Ronaldo said...

I appreciate the labour you have put in developing this blog. Nice and informative.

Tim Hughes said...

@Steve - thanks for another great comment. I agree - if I was wotif I would not add air to the site. Is too much of a distraction and brand stretch for them. I would leave that for the Lastminute and TVL brands.

@Ronaldo - thanks....I think....not sure if you are being nice or just trying to sneak in a link. You know that comment links are rel=no follow?

Unknown said...

Just going through backlogs of posts. As a competitor to Wotif, I am not happy they have decided to not pursue 365 days! How they could practically integrate this into existing web platform would be challenging. Based on current site set-up, customers would be clicking through a lifet-time of pages to get to the 365 day point!

Tim Hughes said...

@Tom - brilliant!