When it comes to startups, there’s something to be said for localization in targeting new destinations. Australian company HotelsCombined has figured that out, and for Latin America, it’s launched DetectaHotel to reach the region’s consumers.
Dating back to 2005, HotelsCombined is a hotel search engine that does something a bit along the lines of Kayak. It compares accommodations prices across numerous online sources, including Hotels.com, Travelocity and Hotelpedia.
HotelsCombined searches over two million hotel deals in more than 120,000 destinations worldwide and is available in 40 languages and 120 currencies. Gustavo Hernandez Garza, Business Development Manager at HotelsCombined, outlined the platform’s proposal:
We focus in providing as many online travel agency sites as possible, especially regional or local sites for brand recognition and credibility. Our easy-to-use filters can narrow search results based on user criteria. Our content is localized, meaning we have translated and adapted most terms to a local language, plus adding important local sites and destinations.
DetectaHotel has already been localized for Mexico, Argentina, the Dominican Republic and Cuba, and other markets will be ready by the end of the year. There are also mobile applications available that can detect user location and suggest nearby accommodations options.
Hernandez Garza spoke with PulsoSocial about HotelsCombined’s regional efforts with DetectaHotel and the online travel business overall.
Emily Stewart: Hoteliers have sort of been “held hostage” by online booking platforms, which often force them to offer extra-low prices. What efforts do you make, if any, to ease that pressure and improve relationships?
Gustavo Hernandez Garza: HotelsCombined and DetectaHotel have a hotelier program where they can upload their hotel information, such as photos and content to our platform. Also, if they use a rate channel manager to distribute rates, we can display their best available rates on our site, thus receiving direct traffic to their websites. This can help push the hotel’s brand and sales through their own efforts.
ES: HotelTonight is coming at the region hard – first Mexico, then Costa Rica, and surely other markets this year. How do you compete?
GHG: We work with many suppliers focusing in different niches. Since we are a comparison site, our partners can benefit from worldwide traffic. We can direct the user to their chosen hotel offer, whether that be directly to the hotel website or through an online travel agency offer.
ES: You’ve got a presence in numerous countries. How do you note Latin Americans are acting differently?
GHG: Latin America is composed of 21 countries, and each country may have different purchasing and comparing patterns and preferences, but one thing is for sure in every country: customers like to compare and find the best product or service, based on value or price.
DetectaHotel does that. We provide the customer with many choices to book the same hotel. We created DetectaHotel as a brand for Latin America so that customers feel intelligent, and as such, they will find what they are looking for in a hotel, saving money and time. Customers in the LatAm region spend time on our site doing searches, reading hotel descriptions and reviews, and comparing features through our filters. Because the region is so vast, covering U.S. Hispanics to Argentina, we are receiving visits from all countries – especially Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Peru.
ES: How are you gearing up for the World Cup?
GHG: Our Brazilian webpage, DetectaHotel.com.br, is reaching a high level traffic from all over the world. We are helping customers detect hotels that have availability and good prices in Brazil.