Traditionally, wholesalers buy rooms in bulk and resell them statically to travel agents and OTAs.
However, the market is rapidly changing as the number of third-party sites and distribution channels seeking to purchase hotel inventory increases.
One of the main drivers of this trend is API technology (application programming interface), which allows a software interface to provide a service to other software. For example, this makes it much easier for an airline to sell a hotel room via its own website.
For this reason, wholesale inventory is consumed by a wider variety of B2B segments: financial institutions that often have large rewards programs to retain customers, airlines that want to expand their range of travel products to to increase their turnover, membership organizations, or even affiliates.
An open API marketplace makes it much easier to distribute inventory across a wider variety of channels.
As the number of B2B distribution channels increases, hotels increasingly need to be able to connect to them. For example, some audiences evolve in a “ closed environment with a unique currency that can only be spent in the latter; this is particularly the case for loyalty programs via credit cards.
Loyalty points are the only way for customers to purchase a hotel room. If they’re out of reach and managers aren’t onboarded to that channel, customers will connect elsewhere. Wholesalers are key to reaching customers through these unique channels.