In 2015, when we launched Fastpayhotels we had a clear view that nonrefundable were what we wanted to focus on. In fact, that is what we launched our brand on: prepay nonrefundable rates: Fastpay.
Like so many startups we focused on a fixed idea only to find that there were spin offs our plan that we never considered such as the fact that so much connectivity with hotels would actually give us so much availability for late bookings, more room types, package rates, mobile rates and eventually so many new rate plans and hotels.
What we underestimated in our first few months is just how much more hotel connectivity would give us above and beyond pre-paid rates.
Today and for the last 2 years, we are no longer a start-up and we now offer all rate plans from all our hotels to our customers. This has been a huge success and many customers like the fact that we connect with independent hotels and hotel chains with technology that they themselves don’t have such as SynXis, Derbysoft or Travelclick.
So does COVID spell the end of Non Refundable rates? I don’t think so. We continue to source some amazing discounts for hotels that value our pre-paid fastpay model and as hotels looks to source business with longer bookings window paid up front, we hope to provide value. COVID has made non-refundable rates a tough sell and on good days they are never more than 15% of our sales.
Hotels globally have been burned with the high cancellation rates the pandemic has driven. Revenue managers will continue to use Non-Refundable rates to reduce this… but while consumers aren’t sure yet, we will continue to give you all the rates all the time.