LetMeGo to pit hotels against each other directly

Normally, I’d think that a website inviting hotels to beg for bid on the insane and detailed requests of travelers would be a nonstarter. But, we’re in the middle of a brutal travel market recession. And, this decade has been awful for airlines and hoteliers alike. So, if the industry is going to learn any lessons from this turbulent decade known as [well, nobody really figured that out what to call it], the first should be that it needs to make a regular practice of going every extra inch to pull in a new guest.

So, the success of new business LetMeGo.com, which will create a marketplace in which travelers can indicate the specific amenities they want – from bunny slippers to cheese plates – will depend on whether the travel and hospitality industry has figured out that it will always be prey to a fickle economy. If the service providers in the hotel business realize this, they will understand that the extra effort is necessary, even when the travel market is on fire.
Using LetMeGo.com’s website, which is still in beta, companies peddling hotel rooms, vacation homes and other forms of lodging will be able to view the itineraries posted by prospective guests. They can bid for the affections and dollars of these travelers, with this data being used by the traveler to make a decision. The process is completely transparent to the participants – every bidder can see each other’s bids, and the user, of course, can sell all bids on his itinerary. But, it isn’t open to the public, as nobody needs to know what you’re looking to spend on your vacation. Since everyone can see each other’s offer, there’s incentive to cut further to attract your interest cash.

According to VentureBeat, “a good number” of lodging companies have signed up for the service and there’s already an affiliate program in place to drive traffic to the site. Could this be the future of the hospitality business? I can think of worse. If the site takes off, it will be easier for hotels to identify exactly what their guests want, deliver on it and use it as a way to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market.

So, the future of winning online travel cash will involve head-to-head competition, with everything out in the open. If I were one of the competitors, I wouldn’t be thrilled about this, but there’s no better experience for travel buyers: it’s designed to help us win.