Dr. Peter O'Connor (Professor of Strategic Management at University of South Australia Business School) and Lennert de Jong (Commercial Director at citizenM) met online to exchange their thoughts and vision on how hotels will emerge from the COVID crisis. In this conversation, Peter & Lennert discuss how corporate and business travel will be going through a profound process of change. The new corporate travel landscape will not come back to a level as we knew it before, but will also bring new opportunities based on changing traveler behavior. Lennert comments on citizenM's subscription models and how well this worked out for the citizenM brand. Even when occupancy is coming back in some hotels, citizenM focuses more on customer lifetime value is key instead of short-term ADR growth. Peter and Lennert also discuss the effectiveness of loyalty programs and how the vast majority of frequent travelers are increasingly unloyal and do not have access to true benefits.

Lennert & Peter also discuss how the influence of the OTA's declined in the last 18 months... driven by a greater sense of security and flexibility when booking direct... as well as the fact that consumers became more conscious and empathetic towards hotels (actual businesses) as compared to big global booking platforms. Peter thinks however that consumers will get back to their old habits of choosing convenience (read OTAs)... hotels should use the opportunity now to remove all frictions in the direct booking process. The conversation concludes with a great exchange on google's growing role in the industry.

Is market recovery here?
Will corporate travel ever come back as we knew it?
Lennert explains citizenM's subscription model
Discussing customer-lifetime-value and loyalty
Brand Sympathy and Security - Trends in consumers booking direct vs OTAs
Consumers will go back to convenience in the booking process
Google and its growing involvement in hotel distribution
Hotels finding a way out of the red ocean... Google is not a free lunch
Changing business models of the OTAs
New entrants and niche players coming into the space... trip.com, Alibaba
Are the OTA's going back to their pre-COVID online ad spending levels?
What needs to happen to get the industry back on track?
Peter & Lennert's wish for 2022?