Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wotif.com launches 90 days of inventory on January 27

As I mentioned back in May, Wotif is planning to extend the window for booking of inventory from the current 28 days out to 365 days. An email is going round to hotels today announcing that as of January 27 the first step in that plan will be launched with the Wotif extranet beting extended to take inventory up to 90 days out. No word on what that will mean for changes to the search display. Currently consumers do not enter in dates to get search results. Instead they are present with a grid format showing inventory availability over a 14 day period with an option to click to the "next seven days". I assume that to cover 90 days worth of inventory Wotif will have to change this interface and add date search.

If I am right then there are some challenges ahead for Wotif during the roll out of this new functionality. It is one thing to change the back end and have to train hoteliers on an updated system. This is a painful but relatively manageable task. It is another to manage the impact on consumer behaviour of a dramatic change in the consumer booking process. As they say on CNN - only time will tell.

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