Check In Canada’s Alberta pilot

TORONTO—Dave Kaiser (right) and Amir Lehrer (left) of the Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association were on hand at the Hotel Association of Canada and CTMS shows last month to introduce an online booking solution that provides hoteliers with a low-cost alternative to online travel agencies (OTAs).

AHLA is piloting the system, called  Check In Canada (www.checkincanada.com).

The system gives the consumer the lowest available rate for a property, providing the functionality that consumers demand.  But the big difference compared to the OTAs is that Check In Canada sends the consumer to the hotel so that they can book directly. The system also offers Trust You, which aggregates reviews so that consumers can see at a glance how other travellers rated various aspects of the hotel.

Hotels that sign up for Check In Canada can get that functionality without the hefty fees charged by OTAs. Check In Canada charges no fees or commissions.

The cost to the participating hotel is $295 per year for those with less than 50 rooms; $395 for 50-99 rooms and $495 for 100-plus rooms.

“You don’t need to sell too many rooms to pay for that,” Kaiser noted.

Check In Canada will include rating system scores including Canada Star Quality and Green Key eco-ratings.

“It gives guests everything the OTAs give them, but hotels have the benefit of not managing inventory—there’s consistency,” Kaiser told CLN. “Guests can also get their loyalty points.”

He explained that the strategy is to get as many provinces and DMOs as possible to use Check In Canada as their marketing site. “There’s a compelling message to tourism bodies—they’re missing out on all that tax revenue [that goes to OTAs]. There are lots of reasons to work together.”

Right now, Check In Canada is in beta testing but is fully functional. The next step is to go national, starting by adding Saskatchewan and Manitoba.