The past few weeks have been very hot for flash sale sites in travel, with three new sites that launched the first week in June alone (Groupon Getaways, Getaway Lounge, Wego’s Fast Deals). Clearly the biggest headline is the partnership between Groupon and Expedia. The daily deal/coupon distribution niche is entrenching itself deeper with consumers. However with new players in the space popping up at a record pace, what should hotels be doing to manage this trend? There are many ways that flash sales will be impacting the hotel industry. No one is forcing you on this bandwagon - Participating in flash sales is entirely optional, regardless of what they may tell you. The industry has gone through peaks and valleys, and has come out of recessions before the existence of Jetsetter or LivingSocial Escapes. Yes, they will generate awareness, but not necessarily to the markets you care about and not necessarily more effectively than your current OTA participation. Yes, they will likely fill distressed dates, but how well compared to opaque options and at what costs remains to be seen. - Groupon suppliers’ reports of satisfaction have been mixed at best, and Expedia’s reputation in the industry could inspire an “it gets better” campaign. Unless your brand or property is looking for broad exposure – and has exhausted more creative means of getting it – the value proposition for supplying inventory to these sites is difficult to estimate and still relatively unproven. Commoditization 2.0 - While “curated” sites like Jetsetter helped maintain the image of exclusivity, the latest entrants are decidedly mass market. If price integrity is a priority for your brand or property, playing anywhere in this space (even with the “exclusive” first movers) could lump you in as a discount product from the consumer’s perspective. - Do not confuse these (lightly) fenced sites with opaque sites. This is a tool – not a channel Ensure that you are viewing flash sales as a tool available to you, not as a supplement to your existing demand. These sales – if used at all – should be used as a targeted promotional tool to generate incremental demand. There is word that Groupon Getaways will not have blackout dates – this will likely cause displacement of higher-rated business and provide little to no incremental benefit to travel suppliers. Get the full story at Hotel Online Read also "Expedia on why you should give away a $200 room for $50"