Thursday, January 29, 2009

UK rates fall – the first time in four years

The first news to hit the wires on Monday continued to throw gloom into the financial markets with Hotels.com’s Hotel Price Index (HPI) revealing rates for rooms in the UK to have fallen for the first time since 2004.

The HPI indicates that in the final quarter of 2008 prices dropped 4% to an average of £97 per room per night compared to £101 a year earlier. The rates are representative of many major UK cities as hoteliers scramble to maximise occupancy over rates. However, properties in more remote regions, like Inverness in Scotland experienced a rate decline of 15%.

A new report from Pricewaterhouse Cooper (PwC) hospitality and leisure team claim that rates in London will decline as much as 23% in 2009. While on average it will drop by approximately 10% across the UK.

It is essential today that hoteliers focus on expanding their sales channels and market outreach. This will help to maximise opportunities and secures bookings in the short, mid and long-term. Since 1995, the internet has experienced a significant increase in bookings with travel websites gradually becoming the key source for consumer’s travel purchases.

Employing proper channel management technologies will enable hotels to identify appropriate selling rates through competitor benchmarking. Allocation mechanisms will then help to allocate inventory to the most successful and relevant channels to maximise occupancy. In a single year, total business via the internet for Thistle's 56 hotels increased 130%:

“Basically, Rate Tiger gives the hotel an understanding of what the demand is and what is happening so we choose our rate wisely," said Warren Mandelbaum, Area Revenue Manager, Thistle.

2009 is a year that requires exploring opportunities presented by online sales channels, focussing on price and offering to capture a share of the difficult market.

Welcome to the RateTiger blog

Welcome to the RateTiger blog. As channel management specialist for the hospitality industry we provide tools for hoteliers to easily benchmark and distribute rates and inventory online. Going forward this blog will provide you with news, insights and industry activities to keep you informed of developments in our sector.

The RateTiger blog will be updated regularly with news items that will be of interest to hoteliers selling rooms across the internet; reviews of events from our representatives across the world; and an insight to the thoughts and feelings of key players in the channel management space.

The online channel management market is a new and exciting industry only coming into its own over the past few years with the rise of popular consumer travel booking engines like for example Expedia, Lastminute and bookings.com. In 2007 nearly half of all travel bookings in the US were made through online channels. The internet enables consumers to look for deals online rather than rely on traditional travel sources. Watching the trend, online distribution sites seem to have an even more significant impact on hotel bookings over the next few years.

Therefore, hoteliers selling rooms across multiple distribution websites are continuously increasing the number of channels they distribute inventory too. It seems more important than ever to ensure updates are accurate and management of these channels is not extremely time intensive.

With a weak economy channel management becomes even more a priority for hoteliers to help maximise rates and occupancy. This blog will help identify ways you can make the most of the market.