Friday, May 27, 2011

Newshound: Trends and Reports - Hotel Online Distribution

PwC anticipates solid RevPAR growth into 2012

The updated lodging forecast released today by PwC US shows that the lodging recovery is expected to continue at a solid pace in 2011, driven by balanced growth in industry occupancy and average daily rate.
http://origin-pwc.pwc.com/us/en/press-releases/2011/Solid-RevPAR-Growth-Anticipated-to-Continue.jhtml

Asian hotels continue to see double-digit gains

Hotels in the Asia Pacific region experienced mostly positive results in the three key performance metrics during April 2011 when reported in US dollars, according to data compiled by STR Global.
http://www.traveldailyasia.com/IndustrySpecific/Detail.aspx?Section=56630

US hotels enjoyed close to 10% profit increase in 2010

While 70 percent of the properties in the Trends® hotel financial sample enjoyed an increase in revenues in 2010, only 60 percent were able to convert that into more money in the bank, indicating that the turnaround in industry performance has not occurred evenly across all sectors of the U.S. lodging industry.
http://www.4hoteliers.com/4hots_nshw.php?mwi=8640

Who are my ‘true’ hotel competitors?

While the question will continue to linger, technology, resources and analytics will continue to evolve. This will undoubtedly provide us with greater insights and strengthen the position of individuals involved in those lively boardroom discussions.
http://www.hsmaieconnect.org/blog/Who_are_my_true_competitors

Social media significant traffic source for 78% of travel sites

Social media is a 'top eight' driver of traffic for 78% of travel sites according a recent study of the "digital competency" of travel brands, with airlines and hotels dominating the leading brands in the study.
http://econsultancy.com/us/blog/7538-social-media-significant-traffic-source-for-78-of-travel-sites?utm_medium=feeds&utm_source=blog

Europeans using new media more to organise and manage their holidays

Europeans are organising more and more via the Internet in preparing their holidays, with 57 percent of them claiming to reserve mainly via the Internet, according to a new study.
http://www.eyefortravel.com/news/europe/europeans-using-new-media-more-organise-and-manage-their-holidays

In the News: RateTiger Forms Closer Ties with Online Channel Partners

RateTiger, the premium channel manager, has announced the launch of RTChannels – a complimentary service for member hotels to better manage existing and new online channel partnerships.

The RTChannels platform provides all relevant content on the online travel agents and third party channels that are connected to RateTiger. The new system provides customised search functionality to filter and select channels that best fit hoteliers’ product and provides additional revenue and sources of business for their property.

With over 700 connections, RateTiger has the largest online channel network amongst the channel managers.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Road to Effective Channel Management - Part 2: Know Your Artillery

We looked at today’s economics and selling requirements in Road to Effective Channel Management Part 1. We also saw the importance of customer segregation and the need to offer right product to the right people through the right channel. Now we move forward to look at various other parameters and tools that would help you manage online distribution with ease and efficiency.

Own website and Booking engine

Your own website will give guests the chance to discover more about the hotel directly from you and not third parties. The website should be user-friendly with clear descriptions, photos, guest reviews and directions to the hotel.
Integrate a booking engine and you can begin capturing more direct bookings to avoid commission charges from Online Travel Agents (OTAs).

If you want your property to build its own brand and stand out from the rest, you may want to invest in search engines through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to allow travellers to find you easier.

If you implement web analytics you will be able to assess where your visits are coming from – but be aware that it may take up to a year before you begin seeing consistent trends.

Online partners and GDS

Effective channel management is about managing multiple channels and optimising the bookings and revenue you can achieve from these. The days of putting all your eggs in one basket are well and truly gone.
You need to remain competitive and the easiest way is by distributing inventory to multiple sales channels.

Begin by identifying a few essential online channels where you would like to get bookings. You may feel you need to be on the popular OTAs like Expedia, booking.com, lastminute.com, or on more local websites or specialist boutique channels.

When choosing the channels you must keep your proposition in mind; why sell an upmarket room on a budget website? Once you have identified your first channels you have made your first step to successful channel management.

Research social and digital marketing

There’s no escaping the digital revolution and with this comes a multitude of websites, social networks and interactive channels that should be considered in the hotel’s long-term strategy.
You need to identify prospects on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or more specific channels; be it wedding and honeymoon or relocation websites.

By assessing the sales potential here you can also assess your hotels reputation through online reviews and at this stage begin responding positively to guests’ feedback.

Price shopping

Proposition is the name of the game and price is the leading element of its value.
You need to know your competitors and their rates to help you position your rates accordingly.

Hoteliers who observe and benchmark competitor rates are more likely to set the right rates for the market and therefore secure those additional bookings. It is important you do not out price your hotel either too low or too high then the market value.

By constantly monitoring rates both for immediate bookings and in the future you can ensure that you have a highly visible proposition to secure more advanced bookings. 

Price shopping data allows you to respond more readily and adapt to market conditions. Today rates are dynamic and not linear, by keeping an eye on competitor rates will keep you in the game.

Check out Road to Effective Channel Management Part 3.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

V Jornadas Universitarias – Revenue Management: A new management philosophy to crisis management

Last month I attended the V Jornadas Universitarias which took place at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid. The event focused on various hotel technologies and how the application of these technologies along with revenue management techniques can help hoteliers to cope up in difficult times.

With an excellent speaker line-up the event turned out to be very fruitful for all attendees. Professionals from companies like Vincci Hotels, NH Hotels, InterContinental Madrid Hotel (IHG Group), RateTiger, Marketing Surfers/Buzzturistic, ITH, Hosteltur and Sol MeliĆ” shared their knowledge and experience and gave fantastic presentations on their chosen subjects. My presentation focused on the importance of rate shopping, benchmarking and the future of hotel business intelligence.

Today’s paradigm in the hotel business is focused on price optimization where:
•    Price is a function of demand and demand is a function of price, and 
•    Decisions should be based on demand, availability and relative competitor price positioning. 

Apart from the current challenges of managing data and various systems, hoteliers are further facing the obstacle of silos throughout our companies. We only get to see a small piece of the big picture. The need is for, and in a few cases the trend is towards, a strategic integration of revenue management, marketing and guest analytics.

In a world where consumer segmentation is becoming difficult and distribution is becoming increasingly complex, how will hotel executives keep up? Through business intelligence!
 

Business intelligence is moving towards providing:
•    Better industry benchmarks centered on profitability, not just revenue
•    Market relevant price optimization tied to distribution strategy
•    Behavioural economics and neuromarketing embedded into pricing and marketing decisions
•    Integrated technology with CRS, RMS, PMS, POS, social media, loyalty and sales data all blended into one system and/or data source

Hence what we try to derive here is that – to achieve better benchmarking, optimized pricing and integrated behavioral economics, hoteliers need to focus on integrated technology systems.

Further the conference saw hoteliers discussing the growing trend of new positions coming into being – the likes of Community Manager, Channel Manager and Guest Experience Manager are making inroads into the organizational structure of companies.

Pilar Sanchez Aita is Sales Manager - Spain & Portugal at eRevMax and is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. She is based out of Madrid and can be reached at pilara@ratetiger.com.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Road to Effective Channel Management - Part 1: Understanding today’s scenario


Heads in beds is the key driver for all hotels – we know that if you don’t have the occupancy to meet running costs then you will become another of those properties closing each week. The recession has bitten hard but it’s also the result of a much more competitive hospitality industry.

Today’s world requires a much more aggressive approach to sales and distribution. Your hotel needs to be visible, it needs to be value driven and it needs to be easy to book.

You may have developed clever ancillary revenue strategies, improved your customer service or completed a major refurbishment of your rooms – but without a clear distribution, pricing and revenue strategy you will continue to struggle against stronger and more knowledgeable hoteliers.

City markets are becoming more volatile with hoteliers selling on an average of 10 websites, some sell across as many as 24 or more, are you matching this sales technique?

Hoteliers can update their rates up to five times a day to secure their much needed occupancy levels, you too need to ensure that your rates are consistently reflective of market conditions and you do not price yourself out.
 
To help assess the effectiveness of your hotel’s channel management techniques, you need to measure and benchmark your current strategy.

We no longer sell rooms, we sell products. For the guest it’s the entire experience from researching accommodation, booking, checking-in right until check-out.



You need to know who your product appeals to, or who you want to appeal to.

Start by finding out what people already think of your product by looking at guest reviews. This will also give you more information about your guests – who they are, what they like, age, and lifestyle – from a review you can build a whole personality profile.

Once you have identified your target audience and what you are selling, you then need to market it. You wouldn’t market a business suite to leisure travellers, so you need to make sure you are visible in the places corporate travellers’ book.

You need to know what other hotels are charging, make sure that you know the exact value of your product against others. It is important that your walk-in rate is different to your online rate; this will help you secure more bookings in advance while maintaining integrity. 

Check out Road to Effective Channel Management Part 2.

 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Newshound - 05/05/2011

Global Hotel Market Proves Resilient in March

Corporate travel reservations grew in March 2011 over 2010 by +30%, while revenue climbed +42.5%, aided by a +6.9% increase in average daily rate (ADR). Following a growth dip in February, March global leisure bookings achieved the second highest growth pace in the last year, climbing +10.8%, while revenue jumped +15.5%.
http://www.etravelblackboard.us/showarticle.asp?id=98408
New Travel Study Defines Digital Genius
No industry has embraced digital faster than travel. It's not just online sales that are impressive. It's the reality that the digital space is providing a whole new arena in which travel brands are beginning to engage customers and serve them in ways never before possible.
http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=149598
Online travel to experience solid growth in Middle East
The online travel and tourism industry is poised to "experience solid growth" over the next five years - with the Middle East and Africa leading the way in percentage terms, reveals research from Euromonitor International. Online hotel sales in Middle East and Africa over the period will grow by more than 12%, sharing the top slot with Latin America which sees the same growth rates for accommodation.
http://www.ameinfo.com/263959.html
Local OTAs rule India’s growing online travel market
The global OTAs may be the biggest names in online travel, but Indian travelers clearly prefer the flavor of OTAs grown closer to home. A recent report by travel industry research authority PhoCusWright revealed the dominance of India's homegrown OTAs.
http://www.traveldailynews.com/pages/show_page/43037-Local-OTAs-rule-India%E2%80%99s-growing-online-travel-market

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

RateTiger in the News: eBay as sales channel for hotels

Online distribution specialist Cultuzz Digital Media has partnered with RateTiger to offer hoteliers an easier update on eBay alongside other distribution outlets. The agreement makes RateTiger the first channel manager able to distribute inventory and rates to eBay via the CultBay platform. eBay will become an additional channel within RateTiger to sell rooms and update rates and inventory as per the sales platform’s rules.