Friday, December 21, 2012

eRevMax Christmas Party in London


The eRevMax UK team took time out on Thursday 13th December to get together for an afternoon lunch at an Argentine restaurant. The EMEA sales team descended on the London office, armed with Secret Santa gifts and their best festive spirits. 

The team ate as much meat as they could before simply crossing the road in London Soho for a traditional English pub, where we spent the evening exchanging gifts, and stories fueled by great beer (and for some whiskey). 
We spent most of the evening on our feet dancing to an eclectic mix of music ranging from pop, to rock, and classic Christmas records chosen by our own Caroline Faries who pestered the DJ until he gave in and rammed up the volume to drown out our singing. 

Here is our message for everyone this Christmas -


Ryan C Haynes is VP - Marketing Communications at eRevMax. He presented 'The Distribution Challenge' research findings during 'The 3 Ps of Hotel Sales' session. Ryan is based out of London and can be reached at ryanh@erevmax.com

Spanish Congress of Hoteliers, 2012

Spanish Hoteliers’ Congress, one of the most important travel trade event in Spain, is held every two years and took place from 21st to 24th  November 2012 in Las Arenas hotel, Valencia. It is a professional four-day event  to discuss the trends and issues concerning Spanish tourism and hospitality industry.

The event was very well organized, thanks to the Spanish Confederation of hotels and tourist accommodations (CEHAT), the Union of hotels in the province of Valencia, the hotel association of Benidorm and the Costa Blanca (Hosbec). The attendees included a good mix of hoteliers, entrepreneurs, hospitality operators and technology providers and the event offered a great platform for professional networking.

Cristina Hernandez, Regional Sales Manager - Spain, Portugal, Germany & Austria, represented eRevMax and pushed forward the discussions on innovative hotel technology and online distribution trends. Other topics at the event revolved around the economic crisis in Spain and ways to tackle it. The attendees discussed the various issues involving the tourism sector and were critical of the government in respect to the measures taken to deal with the problems in the hospitality industry.

The event was attended by over 300 participants and it presented a great opportunity to meet fellow industry members to discuss trends and business. 

Domenico Defina is Sales & Marketing Intern at eRevMax and is based out of London. He can be reached at domenicod@erevmax.com

E-marketing & Revenue Management Conference, Prague

The two day E-marketing & Revenue Management Conference held in Prague in October 2012 turned out to be a great platform to promote online distribution channels and instruments of hospitality industry with reference to the latest trends in e-marketing and software for revenue management.

With a participation of over 100 representatives and professionals from all over Europe, the conference witnessed interesting arguments seeking to improve sales processes through e-commerce and to increase the visibility of businesses through the use of social media.

eRevMax was represented by Casey Davy, VP Sales EMEA and Aldona Kaczmarczyk, Sales Manager Eastern Europe. They shared a presentation on ‘The changing world of channel management’ which was taken very well by the attendees.  The audience comprised of Hotel Managers and Revenue Managers from Czech Republic and Slovakia.



Casey and Aldona stressed on the fact that in today’s world of multi-channel marketing and distribution, hotels have various new revenue-building opportunities. But they must ensure that all channels are managed according to a planned strategy. Leveraging correct technology tools for the various aspects of communicating with customers is extremely important to keep rooms full and maximise revenues.

Overall the event concluded on a positive note and there was constructive exchange of ideas and experiences. Congratulations to the organizers for the great show!

Domenico Defina is Sales & Marketing Intern at eRevMax and is based out of London. He can be reached at domenicod@erevmax.com

Friday, December 14, 2012

Newshound: Trends and Reports - Cost of Distribution


Cost of Distribution: Out of control or a real expense


2013 could be a turbulent year for the hotel industry should the price-fixing fiasco take a further step forward. Proving yet again, following the collapse of the financial markets in 2008 and 9/11, that while hospitality maybe an old industry dating 1000’s years, the environment of online sales is still in its infancy and terribly immature.
http://hotelexecutive.com/business_review/3210/cost-of-distribution-out-of-control-or-a-real-expense

Best Practices for Optimizing Online Reputation and Reviews

Can hotels really over-respond to reviews? The review page for a given property on, say TripAdvisor, is a social space in its own way. If the host of the party (the hotel) is crowding out the conversation with a lot of jabber, it appears to turn people off from participating in the conversation, with the end result of guests writing fewer reviews.
http://blog.digitalmarketingworks.com/2012/12/best-practices-for-optimizing-online.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+DigitalStreetSmarts+%28Digital+Street+Smarts%29

Automated RM: a game changer if you avoid some common mistakes

True revenue optimisation takes place when one is able to accurately assess the overall contribution from customer micro-segments towards overall profitability. In the absence of an automated revenue management system (RMS) such decision-making and assessment is not possible, nor practically viable. With an automated RMS, however, one is able to process a volume of historical and future reservation data which allows you to forecast in a granular way by customer segment and be able to recommend actions that lead to much greater profitability.
http://www.eyefortravel.com/revenue-and-data-management/automated-rm-game-changer-if-you-avoid-some-common-mistakes

Re-Evaluating Your Hotel’s Social Media Strategy For 2013

2013 is just around the corner and now is the perfect time to re-evaluate your hotel's social media strategy and have it ready to roll out January 1st. If your strategy includes ways to convert more business through your social channels then ask yourself the following questions.
http://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/154000320/4058765.html

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Newshound: Trends and Reports - Hotel Online Distribution


Indian Vacation Ownership Leader increases occupancy with RateTiger


Mahindra Holidays and Resorts India Ltd., the leader in the Vacation Ownership space with over 147,000 members, has installed RateTiger to automate and streamline its revenue management and online distribution process across its multiple sales channels.Twenty-three Club Mahindra resorts have increased occupancy in the last six months as a result of increasing online exposure through third parties.

http://www.etravelblackboardasia.com/article/88090
http://www.traveldailynews.asia/news/article/51108/indian-vacation-ownership-leader-increases
http://www.hospitalitybizindia.com/detailNews.aspx?aid=15315&sid=41

TripAdvisor reveals some secret sauce for hoteliers to increase user engagement

TripAdvisor has crunched a heap of data to find out what increases the interaction between a hotelier and guests that leave reviews on the site. The study conducted by looking at North American hotels, TripAdvisor claims, shows a link between hotels with a “greater number of reviews, photos and videos” and a notable increase in interaction with their respective pages.
http://www.tnooz.com/2012/12/04/news/tripadvisor-reveals-some-secret-sauce-for-hoteliers-to-increase-user-engagement/#W4H9pewPRf3LSHry.99

What is in the ultimate tool kit for hotel revenue managers?

We thought it would be interesting to compile a list with the tools that a revenue manager should have at his disposal. Let’s call it the Ultimate Hotel Revenue Management Toolkit. We have done some digging through our Excel reports, yield tools, systems and technology and come up with quite an extensive list of tools and gadgets any revenue manager requires to do his or her job well.
http://www.tnooz.com/2012/11/30/how-to/what-is-in-the-ultimate-tool-kit-for-hotel-revenue-managers/#9sEpOr7aBOU03Vci.99

Hotel Promotions in a Multi-Channel Marketing Interview with Max Starkov

We live in a multi-channel marketing environment. We are dealing with increasingly hyper-interactive travel consumers who switch channels on an hourly basis (e.g. desktop during the day; mobile device during lunch break and after work hours; a tablet when lounging in front of the TV in the evening).
http://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/154000320/4058674.html

Infographic: Time spent on the internet every month

Ever wondered consumers are doing with their time spent on the web, especially as social networks such as Twitter and Facebook have become intrinsic parts of the modern life of millions. Socially Aware has pulled together a range of data sources to create a decent infographic outlining the above and a lot more.
http://www.tnooz.com/2012/12/04/news/time-spent-on-the-internet-every-month-infographic/#V8RIzorTT6r3ZQ4I.99

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

WTM 2012 – Hoteliers really ready for maturing channel management technology


While in parts WTM 2012 seemed quieter than in previous years, attendees were much more ready to develop more sophisticated revenue management strategies as their pricing structures and sales environment becomes more complex. Hoteliers are much more aware of channel management and the functionality required to optimise the performance of their sales channels.

As they look further into how to improve their RevPar through direct selling, better commissions and improved visibility they realise the importance of having the right tools to support them. Channel management is an outgoing, but if used right the cost can be covered in a matter of months, while also helping the revenue manager to yield more.

Our partners Xotels, just prior to WTM, explained the key to deciding on the right channel manager for your hotels .

Channel Management: an ongoing challenge for hotels - part 1

During the Travel Technology Presentation, The Three P’s of Hotel Sales, Best Western Belgium explained the benefits of the right data and direct access to various channels for over 55 properties


LateRooms explained the challenges faced in the new consumer buying pattern and the points of influence in social media.

While eRevMax identified the opportunities ahead for hotels and how technology must be approached to meet these changing demands.


WTM is an opportunity for hotels to benchmark technology providers and learn about the market, even our own junior team came away inspired and enthused – learning much more about the industry than you can simply by reading articles and making phone calls.

However we have much more education to do, as we launch RTSuite 3 to start optimising and automating channel connectivity solutions for hotels to achieve more bookings at better rates! Check out our new RTSuite 3 in the video below to know more.



Ryan C Haynes
is VP - Marketing Communications at eRevMax. He presented 'The Distribution Challenge' research findings during 'The 3 Ps of Hotel Sales' session. Ryan is based out of London and can be reached at ryanh@erevmax.com

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Newshound: Trends and Reports - Hotel Online Distribution


5 key trends in hotel distribution


The rapidly evolving distribution landscape emerged as a focal point during a panel at September’s Annual Conference for the International Society of Hospitality Consultants. During the conference, John Burns of Hospitality Technology Consulting shared five key trends every hotelier should keep an eye on.
http://hotelnewsnow.com/Articles.aspx/9283/5-key-trends-in-hotel-distribution

Semantic search will be standard across online travel by 2020

Technology continues to push the travel, tourism and hospitality industry forward and make it more dynamic than ever before. But the next phase is where it gets REALLY exciting. For background, this week I took part in a panel discussion at World Travel Market in London alongside Nate Bucholz, industry head for travel at Google, and Andrew Jones, head of search account management at Bing.
http://www.tnooz.com/2012/11/08/news/semantic-search-will-be-standard-across-online-travel-by-2020/

Priceline-Kayak deal: Marketing expertise & global footprint at heart of $1.8 billion takeover

Priceline is acquiring Kayak for $1.8 billion in cash and stock. Yes, read it again. While unexpected, interestingly the news does not fundamentally tell us anything about the industry. Unless, that is, aside from Priceline’s willingness to use its strong stock performance to continue its aggressive growth.
http://www.tnooz.com/2012/11/08/news/priceline-kayak-deal-marketing-expertise-and-global-footprint-at-heart-of-1-8-billion-takeover/#mcFwBaR3aTDH0kmE.99

Exploring TripAdvisor as a demand generator

Market Metrix indicated that in 2010 user reviews became the biggest determining factor in why guests chose a specific hotel. Using online consumer panel data from comScore, we illustrate the upstream impact of TripAdvisor on online hotel reservations; specifically we show that the fraction of consumers consulting reviews at TripAdvisor before booking a hotel room has steadily increased from 2008 through 2010. Not only has the fraction of consumers visiting TripAdvisor increased, but also so has the number of reviews they are reading before making their hotel choice.
http://hotelnewsnow.com/Articles.aspx/9281/Exploring-TripAdvisor-as-a-demand-generator

Social Travel Infographic

Social Travel becomes a travel-planning trend. With so much information available online, it’s almost impossible to using any kind of social media. Reviews, Facebook, Twitter and blogs are all amazingly helpful in planning travel of any kind. Obviously, you are already doing at least some social travel, since you read this blog.
http://beforeitsnews.com/travel/2012/10/social-travel-infographic-10-26-12-2447076.html

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

eRevMax Launches Hotel & Channel Eco-System

eRevMax International, owner of premium hotel channel management application RateTiger, has launched its Hotel & Channel Eco-Systems. The launch will support enhanced and sophisticated connectivity between global OTA’s, Tour Operators and Wholesalers (IDSs) and Hotel Brands’ PMS and CRS.

“We’re forming a stronger bond between demand and supply partners to help them build their business while supporting distribution with scalable connectivity technology.” said Greg Berman, COO, eRevMax International.

The Hotel and Channel Eco-Systems will allow both parties to create more relevant and meaningful business partnerships to enrich the online sales opportunities and streamline reservation management processes.
The Eco-System utilizes a powerful XML gateway that enables hotel companies to connect seamlessly with distribution partners and system providers.

For more, please click here

 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

eRevMax Unveils RTSuite 3 for the Best in Channel Management


eRevMax has launched its third full edition of RateTiger Suite with a new user interface and automated inventory distribution controls, at World Travel Market 2012.

Commenting on the launch of the product Vishal Arora, VP Product Management, eRevMax International said, “Our enhanced channel connectivity technology now provides hotels with immediate information on the marketplace; delivering the status of room rates, availability, bookings and any channel related issues. This will make updates faster and resolve issues quicker to prevent the property losing out on bookings and building additional revenue."

RTSuite 3 has been developed to provide users throughout the hotel property with role responsibility based access, to meet their individual requirements in managing third party channel updates. The third edition also features Allocation Management, an advanced automated pooled inventory distribution system, supported by an intelligent alert mechanism that proactively notifies user of inventory changes. 


For further details, please click here

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Newshound: Trends and Reports - Hotel Online Distribution


eRevMax Restructures Customer Service To Deliver Product Consultancy


eRevMax International has restructured its customer service to deliver 24/7 technical support and full service product consultancy for revenue managers. Customers of the RateTiger Suite portfolio and RTConnect will benefit from immediate attention on all technical issues relating to product performance and channel connectivity with a ‘Follow the Sun’ approach adopted by the hotel technology specialist.
http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com/_news/showNewsDetail-docID-5809.asp

Individuality is key for proper channel mix

An overall strategy for managing a hotel’s distribution channel mix should include individual plans for each of the channels, according to several industry experts on the topic. Experts said that while revenue management and channel management practices have become more technical over the years, neither of them should be considered rocket science.
http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Articles.aspx/9081/Individuality-is-key-for-proper-channel-mix

Victory for value: good deals drive bookings for corporate travel

Corporates are getting savvier about the way they choose and procure accommodation, and a key influencer today is value for money. Firms are trying to extract more for their hotel stays by cashing in on value-added incentives.  Recent data released by hotel distribution technology provider Hotelzon has highlighted the growing popularity of five-star hotels with business travelers.
http://www.eyefortravel.com/distribution-strategies/victory-value-good-deals-drive-bookings-corporate-travel

Distribution challenge: how OTAs are making appropriate use of online technology

To ensure the best possible yield for hotel partners, online travel agencies (OTAs) must ensure that they are compatible with most of the key channel management solutions. At the same time they must aim to increase accommodation choices for travellers. The ultimate aim of the OTA is to expand their global coverage to offer a range of properties from ordinary global chains to elite hotel groups and unique, independent hotels around the world.
http://www.eyefortravel.com/mobile-and-technology/distribution-challenge-how-otas-are-making-appropriate-use-online-technology

Infographic:Turning social media reaction into booking action for travel brands

We know the basics – social media allows travel companies to engage with existing and potential customers and can act as an unofficial watchdog of products. But with 61% of travellers apparently referring to some kind of user review and almost a third posting reviews of placed they’ve visited, for example, what can companies do to increase booking conversions as a result of activity on social networks.
http://www.tnooz.com/2012/10/04/news/turning-social-media-reaction-into-booking-action-for-travel-brands-infographic/#FH7CCAC6MYpKpQ7g.99 

Online travelers in Europe visit fewer websites

When it comes to online travel shopping, European consumers are keeping it simple. According to PhoCusWright's European Consumer Travel Report Third Edition, a Global and European Edition report, online travel shoppers in France, Germany and the U.K. trimmed down the number of websites they visited when shopping for travel in 2012. The percentage of online travel shoppers who used only 1-2 websites to shop for travel products increased within the past year – to 41% in France, 30% in Germany and 37% in the U.K. http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/online_travelers_in_europe_visit_fewer_websites

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Newshound: Trends and Reports - Hotel Online Distribution

Travel products dominate savings from daily deal sites, as does Groupon

Interesting data out of UK-based DealZippy after analysing a year’s worth of deals from across a range of industries and platforms, showing how popular the channel remains in travel. Given that the company takes a feed from over 30 UK deal sites, such as Groupon, LivingSocial, Wahanda and Qype, the data is pretty robust and representative of the marketplace. So what did it discover? Over the course of the past 12 months just over 60,000 deals have been published by the sites it covers, featuring some 22,600 individual businesses.
http://www.tnooz.com/2012/09/25/news/travel-products-dominate-savings-from-daily-deal-sites-as-does-groupon/#wqqk1bl1HsggZhAM.99

The implications of last-minute bookings for hotel operators

With shifting consumer expectations due to the proliferation of last-minute booking apps, hotels must consider the implications of offering rooms via the last-minute mobile channel.
The promise of reducing empty rooms via last-minute bookings is nothing new – last minute travel has always been big in Europe, where the close proximity of dozens of relatively inexpensive destinations encouraged many consumers to care less about advance planning in favor of a lower priced getaway.
http://www.tnooz.com/2012/09/20/mobile/the-implications-of-last-minute-bookings-for-hotel-operators/#XWuUA5BcisbrwrZy.99

More hotels posting reviews from their own guests

The online review of the Best Western hotel in Eagle Rock started with a critical headline: “Very poor quality, will never stay here again.” What is surprising is that the review was posted on a link found on the website of that very same hotel. Best Western International, one of the world’s largest hotel chains, recently announced that it had redesigned its website, adding links to reviews submitted by its guests to TripAdvisor.com. The move marks a trend in the hotel industry.
http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-hotel-reviews-20120921,0,7499976.story

Focus on online search vital as channel grows

With nearly 80% of the average consumer’s Web experience beginning with an online search, optimizing online content for search is crucial for hoteliers to compete in the market. “That’s an advantage for us,” said Tran Hang, head of the travel industry at Google, who shared that statistic last week during a session at EyeforTravel’s Travel Distribution Summit North America in Las Vegas. “We’re seeing a big shift from offline working media to online working media,” said Jack Feuer, founder and president at digital consulting firm Digital Marketing Works.
http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/articles.aspx/9002/Focus-on-online-search-vital-as-channel-grows

Travel marketer takeaways, cross-channel optimization and hotel revenue management

This month’s EyeForTravel North American Travel Distribution Summit was chock-full of travel industry thought leaders sharing case studies, best practices and knowledge surrounding the various areas of travel distribution. From keynotes to social media to mobile to revenue management, the conference covered many of the au courant challenges that travel marketers, startups and executives are tackling.
http://www.tnooz.com/2012/09/24/event/eyefortravel-travel-marketer-takeaways-cross-channel-optimization-and-hotel-revenue-management-video/#mALmDqPj4CZzyEK7.99

Friday, September 21, 2012

Selling hotel rooms - An NIHF event

At last week’s Selling Rooms event with the Northern Ireland Hotel Federation, hotels were very interested in learning how they could control their own inventory. Most of the attendees acknowledged that through OTAs they were losing control over pricing and distribution as they fought to manage the cost of selling through third parties.

While many are trying to sell direct, it beggars the question - how much inventory is allocated to the direct channel and how much to third party, when in fact all channels should have access to the same availability. In many cases there can be as much as 24% profit difference selling direct than across OTAs.

Interestingly, hotels struggled to manage their budgets effectively as some of the revenue management or OTA costs derived from the Marketing budget and others from the Reservations. Why should the direct selling channel come from Marketing, while OTAs are paid by Reservations? Marketing will always achieve a higher profit margin and is therefore unrepresentative of the financials of e-sales.

Many consumers have a hard time booking across hotel websites, unfortunately the journey can be clunky without a clear and easy-to-use booking engines. Hotels need to invest in booking engine applications they can easily install in their website that is similar to the OTAs, this will optimize the booking journey for conversions and mobile bookings.

It was also noted the value of Voice bookings, training the reservations, call center and front of house team to offer packages based on internet rates, and upgrade if necessary to avoid losing the booking to a third party website, which will cost them dearly in commission fees.


Northern Ireland has experienced a very strong year, with most guests being domestic tourism. The national tourism office will be launching a new website at the end of the year that will incorporate direct booking initiatives from the main OTA providers, giving hotels in the region an additional option for exposure and visibility.

Ryan C Haynes is VP - Marketing Communications at eRevMax. He was one of the speakers at the event and shared his insights on how hotels can use technology smartly to distribute rooms online and make the most of direct channels as well. Ryan is based out of London and can be reached at ryanh@ratetiger.com

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

eRevMax Football Tournament 2012


Honestly speaking I am not a sports addict, so definitely not the best person to be writing this post. Infact I have a love for aesthetics and am better off writing or painting! But for a change I was very glad to be a part of the Football tournament this year. You will ask why? Well there was so much excitement around this event – everyone was so charged up and the canteen buzzed with talks of who is in which team etc and I was missing out on all the action, so I enrolled myself to see what the fuss was all about.

And guess what? It paid. Well fortunately for me, I was part of the team which won the runners-up trophy! And I won an individual medal - my first sports win ever!


The match took place in the nearby HIDCO Ground located just behind our Kolkata office complex. There were five teams who participated – Teams A, B, C, D and E. The tournament started with the league matches and after a series of qualifiers, the top two teams went on for the finals. The ultimate face-off was between Team C efficiently captained by Ranjit Shaw and Team D led by Sumanta Sen. Team C emerged as the Winners and Team D (including me) was announced Runners-up.


Given that I played for hardly 5 -6 minutes (given my disposition with sports!) and was mostly in the outfield I managed to get a birds-eye view of all the incidents on-field. Well this happens only if you are one of the lucky few!

So here I am sharing the most memorable and comic moment of the event in one of the qualifiers, my friend Sourav Das was so excited that he forgot which side he was playing for! His teammate Gopal Das managed a great shot and might have scored a goal if it were not for Sourav who saved it – forgetting that he was not the defender of the opponent team but the striker for his own team!

Further, this event helped me stumble upon other ‘sports gems’ like me who manage to mesmerize the audience with their stunning performance and skills – my friend Sujay Ghosh (who played for 8 minutes then returned injured – he was seen on the ground face-down, before he returned) and another friend Alok (who played for 3 minutes then returned injured). Of course I was leader of the gang as I ended up being the 12th man (who played for 4 minutes and returned – touched the ball just once ;-)

What I want to mention is that the idea of these events are not just playing or showing great football skills, instead we were there to have some fun. I am sure everyone enjoyed themselves thoroughly. So – come one come all – play next year and you might get as lucky as me!

Truly a day with a difference!

For photos of the event, click here


Abhisek Gupta is Executive - Human Resource at eRevMax and is responsible for recruitments and HR operations. Abhisek is based out of Kolkata and can be reached at abhisekg@erevmax.com

Monday, September 10, 2012

Selling Rooms


Check out where I am speaking as part of the Northern Ireland Hotel Federation on Wednesday 12th September. Very much looking forward to meeting the hotels in and around Belfast and finding out the challenges they face in their local market.

The travel industry is rather small in Northern Ireland, representing just 4.7% of its workforce and contributing to 2.1% of GDP. The region expects to attract between 1.5 -1.6 million visitors in 2013. For the hotel industry there is a great opportunity to stand out, 30% of all internet searches are related to accommodation for Northern Ireland, so there is room for growth and diversity.

Northern Ireland has fared well so far in 2012 with increases in visitors, holiday-makers and tourism revenue - could this be explained as a result of the Staycation in the UK?

I am interested to learn the scenario for hotels this year, according to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) hotel room sales were up 11% in June 2012 compared to June 2011 and occupancy hitting the 78% mark, up from 70%.

It appears from the statistics that 4* - 5* hotels fared well, infact showing some strong occupancy figures. Though potentially the biggest struggle for hotels appears to be ADR, this has fallen by 1.1% in the past year, it seems that occupancy may have to give way to ADR at this point.

The leading OTAs in Northern Ireland:
Ebookers.ie: One of Ireland’s leading online travel providers and offers flights, car hire and over 25,000 hotels worldwide.
 
HotelClub.ie: Offers over 48,000 hotels Worldwide for bookings up to 365 days in advance.

Laterooms.com: Offers over 500,000 hotel deals throughout the UK and Worldwide. EURO prices available.

Lastminute.ie: Offers a vast range of hotels and discount flights. EURO prices available.

Bookit365.com Offers you direct access to the Hotels.ie and expedia.com range of hotels.

Ryan C Haynes is VP - Marketing Communications at eRevMax and is responsible for driving all PR and Marketing activities for RateTiger and eRevMax brands globally. Ryan is based out of London and can be reached at ryanh@ratetiger.com

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Boutique Hotel Summit: Post-Olympic debrief


On Monday 3rd September the Boutique Hotel News held a panel discussion to review the effect of the Olympics and the results for Independent and Boutique hotels during the period. Held at The Hempel, the session looked at what can be learned from the London Olympics and what to expect over the next 12 months.

The panel consisted of:
Gareth Banner, General Manager, The Hempel
Marie Baxter, General Manager, Town Hall Hotel
Chris Foy, Head of 2012 games unit, Visit Britain
Ruth Mortimer, Editor, Marketing Week
Moderator: Jonathan Langston, Managing Director, TRI Hospitality Consulting


The overview

The London Olympics 2012 is about the long game; promoting and reintroducing Britain back to the world, building the profile of the country across the world. The panel noted that it drew the best of Britain through the media, that was replicated across the world. The mass number of volunteers demonstrated the country’s hospitality and the ability to be welcoming hosts.

Ruth Mortimer said it is hard to say yet how the legacy will be fulfilled, “however the immediate success can be seen in the interest in the Paralympics.”

For The Hempel, the hotel sold out to a single booking which helped them meet their revenue needs. While Town Hall Hotel experienced good occupancy and ADR, but “in all honesty conferencing and banqueting took a dip – we had no weddings or other entertainments because of so many events were happening with the Olympics.” However Marie Baxter noted that the hotel could continue to get success “off the back of marketers, who will bring more people into London."

The panel noted how boutique properties are good for hospitality events with the right amount of space (40-60 rooms) that adds character and history of London through the original building structure that feels historically different.

The underlying theme though was to truly understand what the customer wants from you! With thousands of hotel room nights opening in London that have more luxury capacity and as the Olympic spotlight fades hoteliers need to begin being creative rather than taking everything for granted.

Boutique hotels will need to work hard and be very smart and creative otherwise 2013 will be a difficult year. The UK has had its fair share of international events over the past couple of years with few to come except the Rugby World Cup 2014.  

As hotels in the UK will need to market rates inclusive of VAT, at 20%, the country may start to look expensive, especially to Europeans with the low value of the Euro.

#empty13
The panel talked of the year of 2013 that has little to look forward to. More budgeting, people needing to work harder and hotels to find those hidden gems and stories. The industry will need to look closer at the potential of providing a more personalized experience. By 2014 the country is expecting an additional 4.5 million visitors, a commitment made by VisitBritain.

Distribution
For the hotels, OTA is a dirty word as direct sales are more profitable. However OTAs are needed in January, February and Sunday nights. The Town Hall Hotel works with the Kiwi Collection, Mr and Mrs Smith and other very specific boutique brand agencies, doing the marketing on their behalf. Marie said she works hard to qualify whom they work with and there is a growing understanding with consumers that the best rate is a direct rate with the hotel.
For working with the large OTAs like Expedia and Booking, for them it is a listing, to be on the hotel search engine, but keeping an optimum price on these channels positions them correctly in the market.

Ruth
talked about how other industries have lost control over their inventory Insurance for example - where everything is done through price comparison websites. “People's behavior in how they look has altered and what the hotel suffers from when people are just looking at the big number. It is totally rate driven.”

For the hoteliers in the room being a boutique hotel means they can stand above the rest because they are unique. “We have a unique quality, an independence. We shouldn't be competing on rate but marketing ourselves on distinct differences. We're not cheapest out there and this is why we are not being ashamed of it because we give out more than others.

As for Social Media, Ruth believes it is great if using it for the right reasons. Some for specials, some quick enquiries, some as communities. Such an individual aspect for each business it needs to be considered on how it works best.

There’s a lot more to come from the Olympics, if hotels, the country and everyone works hard enough to bleed as much from the international profile gained as possible.

Ryan C Haynes is VP - Marketing Communications at eRevMax and is responsible for driving all PR and Marketing activities for RateTiger and eRevMax brands globally. Ryan is based out of London and can be reached at ryanh@ratetiger.com

Monday, August 27, 2012

Newshound: Trends and Reports - Hotel Online Distribution


The new Google travel ecosystem… from the user point of view


Back in July 2010, when Google said it was splashing out $700 million on air search and shopping tech provider ITA Software, officials  put together a handy diagram. The online travel ecosystem, as it was called, outlined where Google’s latest acquisition sat in the world of travel distribution and was produced in part to demonstrate to US regulators that despite it suddenly making a serious move on the world of travel, other providers remained and were apparently plentiful.
http://www.tnooz.com/2012/08/20/news/the-new-google-travel-ecosystem-from-the-user-point-of-view/#3BmMKLXOmy0dJPpK.99

Dynamics Shifting in OTA-Hotelier Relationship as APAC Hotel Market Matures

The ongoing battle between hoteliers and third party intermediaries over control of inventory and the customer is set to become more complex as a massive influx of supply and changes in consumer behaviour converge to transform the hotel landscape in Asia Pacific. In other words, expect to see power shifts between OTAs, in particular, and hotels as the former moves in to ride on the boom and consolidate their hold while global hotel brands crank up their inventory in the region.
http://www.webintravel.com/news/dynamics-shifting-in-otahotelier-relationship-as-apac-hotel-market-matures_3349

Pricing strategies and understanding the value conscious and social consumer

New research SAS' Hospitality and Travel Global Practice shows that a low price will not overcome the impact of a negative review. Consumers will look at the review sentiment first, eliminating any choice with negative UGC, and then move on to evaluate price and other attributes. This is not to say that a low price is not attractive, but rather, that consumers are value conscious, rather than simply price conscious, and they will look at the whole package. User-generated content, in the form of ratings and reviews, have become a key part of this value equation.
http://www.eyefortravel.com/revenue-and-data-management/pricing-strategies-and-understanding-value-conscious-and-social-consumer

OTAs drive four and five-star hotel overnights

According to a new study, rooms at four-star hotels in Europe can now increasingly be booked for the price of middle-class accommodation. The same applies for luxury hotel overnights, offered at reduced rates by OTAs. As a result bookings for four and five-star accommodation have increased and will probably continue to do so.
http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/otas_drive_four_and_five_star_hotel_overnights

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tradewinds Hotels and Resorts diversifies product offering with distribution control

Tradewinds Hotels and Resorts Sdn Bhd has increased online bookings by improving its visibility in new markets while diversifying its product offering. The hotel group installed RateTiger’s channel manager, RTSuite, to manage up to 12 channels across five of its nine properties to gain control over room availability and introduce new packages.
 

Hamidah Ishak, Asset Manager at Tradewinds Corporation said: “We experience excellent occupancy levels during peak season at our Tradewinds Hotels & Resort, but we needed more exposure to ensure consistent sales throughout the year.”

One of the largest hotel owners in Malaysia, the group introduced additional sales channels to expand into China and Taiwan and grab a larger market share. From now the hotel can enjoy
greater flexibility in rate management and inventory distribution and thereby introduce three new product types, Advance Purchase, Discounted Rates and Minimum Night Stay, to offer travelers greater choice.

Find out the full story here

Friday, August 10, 2012

Hotels Don’t See Social Media as a Priority

Hotels are putting social media on hold as a marketing and selling mechanism, while they focus on driving direct bookings in response to their continuous struggle for better margins with the Online Travel Agents (OTAs), says research by Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (Switzerland) and RateTiger.


“We have found that hotels work with more travel agents and consortia contracts for the corporate segment, apply BAR to walk-ins, and develop special offers for returning customers, including the introduction of loyalty programmes.” said Horatiu Tudori, Senior Lecturer, Revenue Management, Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne, Switzerland.


The study 'The Distribution Challenge 2012' conducted for six months in five countries, found that while social networks including Facebook, Twitter, TripAdvisor and YouTube are recognised as new forms of digital marketing, hotels are still unconvinced about the impact these channels will actually have on bookings and are therefore deterred from implementing strategies in the short term.

To see full report, click here

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Social Media Monitoring: Why Guest Review Matters?

The world is now online. Your guests are talking to each other, sharing their experiences. Information has never been so easy to create or access.

You too need to wake up – Monitor, Respond and Engage with your guests!

Good hotel reviews bring increased ADR and direct bookings. Consider this -
 
  • 33% bookers change their hotel based on reviews 
  • 1 point ranking is a difference of 9% ADR
  • Increased engagement with reviews brings 5% more direct bookings
Now is the time for you to check out the video below and start managing reviews smartly to improve your hotel ranking.


Manage your online reputation with
RTReview, your simple and efficient guest review management tool.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

4C Hotels increases direct bookings by 5% managing guest reviews


4C Hotels has seen its brand website bookings increase nearly 5% and its TripAdvisor ranking jump from 465 to 434 in the past six months since installing RTReview, a guest review management tool.

Guest reviews have enabled 4C Hotels to better understand its market position by comparing services, special offers and promotions against competitors and to adjust the revenue strategy accordingly. Prior to the installation of RTReview, by RateTiger, 4C Hotels only monitored its key guest feedback portals including TripAdvisor and Qype. However within weeks the hotel group noticed that its properties were receiving significant feedback across other bookings sites including Holidaycheck, Yelp, Trivago and several other websites previously not monitored. 
“Reviews have helped us to understand more about our guests and to improve our offering to meet their needs’’ said Amber Virani, Sales & Marketing Manager, 4C Hotels. “When we see a negative review, we carry out a proper investigation and respond quickly and efficiently to our guest which has enabled us to get even closer to our guests.”

With so many social channels it was impossible to manually search and manage all review sites. “RTReview has given us a wonderful way to measure our online presence and knowledge of how we can stay ahead of our competitors. It helps us to quickly and easily analyse guest feedback from online reviews so we can understand where there’s a room to improve.  We are now offering more promotions, special offers and implementing more marketing initiatives that seems to be of greater interest to our guests.”

4C Hotels installed RTReview from RateTiger in December 2011 that consolidates all guest feedback into a single interface for better management and is now monitoring over 60 guest review portals including Facebook and Twitter.

Review portals have received a lot of negative press due to the quality of feedback from guests and their potential fraudulent nature, however 4C Hotels proves that proactive management of these portals can deliver revenue and bookings results.

Friday, July 27, 2012

NASSCOM EMERGE: Establishing a Niche in a growing market


Last Friday I attended my very first NASSCOM event in Kolkata.  For those who are not aware, National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) is a trade association of Indian Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry aimed at promoting and harnessing IT and Communications technologies for inclusive and balanced growth.

The topic for the event was ‘How to establish a Niche in a growing market?’ It was presented as a panel discussion and was essentially an experience sharing session characterized by a lively interaction between the panelists and the audience. Udai Singh Solanki, MD & CTO, eRevMax was invited as a panelist and he was fabulous on the day. He was joined by Atul Agarwal, Managing Director, InSync Tech-Fin Solutions Ltd and Kamal Agarwala, Founder & CEO, Exactlly Group Of Companies while Indranil Choudhury, co-founder & CEO, Lexplosion Solutions Pvt Ltd moderated the panel.


The session started with a round of introductions, post which the panelists shared their experiences on how they identified the niche segments in which their companies operate today and how they continue to lead in their segment. The topic was very close to the hearts of people on both sides of the table. Most of the attendees represented start-up firms providing products and services in highly specialized fields e.g. weather forecasting, engineering animation, to name a few.

The panelists each had a different yet similar story to tell. The difference primarily lay in how the business idea was conceived. Udai shared the story of how a chance meeting between the company’s founders led to the birth of eRevMax. He said, “Ideas should be rooted in a business need as there have to be takers to start with! When we created the Shopper product, we already knew that rate shopping was a pain point for hotel Revenue Managers and we provided them with an effective solution for it."

When asked as to what the process is to define and succeed in a niche, Udai responded, “To start with, one must focus on both core competence and differentiation in terms of products / services offered. Establishing a niche is only the starting point. Competition will catch up sooner rather than later. Hence meeting the demands of a dynamic market in order to grow requires the ability to identify new opportunities and quickly respond to it. In our case, we continued to identify problems and develop new products to make life easier for revenue managers and today we can say we are the market leaders in hotel online distribution segment.”

Other panelists mentioned how they became niche players by trial and error, as a part of evolving and trying to establish a sustainable business. For a few, the idea stemmed from understanding genuine concerns of customers and a passion to resolve it for them. For yet others the motivation came from a sense of weariness of corporate life and the need to do something challenging.  The challenges faced by companies thereafter were quite similar.

The discussions also touched upon how start-ups find it difficult to attract and retain the right talent pool. The importance of having the right team cannot be emphasized enough!

It turned out to be a great session with meaningful takeaways for attendees. The panel discussion concluded with felicitation of the panelists followed by refreshments which provided networking opportunities to start-up owners keen for more ideas to push their business.

Overall, a well organized and interesting session, and I look forward to other such events. 

Kudos to NASSCOM for the job done well!

For pictures from the event, click here

Anupama Dasgupta is VP – Human Resource at eRevMax and is responsible for driving all HR and Organizational Development activities for RateTiger and eRevMax globally. Anupama is based out of Kolkata and can be reached at anupamadg@erevmax.com