Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Flash Sales – the future of hotel booking


Flash Sales offer great deals for a very limited time, they can often have much tougher terms and conditions to many other offers that can make it difficult for travelers to cash-in their voucher. Yet some hotels are seeing this as a great way to promote their hotel and show travelers what they can offer.

One hotel I spoke to offered 75% off their standard rate, and this is in London – what a potentially excellent deal. But as a traveler it is really worth price shopping and seeing what rates are on the market, across traditional booking channels, to make sure it is a great deal.

Yet tapping into travelers with a budget mindset is ideal as the speed of purchase encourages them to buy faster.

A few places you can find these interesting deals include Secret Escapes, GroupOn, Living Social, Voyageprive.com and Travel Zoo. I recently attended an event organized by HOSPA – an association for hoteliers to find out more.

As a hotelier – you do need to think of what brand represents your hotel. You need to agree with the supplier a sustainable pricing model on the discount and commission the website charges. Don’t get surprised if the results don’t come in as you expect, nothing worse than planning booking based on a pure marketing promotion.

The HOSPA panel agreed that on the whole, those who bought these Flash Sales were often consumers who can afford to spend several hundred in a daily deal, making a decision in a moment.

 
Advising hotels on how to make the most of Flash Sales, Nick Stafford, General Manager of Escapes Europe of Living Social remarked: “The worst thing you can do is discount heavily to your own customers. I booked a flight and 2 days later received a discount promotion of 60% from that airline. Discounting to loyal customers is dangerous and can reduce the value of your product as they just hang around waiting for the sale,” Nick felt short changed by the airline. “Our offers are for a specific time, feeding recipients needs then and there.”

However hotels maybe trying these new forms of social and digital marketing, yet are still very behind on the online basics, TravelZoo still needs to create web landing pages for hotels that (believe it or not) still do not have websites. Then these hotels complain when they don’t get the results they need. To me, hotels need to get a grip with the basics before trying this method of sales.

The only advice these channels seem to offer to hotels is to think in advance, do not call up last minute desperate to fill the hotel. This is not last minute bookings, these are future bookings aimed at helping the quiet periods, and revenue managers should know the weeks when the hotel is usually quiet.

There are no exact figures on how much these flash sales cost, it will be anywhere between 10% - 50% commission depending on the offer, the location of the property and the brand.

I am hoping that independent hotels are offered good deals, but I get the impression it maybe more financially challenging for small independent properties.

Some immediate tips for hotels:
  • Select the right channel that markets hotels like your property
  • Identify the lowest rate you publish and can make money from
  • Build from this lowest rate, taking into account maximum commission you are willing to pay before you make a loss
  • Look at your additional services – value-adds – and see how you can create a great package offer that costs you very little
  • Get a good idea of how the flash sales members behave to identify the best price

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

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

HITEC 2012


So the countdown begins… one more week to go and Baltimore will have Ryan C Haynes included in its list of tourist arrivals. And why just me? There will be thousands more who would be swarming the BWI Airport over the weekend to make it in time for the big hospitality technology show of the year – HITEC, starting 25th June 2012.

I have a firm understanding that this is where deals are made and where the technology for the industry takes tip-toes, steps or leaps forward to meet the demands of the ever-changing hotel operation environment. I’m really interested to learn who the big players are, it’s not an event like the consumer shows, this is business, so interested to see what will happen?

So what’s on offer? Well of course RateTiger will be there at booth 1716 speaking to the attendees, and I am there to meet the press.  After 5 very enjoyable years educating the journalists on channel management this is my time to say “Hello”, shake their hands, thank them and find out where we go next.

The conference part of the show starts with various boot camps, educational sessions as well as CHAE and CHTP exams on Monday. Day 2 looks exciting with an interesting key note session by professional hacker Josh Klein, who will speak about ‘Self Defense in the New Media Age’ (a dose of this should come in handy!).  Day 3 includes the much talked about ‘Search, Mobile and Social media’, ‘Reinventing CRM and BI as Revenue Drivers’ and ‘Gleaning Business Intelligence from Social Media’. Given that RateTiger dabbles in all three offering relevant applications, we are very excited to hear what the speakers have to say.

Still – seamless, two-way connectivity will be on the lips, as we continue the discussion to the next level looking deeper at simplifying the complexity of the “Push, Pull, Push, Pull models”. And we will be looking at how OTAs will be changing their sales model and the future role of social networks, Google and flash sales sites in hotel booking strategies.

Other than this, there will definitely be a lot of networking and some nice evening dinners with the team. So, time for a few last minute preparations and then off I go. More when I am back. See you at HITEC.

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

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Paul Hotels Achieves Online Rate Parity


The Paul Resorts & Hotels has further developed its revenue management operations to improve rate parity across multiple online sales bookings channels. The group implemented advanced allocation management capabilities through RateTiger's Channel Manager to improve its position and rate management with third parties.

The award-winning luxury property in India has been selling across 15 online channels and wanted to ensure the same rates were available to customers across all channels. However, managing so many OTAs manually was becoming a challenge, especially when guests were discovering rate inconsistencies. To main group sales sells across global booking portals as well as regional OTAs with the prospect to add more channels the properties chose RateTiger.


“Given our small inventory and high occupancy rates throughout the year it’s essential we engage in more future planning across our sales channels.” said Shelley Thayil, Director of Revenue Management.