Sunday, December 29, 2013

eRevMax Tigers in search of Royal Bengal Tigers


We, the eRevMax Connect team in Kolkata decided to bring 2013 to a dramatic end - we decided to have a rendezvous with the Royal Bengal Tigers. So, off we went to Sunderbans - considered the home to these tigers. The Sunderbans are a part of the world's largest delta formed by the mighty rivers Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna. Situated on the lower end of the Gangetic West Bengal, it is also the world’s largest estuarine forest. The Sunderbans is criss-crossed by hundreds of creeks and tributaries.

We started early on a cold December morning from Kolkata, and after a 4 hour bus journey, we got on the boat that would take us to the forests. As the boat sailed through the river, we were mesmerized by the greenery around the mangroves forest. In just 3 hrs we were out from the ugly concrete jungle and entered the beautiful greenery of a natural jungle.



We were excited when we found a giant crocodile resting on the bank of rivers, deers grazing grass and birds chirping all around. While moving slowly on the river, we were all praying and hoping that we would get lucky and get a chance to see the tigers in all their glory - but alas - it was not to be!

We started early on a cold December morning from Kolkata, and after a 4 hour bus journey, we got on the boat that would take us to the forests. As the boat sailed through the river, we were mesmerized by the greenery around the mangroves forest. In just 3 hrs we were out from the ugly concrete jungle and entered the beautiful greenery of a natural jungle.


We had to content ourselves with the crocs and deers - which in itself was a hell of an experience. The whole journey was an eye-opener as we realized that there is so much life and greenery in these jungles. It was an amazing experience - by the evening as the sun turned red,our boat reached the river bank and we left Sunderbans with the promise to return again soon to this green Delta.



Shared by Kunja Behari Acharya - seen here 1st from right.

Friday, December 6, 2013

TigerTime by eRevMax turned out to be a hit with hoteliers and OTAs

While WTM ended a month back, we are still recovering from its success. The TigerTime sessions we organized with leading OTAs proved to be a hit at WTM 2013. The sessions generated significant interest among the travel industry with a ‘standing room only’ turnout.

Agoda, GTA and Ostrovok - all part of the eRevMax Channel Ecosystem - delivered relevant presentations to hoteliers looking for superior connectivity, new distribution markets and updates on new technology developments.


TigerTime by eRevMax was the perfect platform for us to present our value proposition to a varied set of attendees. It helped us showcase how hoteliers can benefit from our advanced XML connectivity and how they can reach out to our diverse client base. Apart from being a great branding exercise, this platform put us directly in touch with key decision makers who can understand the value of our offerings and with whom we can take our business forward,” said Pavel Babenko, Director for International Markets, Ostrovok.

Here is a sneak peek into some interesting moments captured from WTM 2013



Read the full story: TigerTime by eRevMax turned out to be a hit with hoteliers and OTAs

Friday, November 29, 2013

Top 5 Trends in Hotel Technology: Infographic

It’s no secret that the travel industry is changing and the majority of these changes are happening because of the evolution of guest preferences. Today, a comfy bed and clean bathroom simply aren’t enough and hotels are now expected to have the most up-to-date technologies if they want to keep ahead of the game. eRevMax recently released an infographic, showing what guests expect in terms of technology when they book a hotel today. A whopping 85 percent of travellers prefer free WiFi, while 38 percent cite WiFi is a priority factor before choosing a hotel.


Additionally, 40 percent of travellers travels with three or more electronic devices, so mobile optimised websites are one of the most important factor to the tech-savvy travellers these days. eRevMax suggests hoteliers to provide the service for free to guests who enroll for their select programs, for starters. Such services may be made exclusive for gold and platinum level members or accessible in lobbies of full-service properties.

To access the full infographic, click Top 5 Trends in Hotel Technology

Friday, November 15, 2013

eRevMax receives high marks for service and technology innovation

As part of eRevMax’s continued dedication to customer satisfaction and to ensure that existing and future products are developed with client’s need, eRevMax have recently asked their RateTiger and Connect users to complete a survey based upon the service they have received, along with ease-of-use and ongoing support of the products in question. The results have been published, and indicate that eRevMax deserve their place at the top of the board in channel management. 85 and 90 percent of RateTiger and Connect users cite the software as
being reliable and easy-to-use, respectively, and the majority would recommend the software to others.


Read the full story here

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Stephen Burke joins eRevMax as Vice President - Connectivity & Enterprise Integration

Following the highly anticipated introduction of eRevMax’s Connect software, which allows hoteliers greater visibility to online travel agents and direct customers all around the world, the company are happy to announce the appointment of Stephen Burke, who will act as the Vice President of Connectivity and Enterprise Integration. Burke hails from an enterprise connectivity integration strategy background and will be focused on the task of improving relations between eRevMax and distribution channels, hotel companies, and third party hotel management systems all around the world, with a particular interest in the European market, where Burke will work alongside Chief Technology Officer Udai Singh Solanki.

Read the full story: Stephen Burke Appointment

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

eRevMax hosts networking sessions for Hoteliers at World Travel Market 2013

To celebrate hitting an important milestone in eRevMax history - serving 7000 happy customers - the company attended the 2013 World Travel Market event in London to show exactly why they’re considered a world leader in channel and distribution management. With help from their approved channel ecosystem which includes Agoda, GTA, and Russian-based Ostrovok, eRevMax used this opportunity to show how the popular RateTiger software has evolved and become flexible and diverse enough to meet the needs not only of independent hoteliers but also of mid-market hotel groups and large, global hotel chains. The event took place between 4th and 7th November at ExCeL Docklands.

Networking sessions for Hoteliers at World Travel Market 2013 - Full story


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

ABAV 2013

The travel industry was at centre stage at 41st ABAV 2013 - the biggest travel trade show, of Latin America as it took place this September in Sao Paulo, Brazil. With the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2014, the host country – Brazil was all geared up for this travel and hospitality fair and attracted a whooping 1500 participant companies from around the world. Organized by Brazilian Association of Travel Agencies, this year’s event took place at Anhembi, the largest events center in Latin America instead of Rio de Janeiro, breaking tradition.

Greg Berman, COO, eRevMax and Alex Moura, Sales Manager for Brazil attended the event and met interesting industry players including Schultz who did a theme based stand. The event was an excellent opportunity to make business and build relationships with tourist trade professionals.
The event focused on a large diversity of products, services and destinations offered by the travel and tourism industry, aimed to facilitate the integration between buyers and suppliers and to encourage networking. With exhibitors from over 50 countries, this year offered a series of novelties including meetings of public and private institutions and important international agreements.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cleartrip partners with eRevMax


Indian-based OTA Cleartrip has recently completed two-way integration with eRevMax, becoming one of the company’s certified distributors, and certainly one of the biggest within the Indian Subcontinent. This integration means that Cleartrip’s 113,000 (and growing) hotel users across the globe now be able to gain access to broader products and more availability that allows for increased rate parity, real time availability updates, and increased visibility not just within India but throughout the world. The integration comes as OTAs are beginning to notice new trends within the travel industry, and seek solutions to meet demand. Cleartrip Director Amit Taneja reports that Indian travellers are now looking for ‘competitive rates, exhaustive choices, room availability and last minute deals’ above all else.


Click here to read the full story.

Monday, October 21, 2013

San Carlos Hotel selects eRevMax for optimizing online sales

Us luxury brand San Carlos, located at Central Manhattan has partnered with eRevMax increasing their online revenue through optimal distribution. To increase visibility and boost sales, the hotel expanded their marketing technique to include four different distribution channels, yet whilst this did see a rise in guest bookings, it was proving difficult to maintain manually, with staff needing to ‘update rates and inventories multiple times a day’, according to Reservation Manager Fabio Leone. San Carlos Hotel chose eRevMax as a solution provider which allowed them to control their data across all platforms through a single, easy-to-use interface. The solution has proven essential to the business in terms of saving both time and money. RateTiger will help the revenue management team to centrally manage rates and availability in real-time across a variety of OTAsas well as monitor competitor rates in order to react to market dynamics and improve channel rankingReservations generated from their OTA channels will be delivered directly into the hotel's PMS, thereby eliminating manual interference, improve reservation data quality, and reduce their onward distribution costs.
Click here to read the full story.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Puri Bagus Villa Resorts multiplies online sales with eRevMax - RateTiger

Puri Bagus Villa Resorts, one of the major players on the Bali hospitality landscape, has found the perfect distribution technology partner in eRevMax to boost its online bookings and expand its online presence.
    




“RateTiger provides us with all the major channels to efficiently distribute rates and inventory.  We have enjoyed excellent online sales growth over the past several years with RateTiger as our channel manager.” said Terry Higgins, Director, Sales & Marketing, Puri Bagus Villa Resorts. Indonesian markets are seeing a surge, both in foreign visitors and among nationals, making eRevMax perfectly placed to enable hotels to benefit from the trends.

Read the full story here.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

protel integrates with eRevMax for seamless online booking connectivity

protel hotel software and eRevMax today announced the successful integration of eRevMax’s two-way XML gateway Connect with protel’s property management system (PMS), offering hotel end-users a wider distribution platform to help increase online exposure and bookings.
Katja Möller-Osthues, Director of Sales at protel, commented: “The integration with eRevMax is a win-win partnership as we aim to help our hotel clients improve operational efficiencies while enhancing distribution reach.”


Hotels using protel's PMS product range including SPE (Single Property Edition) and MPE (Multi Property Edition) will benefit from updating rates and inventory on a diverse mix of online distribution channels directly from their hotel system in real-time. The secure XML connection will ensure live rate and inventory updates as well as booking data retrieval, thereby keeping the hotel PMS updated at all times.

Click Here to read the full story.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Beach Vacations relies on eRevMax for optimizing online sales

Beach Vacations, the leading Beach and Golf vacation specialists have successfully optimized their revenue management strategies through effective use of eRevMax’s market leading e-distribution solutions.

The group managed to boost online revenue and expand distribution for seven of its properties spread across Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. RateTiger Channel Manager helps the Beach Vacations team to react to market dynamics efficiently through immediate rate updates. The quick time to market helps them stay ahead while relevant reports ensure the team can plan and immediately deploy new rate strategies gaining broader market share.

“The Beach Vacations group consisting of over 1200 units transitioned from another leading channel manager for the benefits offered by eRevMax solutions. We have found decreased submission time, increased reliability, more user friendly dashboard, and increased reporting with solid information to base revenue management. RateTiger is a well-rounded tool for our business needs, which we utilize for rate, inventory and reservation management.” Will Powell, Myrtlewood Villas - Beach Vacations.

The Golf Capital of the World, Myrtle Beach is home to over 100 golf courses which attract travel tourists from across the globe. With golf tourism gaining momentum and niche travel sites catering to these needs, Beach Vacations is uniquely positioned as providers of some of the finest properties on Myrtle Beach with an unparalleled vacation experience. With the use of RateTiger Channel Manager, the group has managed to expand distribution reach to attract more guests and improve online bookings.

“We are very happy to have Beach Vacations as one of our RateTiger customers. Their unique value proposition got us excited and we ensured we have the right channels to help them reach out to their target markets. Through RateTiger, they are able to make real-time ARI updates and leverage rate movements as per demand scenario. The tool also helps them monitor channel performance showing them the high producers as well as cost effective channels,” commented Jan Murza, VP Sales - Americas, eRevMax.


RateTiger Channel Manger delivers two-way XML connectivity with leading OTAs and PMS. The channel manager helps hotels improve revenue through better rate and yield management from a single interface. It is the most effective e-distribution solution to drive online bookings.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Ostrovok.ru integrates with eRevMax for seamless connectivity


The biggest hotel search engine in Russia, Ostrovok has completed a 2-way XML interface with eRevMax to offer faster connectivity to its growing base of customers. With this integration accommodation provider will be able to update inventory availability and room rates in real-time helping them control pricing strategies and optimize their revenue.


“We are glad to announce our partnership with eRevMax. RateTiger is leading e-channel manager on many markets and our partnership will help us to grow our hotel network both in Russia and in Europe.” said Pavel Babenko, Director for International Markets, Ostrovok.

The partnership will revolutionise bookings and inventory control for Ostrovok, which requires increased efficiency due to hastening demand in Russia, where the online travel market is expected to cross $10 billion, accounting for 20% of the total travel market.


Click here to read the full story.
 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Harbor Hotels select RateTiger for optimizing online revenue

Harbor Hotels, one of the leading hotel chains in Brazil catering to the superior and economy segment, has selected eRevMax to increase their online sales and boost distribution exposure. RateTiger Channel Manager will help them to update rates and inventory in real-time across all third party channels simultaneously from a single platform, while bringing down the cost of booking acquisition.

“RateTiger gives us instant control over inventory distribution, allowing us to handle more product types while automating the process. The diversification of product and exposure will have a positive impact on hotel bookings.” said Josmar de Almeida Director, Commercial, Harbor Hotels.As the FIFA World Cup kicks off in Brazil and over 4 million tourists expected to arrive for the event, Harbor Hotels is looking at increasing their online presence and target new markets to reach out to more potential customers.

Read the full story here. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Citybaseapartments.com uses RateTiger Corp for optimizing rate strategy

UK based agency Citybase Apartments, an online sales channel catering to serviced apartments, has selected eRevMax to enforce rate parity and best rate guarantee for all connected properties. The company will be using one the most sophisticated business intelligence tool in industry RateTiger Corp for monitoring suppliers’ rates across competitor sales channels to analyse its market position and identify any discrepancies.

“As an online booking agent specifically tailored towards serviced apartments, it’s imperative that our customers can trust that we are offering them the best rates possible.” said Louise Rogerson, Supplier Relations Team Manager, Citybase Apartments. Through RateTiger Corp, Citybase Apartment will be able to automatically capture and analyse rate parameter data and can improve brand position on all connected channels.

Read the full story here. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Newshound: OTAs lead in US, changing distribution strategies, traveler's path to purchase


OTAs remain the top research source for US vacation package buyers, says Expedia


Online travel agencies continue to be American consumers' favorite source of information prior to booking vacation packages, despite all the buzz about review sites such as TripAdvisor and metasearch sites such as Kayak.
http://www.tnooz.com/2013/08/26/news/otas-remain-the-top-research-source-for-us-vacation-package-buyers-says-expedia/

RM hits the big stage but must work harder to secure the lead role

Revenue management today is beginning to deliver strategic benefits across the business. With a bigger and broader mandate, RM specialists have an important role to play in communicating with other departments to make the most of emerging opportunities.
http://www.eyefortravel.com/revenue-and-data-management/rm-hits-big-stage-must-work-harder-secure-lead-role


Revenue managers adapt distribution strategies


While new distribution channels are emerging seemingly every day, more accurate forecasting and improved technical automation are helping hotel revenue managers stay sane. Few hotels, unless they're large full-service properties with a significant amount of meeting space, have a dedicated manager assigned to only that property, sources said. Many hotels share a revenue manager with a small group of properties and, in most cases, a general manager also acts as the revenue manager.
http://hotelnewsnow.com/Article/11094/Revenue-managers-adapt-distribution-strategies


The Traveller's Path to purchase


When it comes to leisure travel shopping, consumers spend a significant amount of time online researching options. Up to 45 days leading up to a booking, a consumer will conduct as many as 38 visits to travel sites. Knowing how and when to influence their decision-making process is crucial to generating mindshare and ultimately driving bookings. In this report by Expedia Media Solutions, get a snapshot of how the overall purchase path looks like from initial exploration through the booking stage.
http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/149354/file-271132325-pdf/docs/Path_to_Purchase_Expedia_Media_Solutions_MillwardBrown.pdf

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Spanish hotel major - H10 selects eRevMax to optimize online sales potential

H10 Hotels, one of the largest hotel groups in Spain, has selected eRevMax to increase their online business and distribution exposure. “RateTiger has really helped us to save time and respond to market dynamics. It is faster than any other channel manager when it comes to updating rates.” said Meri Ferrando, Sales Manager, H10 Urquinaona Plaza.

Real time connectivity is directly impacting on H10’s sales, maximising take up on last minute availability to enhance profits from this operational area. Two new properties of H10 Group,
Urquinaona Plaza and Port Vell hotels have been using RateTiger Channel Manager to centrally manage rates and availability in real-time across all connected channels. The properties are also utilizing the eRevMax Channel Eco-system, which offers two-way seamless connectivity with global OTAs to reach out to new markets.

Read the full story here.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hotel channel management leader revamps Enterprise Connectivity Platform

eRevMax International today announced the launch of a new website focused on ‘Connect by eRevMax,’ its enterprise connectivity solution focused on providing hotel companies with a centralized distribution solution. “Connect’s rebranding represents our evolution and strategic direction,” said Greg Berman, Chief Operations Officer, eRevMax International. “We are making key, targeted moves as we align product in support of our customer-centric business strategy.”

Connect, formerly known as RTConnect, the electronic distribution XML gateway for the hospitality industry, provides connectivity for rate and inventory distribution, and reservation delivery to existing hotel management systems. It enables hotel chains to centralize their distribution strategy by managing sales channels for all its properties in real-time directly from PMS / CRS through the web-based Connect Control Center.

The launch of the Connect website will provide a new visual identity - www.erevconnect.com, giving customers all the information about product features, benefits and latest updates.

Click here for the full story.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Adjusting to the Demands of Connected Customers: It’s All About Speed

The distribution landscape has changed rapidly in the last five years with the emergence of mobile as an important e-commerce channel. The advent of iOS and Android has changed the consumer behavior, and shortened the travel booking window. The popularity of same-day booking channels like HotelsTonight.com along with the dominance of traditional OTAs have thrown a major challenge for today’s revenue managers – i.e. how to stay in tune with the booking dynamics of each channel.

The opportunity that comes with the divergence of online distribution channels has also led to an increasing dilemma for hoteliers – how to manage channels profitably and accurately with limited resources. Throwing manpower at the issue is no longer an option. One small mistake and a hotel can face huge revenue losses as well as a downgraded ranking and a penalty from their distributors!

Facing a search-savvy customer, who will on average search 22 travel sites before booking, hotels have to stay visible at every touch point; and this is where superior connectivity becomes essential. In today’s multi-channel environment, keeping up-to-date with the distribution mix manually is not a daunting task, it’s virtually impossible! 

Understanding the role of social search
Over time, the growing power of web interaction, social media and mobile has changed the consumer’s shopping behavior, and hoteliers need to address them by taking advantage of technology to integrate social media into the distribution architecture. According to Expedia, hotels that scored one point higher in the guest popularity rankings were able to command a 9% higher average daily rate on Expedia. Several other studies have also pointed to the impact of user-generated content in the form of guest reviews as drivers of hotel rate and revenue. 

With Google, Bing and other search engines giving importance to social search, customer profiling has become important. Google has been making suggestions based on previous search and purchases for a while now. Major OTAs like Expedia, Orbitz and Booking.com have followed suite. This is where understanding the consumer becomes crucial. The more the revenue manager knows about the price sensitivity of a particular segment, the more he or she is able to price optimally. Social media provides hotels with vital inputs to map the customer’s state of mind and hence elasticity. Rate benchmarking tools help hotels to track the market dynamics and rate movements. Revenue managers also get an overview of how rates are positioned on different OTAs compared to their competitors for different dates on different channels. Knowledge of rate behavior along with price elasticity is the key to optimal pricing.

In the last couple of years, m-commerce has grown exponentially, and has the potential to contribute up to 20% of bookings through hotel-owned channels, according to PhoCusWright. For hotels, it not only means another channel to manage, but a channel to push the last available inventory. How fast you can react to the changing situation will have a direct impact on the revenue! But that can only be done if you are selling the right product to the right person for the right price on the right channel. Hence, it is important to understand consumer behavior and listen to what they are saying and address their concerns.

Future rate data provides revenue managers with the business intelligence important to creating rate strategy with the target to constantly increase product position and price and thus revenue. With prices set in sync with rate behavior, hoteliers have more confidence to manage last minute availability. This rate manipulation both for today and for tomorrow helps the revenue managers to begin improving the value of their product and its price. 

What is Enterprise Connectivity and why is it gaining prominence?
Equipped with sophisticated XML technology in the back-end, enterprise connectivity solutions deliver secure direct links between hotel systems like the CRS/PMS/RMS and the electronic sales channels including GDS, OTAs, IDS, Wholesalers, Tour Operators and other travel sales companies that process online hotel bookings. Hotels can take advantage of these pre-connected solutions reducing time to market thereby maximizing revenue opportunities and reducing distribution costs by efficiently increasing reach and visibility.

The seamless online booking connectivity guarantees real-time information flow, from hotel to third party channels and vice versa. Hotels can respond to market conditions and process ARI (Availability, Rates and Inventory) faster than ever before, while the system delivers reservations generated on the channel directly into the connected property management systems. Overbooking risks are therefore eliminated, as the available inventory in sales channels do not go beyond the defined threshold while the revenue manager can see all reservations directly in the PMS without having to make error prone manual updates. 

What’s more, superior systems can integrate information from all channels, and create a consolidated report in an easy to read format with bite size pieces of relevant information – this reduces the effort that revenue managers have to spend on collating big data and then extracting relevant information from it. Quality data is essential for producing meaningful analysis and accurate forecasts. Reservation Reports, available through advanced channel management systems, provide revenue managers with an overview of booking demand from all demand sources broken down into market segment. By analyzing the performance metrics, they can get a clear understanding of buying behaviors; what makes travelers book the property? Which channel delivers the most booking? Which OTA provides the highest RevPAR? And which delivers the longer lead-time to book reservations? What type of packages are people buying? This data helps hotels identify their most valuable guests, their demography and the channel they are using for booking, allowing them to adapt strategies accordingly to maximize revenue.

However, total revenue management will only be possible when they work together with the sales and marketing team. Today’s marketing promotions are built around rate strategy set by revenue management teams, and hence can only be successful through a cohesive approach. Marketing, sales and distribution departments have to work with revenue management to inform and advise on demand and pricing decisions. Hotels that tie their sales and marketing with revenue management strategies and find ways to incorporate this into their day-to-day revenue plans will lead their competitive sets and ultimately find themselves ahead on the bottom line.

The key to reducing distribution costs and improving profitability depends on how skillfully one can align one's marketing strategy with the right technology. Technology helps hotels determine new metrics to measure total revenue management. A single integrated enterprise connectivity system saves time, reduces costs, and enables revenue managers to focus on the data at hand in order to make better decisions to increase revenue. The future will start now if we could change the way we do our job differently. 

This article by Michael McCartan, CEO, eRevMax, is published on Global Hotel Network.

Friday, August 16, 2013

eRevMax connects with GTA

Global wholesale travel provider GTA and eRevMax, the automated online distribution and channel management specialist, have established a two-way XML connection for rate, inventory and reservation distribution between properties on GTA’s booking systems and subscribers of eRevMax. “This powerful and seamless integration will significantly reduce time to update reservation data while ensuring customer data is entered accurately into the hotel system.” said Greg Berman, COO, eRevMax International.

GTA, a part of part of worldwide wholesale travel provider, Kuoni group, provides its services in over 190 countries. Properties on GTA’s booking systems will benefit from eRevMax’s Reservation Delivery service, which facilitates automatic transfer of reservations data booked through GTA’s online sales channels directly to the hotel property management system (PMS). The hotels can also process rate and inventory updates through RateTiger’s XML interface transferring data in real-time helping them control pricing strategies and optimise revenue.

Click here to read the full story.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Yatra.com & Travelguru.com complete XML integration with eRevMax

Leading Indian online travel agencies, Yatra.com and Travelguru.com have integrated with eRevMax to offer XMLconnectivity to their growing base of hotel customers. Following a two-way XML interface certification with eRevMax to leverage its RateTiger and Connect enterprise distribution services, Yatra and Travelguru.com join a growing list of certified distributors; part of the eRevMax Channel Ecosystem.

“Our integration with eRevMax will help our hotel partners to update rates and inventories in our sales channels in real-time, enabling us to bring the best offers to our customers.” said Arun P Ajayan, Key Account Manager, Travelguru.com. From now the two online travel agencies will be able to gain access to broader products and more inventories, improve booking conversion and increase revenues as part of its growth plans across the Asia Pacific region. Yatra is the second largest online travel services provider in India. Travelguru has the country’s largest hotel network with over 9000 domestic and 300,000 worldwide properties.

Read the full story here

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Transhotel becomes a certified eRevMax distributor

Global travel services provider Transhotel has joined the eRevMax Channel Ecosystem – a collection of certified demand partners having two way XML connection pre-configured for rate, inventory and reservation distribution to help hotels take online sales to the next level.
Transhotel, which collaborates with 78,800 travel agencies and offers a portfolio of more than 60,000 hotels internationally, will be a great platform for eRevMax's hotel clients looking to expand their visibility by promoting inventory globally and creating incremental business opportunities.
“This integration will enable eRevMax hotel users to process rate and inventory updates via the advanced XML interface transferring data in real-time, while also receiving reservation data generated from the Transhotel extranet. The seamless connectivity aims at enhancing data flow, which will greatly reduce time to market, thereby helping hotels place immediate updates depending on the latest market scenario. This will further help hotels to continuously generate incremental and guaranteed business through RateTiger updates," said Natalia Fernández, Chief Contracting & Product Officer at Transhotel.
The hotel channel management specialist has been developing its distribution network to offer advanced connections to RateTiger and Connect enterprise platform users. eRevMax aims to help industry partners better match supply with relevant demand in a timely manner thereby creating new business opportunities.
Read the full story here.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Three Strategies to Boost Direct Bookings and Still Appease OTAs

Travelocity, Hotwire, Priceline and other travel deal sites require hotels to pay significant commission fees in exchange for bookings. While this is an important revenue source for the industry, some hotels have experienced an increasing percentage of their business moving to these channels (effectively reducing the amount of undocked reservations they receive).

One primary reason for this trend is the assumption that these online travel agencies (OTAs) will always have the better deal. While rate parity clauses prevent hotels from publicly advertising rates for less than what's on the OTA, there are strategies property owners can use to entice more customers to book direct.

Recently, my company interviewed several hotel management software and hotel marketing experts to help brainstorm several ways hotels can drive direct bookings. Here's what they suggested:

Blog About Great Deals and Share The Posts
Your blog is a great avenue for both reminding potential customers why that moment is a great time to travel, and for pitching them on deals relevant to whatever event or season might be happening. You can send these articles to your email list, as well as optimize them with keywords that have high search traffic. This latter strategy can drive more organic traffic to your website. For example, “SXSW hotels” receives 170 searches per month, so Austin-area hotels could write blogs optimized for that keyword so they rank when people search for that term in Google. Here's an example of a blog post advertising Spring time events in the area around The Sanctuary Beach Resort in Monterey Bay:


Hook Viewers with Strategic Design
Often, travelers shopping on OTAs visit the hotel's website to learn more about the accommodations offered. This is your chance to capture those site visitors and stop them from going back to the OTA. This takes smart web design.

First off, make it as clear and hassle-free as possible to book. Provide “book now” buttons on every page that link to your hotel booking automation system. These buttons should be located at the top of the page so they are the first thing customers see. Also, include call-to-actions on every page that encourages visitors to “sign up for our email list for exclusive discounts,” or “Like on us on Facebook for special deals.”

Also, many customers assume they will get the “least desirable rooms” if they book on an OTA. So you need to show them what your best rooms look like immediately. This could convince them it's worth splurging on your room rather than an OTA room. Make sure your most attractive rooms, views and balconies (if you have them) are front and center (like on your homepage). These images need to be professionally taken, high quality and show the best parts of your most desired rooms - soaking tubs, incredible views, large windows and so on.

By implementing these tips, savvy hotel managers can drive customers to their own website without upsetting their OTA and still reap the clear benefits of using OTAs. Rather than a battle, it can be a win for everyone involved.

Interact with Customers on Review Sites
Many times when customers use OTAs, they get a list of five or so properties in a similar price range. In addition to visiting the hotel websites, they might also go to something like Yelp or TripAdvisor. This presents another opportunity to draw customers to your own site, rather than having them go back to the OTA to book.

When customers post reviews about your hotel, you need to try your best to answer as many as possible, where they're positive or negative. Review, a web-based tool by eRevMax, makes monitoring these reviews as easy as checking emails. The application scours all hotel review sites and collects every mention of your hotel in one location. It also lets you respond directly to guests without ever leaving its interface, cutting down time spent hopping from one review site to another for an effective hotel guest review management process.

Besides just viewing and responding to comments, the tool gives you a deeper understanding of your customers. You can see exactly what's working and what's not, trends among customers, and also how your hotel stacks up compared to your competitors.

How do you increase direct bookings? Let us know!


Alan S. Horowitz contributed to this report.

Ashley Verrill is an analyst with Software Advice. She has spent the last six years reporting and writing business news and strategy features. Her work has been featured or cited in Inc., Forbes, Business Insider, GigaOM, CIO.com, Yahoo News, the Upstart Business Journal, the Austin Business Journal and the North Bay Business Journal, among others. She also produces original research-based reports and video content with industry experts and thought leaders.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bourbon Hotels & Resorts uses RateTiger for rate and inventory management

Bourbon Hotels & Resorts, one of the major hospitality players in Brazil, has signed up eRevMax to increase their online business penetration and revenue. “RateTiger will help Bourbon Hotels & Resorts have complete control over revenue management. They will be able to identify the best producing websites, while also improving the relationship with channels that have a lower commission.” said Jan Murza, VP-Sales, Americas, eRevMax International.

Online travel is growing at over 18% in Brazil, and expected to cross USD 20 billion by 2014, as the leisure tourism sector gets a huge boost from international tourists visiting the country for the FIFA World Cup. Ten properties will be using RateTiger Channel Manager to increase online sales by ensuring real-time room availability across all distribution points through automatic adjustment from pooled inventory.

Read the full story here

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Curious Case of Guest Reviews

Being a part of the industry, hotel reviews are something I always take with a pinch of salt, especially those making extremely negative remarks in online reputation sites.  However, the internet is a place for opinions and if many more people join in the chorus to say negative remarks about the property, then I would rather give it a miss than taking a chance on a booking. But does that really mean that it is a bad hotel?  

Truth be told, if more people are not happy with the property than are happy, then there must be something wrong with it. Guests express their dissatisfaction when they have bad experience. The first lesson of the service industry is that customer is the king, and in this age of hyper-activity in the internet, they rule.

As simple as coffee makers
I worked in a hotel where a decision was made to pull off all the coffee makers from the rooms.  Management decided that it would save money in the long run because they would be cutting the cost of replacing and stocking this one guest amenity and could focus time and money in other areas.  There was a café in the lobby and so at check-in, guests were given a voucher to use at the café.  You would think the problem was solved. Well, not quite!

Guests began to leave negative reviews not only on travel sites, but also through the hotel’s internal guest feedback form.  It seemed that one amenity affected their entire stay and made them question the worth of the room.  To appease the guests, rate adjustments had to be made; additionally they were provided complimentary coffee from the café.  Our ranking on TripAdvisor went down because our competitors continued to supply coffee-makers in their rooms and so guests felt they were getting more for their money.  Another decision was made by the executive team and coffee makers were placed back in the rooms so that we could recover from the guest backlash.  

Unknowingly (or maybe not) guests have placed themselves at the decision-making table of most hotels!

Stitching it together
As revenue management evolves, it is getting away from simple rate management and is now incorporating customer relations and social media into its strategy. The more satisfied guests you have, the more likely the guest is to return and spend more money, as well as telling others so they will visit and spend money as well. Hence reputation has a positive correlation with the hotel’s overall Average Daily Rate (ADR) and revenue. The time has come for the revenue management department to work hand in hand with the marketing department.

A recent survey by Laterooms.com suggests that 90% of travelers would avoid booking hotels labelled as “dirty” in online review sites. Sure, the situation might not be as bad as the guest made it seem, but the hotel cannot prevent the reviewer from expressing his/her opinion. However the beauty of online reputation sites is that most will give the hotel an option to respond. And the hotel needs to do just that - Respond! More so for negative reviews!

As an hotelier, facing these challenges can be a nightmare, especially when it hits you out of the blue. Therefore, it is essential to take an analytical approach to understand your strengths and weaknesses as per your guests and take a cohesive approach to address these issues. However since guests share feedback on various review and travel sites – all this valuable information lay scattered and unstructured. It is here that online reputation management tools play a big role in consolidating these guest reviews and provide them to hotels in structured reports. Usually, these tools pull guest feedback from various review websites including Qype, Holidaycheck, Yelp, Expedia, Facebook, Twitter etc. 

Data is then compiled together into review reports which include guest details (as it appears on the site) along with their feedback and the rating they provide to the hotel. eRevMax, the company I worked for has its reputation management tool – RateTiger Review, which uses sentiment analysis to understand the guest’s emotion towards various aspects of the property. Keywords relevant to the properties are then identified, and ranked based on their popularity, frequency of mentions, and guests’ sentiments towards that category.

In other words, semantic analysis gives out a snapshot of what’s right and what’s wrong with
the property. For the hotel, it serves as a measurement of guests’ perception against intended brand positioning. For the marketing team this analysis provides a key insight into guests’ preference, which will help them customize their promotions to have a direct resonance with customer sentiment. From the operational perspective, you now know the areas you need to address the most. For instance, if a hotel continuously keeps getting comments that their rooms are outdated and uncomfortable; this is an indication to the management to invest in renovation to ensure guest satisfaction, as well as attract new guests.  Guest review analysis works hand in hand with rate, occupancy, RevPAR and channel performance to provide hotels with the overall picture, and efficiently use Price Quality metrics to make strategic rate decisions.

Managing your feedback
The explosion of social media has made it almost impossible for hotels to ignore online reputation. According to recent studies, one third of consumers will not book a hotel room without first reading reviews first (Laterooms Survey, Nov 2012). Reviews with a rating on 4 - 5 generate more than double the conversion compared to a review with 1.0 – 2.9 rating on Expedia. Hotels that have a higher guest score typically will have better placement on the travel sites.  A better placement on the travel site means more bookings.  More bookings mean a higher room rate, and eventually higher revenue for the hotel.  

Take the example of Slovenia based LifeClass Hotels & Spa, which has experienced a surge in repeat business by developing a post-stay, guest engagement through online guest review websites. Each property assesses the information and responds to guest reviews from social channels like Facebook, Yelp, etc along with those associated with sales channels (like Booking and Expedia) multiple times a day. “We have been actively monitoring guest reviews of our properties as well as those of our competitors. RateTiger Review has helped us to respond pro-actively to negative reviews, and address our product offerings,” observed Alen Milosevic. This has resulted in 30% revenue growth in 2012.

What’s more, an improved ranking has a positive correlation with direct booking. For 4C Hotels in London, pro-active guest engagement has resulted in a 5% increase in direct booking. “Whenever we see a negative posting, we action a proper investigation to find out what went wrong. We don’t make the same mistakes as before, we are able to identify them and address them,” says Asad Zaheruddin, General Manager at the hotel.

A strong visible position on guest review websites indicate that your Price Quality Index is working well, that will enable you to make the right pricing decisions based on RevPAR performance.  This will allow the hotel to flex their rates based on a number of pricing strategies depending on booking levels. However, there are no short cuts. It is an evolving process that has to start today! As we move towards the age of consumer controlled brand conversations, hotels need to integrate customer feedback into their business approach and strategy planning.

Revenue management was always a game of chess and now even more pieces are being added to the board. By staying actively engaged with guests, hotels can ensure a more consistent and loyal base. Are you listening?


Authored by Rose Adegite, ex-Revenue Manager; adapted by Aparna Bhattacharya, PR Lead at eRevMax.