BTN’s 2011 Business Travel Survey: At The Crossroads Many travel buyers this year find themselves in uniquely challenging positions. Their companies are healthy and growing and must continue chasing business wherever opportunities lie. That means more travel, and perhaps more corporate travelers. At the same time, the financial shocks organizations weathered, the procurement discipline they adopted and the scrutiny applied to every bit of spending has generated an ever-higher level of cost vigilance. http://www.businesstravelnews.com/Research/BTN-s-2011-Business-Travel-Survey–At-The-Crossroads/
STR – Positive Performance for US Hotel Industry for May 2011 In year-over-year measurements, the industry’s occupancy was up 4.6 percent to 61.5 percent, average daily rate ended the month with a 4.0-percent increase to US$101.54, and revenue per available room rose 8.8 percent to US$62.47. The U.S. hotel industry posted increases in all three key performance measurements during May 2011, according to data from STR. http://hotelexecutive.com/newswire/37589/str-positive-performance-for-us-hotel-industry-for-may-2011
Last month I visited Durban to attend ‘The WTM of Africa’ – INDABA. It is one of the largest travel trade events on the African calendar and one of the top three ‘must visit’ events of its kind on the global calendar.
INDABA showcases the widest variety of Southern Africa’s best tourism products, and attracts international visitors and media from across the world.
I attended all four days of the tradeshow as it had a huge focus on hotels and related products. The main trend affecting the regional market is the swift movement of hotels from GDS to OTAs and localized agents. I got an opportunity to network with industry peers and found INDABA to be great event. I look forward to the next edition of the show.
Casey Davy is Sales Manager – UK at eRevMax and is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. He is based out of London and can be reached at email@example.com
BITAC is a technical show with vendors ranging from energy management systems to security systems to kitchen inventory management to just about anything that a hotel might need. It basically provides hotels with opportunity to explore better ways of running their hotel operations at affordable prices.
The main discussions revolved around the need for being economical in all purchases. Hoteliers are looking at everything with magnifying glass, very careful in what they invest and how they spend their money. Vendor relationships were touched upon and examples of service providers who stuck by hoteliers in bad times were highlighted.
Overall BITAC was a nice event with lot of networking opportunities and good exposure for us.
Jan Murza is Sales Manager – USA at eRevMax and is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. He is based out of Orlando and can be reached at
I was invited to Ibiza last month for the OnLiners event where online marketing and distribution companies got to meet and interact with local hoteliers. The idea was to introduce hoteliers to the online selling opportunities and the huge potential it holds for them.
Ibiza is a small island where the local travel agents have been the only distribution channels for hoteliers. With online travel gaining momentum globally and OTAs offering attractive distribution options, many local hoteliers are eager to explore and make the most of online opportunities. Some however are wary and still very tied to tour operation contracts and guaranties and cannot play with their prices and allotments.
Various OTAs did presentations for hoteliers, showcasing benefits they offer and how they help them reach out to wider audiences. We did a presentation on how to sell online and importance of managing channels efficiently. Specific focus was paid on online distribution and marketing initiatives that will help hotels generate bookings and garner better revenues.
Overall it was a great networking platform for all involved to come together and share ideas and experiences for the benefit of others.
Cristina Hernández is Sales Manager – Spain at eRevMax and is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last month I attended the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai which is the pre-eminent travel show for the Middle East. The exhibitors here come from all over the world, but the main stands and exhibition space are devoted to those from the Middle-East and in particular the United Arab Emirates.
General sentiment amongst exhibitors this year was a lot better than last, with hotels reporting much better results in the first quarter of the year after a really difficult 2010. The overall picture was though very localised as obviously some markets such as Egypt, Libya and Bahrain had seen almost complete drop-off in visitors due to internal political situations since the beginning of the year.
In regards to the distribution scenario, hotels in the region have really woken up to the need to intensify marketing and sales. The re-initiation of the construction of stalled hotel projects and renovations has restored faith among hoteliers about the future growth potential. Hence hoteliers were keen to find ways to effectively manage distributions and remain competitive.
All in all, a really great way to meet industry peers in the region over a few days at a professionally organised event. Looking forward to the 2012 edition.
Giles Gurney is Sales Manager – Mid-East at eRevMax and is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. He can be reached at
We recently had the Quarterly Sales Meetings in our main regional offices globally. The event saw our Sales Managers coming down to London, Singapore and Orlando – leading to a gathering all the sales force from across Europe, APAC and USA.
The meetings were chaired by RTSuite Division President Keith Povah in the presence of the board of directors.
The busy agenda featured discussions on current industry trends and detailed analysis of the company’s sales and marketing strategies. Keith presented the business plan for 2012-2013 with an emphasis on the constant expansion and other growth plans within the company, followed by the reiteration of the vision, mission and corporate values of eRevMax.
The mantle was then taken over by VP Marketing – Ryan Haynes who engaged the sales team in an interactive presentation on ‘The World of Benchmarking & Channel Management’. Ryan also shared the marketing plans and activities being initiated to support the sales effort.
Overall, the sessions were productive for the teams and it was a great opportunity for them to come together and share a sense of camaraderie. And obviously the after-hours parties followed…
Cristina Blaj is the Sales & Marketing Coordinator at eRevMax. She is responsible for managing all events, associations and partnerships as well as preparing various reports. Cristina is based out of London and can be reached at email@example.com
In Part 1, we discussed customer segregation and selling requirements, and in Part 2 we talked about the various tools and techniques of channel management. Now since you’ve mastered the management of your first set of channels, it’s time to take the plunge and add more channels to sell across. Based on your customer segregation, you need to choose different websites to ensure you have a flexible distribution mixwith both high producing sites alongside more niche and specific channels.
Take a look back at your proposition and list a set of additional websites to target your desired guest.
Managing multiple channels manually is a time intensive exercise. However if done correctly they can bring you instant bookings and make marketing efforts much easier.
To simplify the process, ensure rates are accurate across all websites and to save time you may want to invest in channel management technology.
Channel managers can update all your channels with new rate and inventory allocations in one go instantly, instead of managing each channel separately.
Now it’s time for you to further stand out from the hotel crowd.
You need to drive guests to your booking channels and attract them with the right promotions.
Channel management technologies and web traffic data will tell you where your reservations are coming from, how guests get there and who they are. This data can further help you refine your proposition and enhance your sales marketing campaign.
Placing marketing messages and advertising across the most relevant websites (without booking engines) will bring more visitors to your own website, therefore drive direct sales and cut out the middle man charging commission. This will help your RevPAR and build your hotel’s brand.
Automate your channel management
Hoteliers that have optimised online sales and distribution are taking the next step towards full channel management automation.
When your channels are performing well and you have the full market data to make quick and informed rate decisions you can implement tools to manage rate and inventory allocation that responds automatically to market conditions.
This ensures that your hotel continues to perform and remain competitive even when you’re not able to pay attention.
Pre-programming rate behaviour can ensure that you continually improve your RevPAR.
While rates are managing themselves, you can then begin to focus more energies and time on promotional campaigns; enhancing visibility and consumer interaction across digital and social networks to raise the profile of your hotel; secure more advanced bookings; and ensure you have heads in beds for tonight and the next many nights.
Effective channel management requires hotels to constantly assess, review and optimise the performance of their sales channels.
It’s important to take each stage at a time so you can maximise the results from each activity rather than spread yourself thinly.
Get the first points done well, then begin moving on to the next stages.
Continually reassess and analyze hotel data to further focus your market and develop a stable future for your revenue streams; above all it is important to be adaptable to market changes – as you never know what may happen.
You have now come to the end of the Three Part series, but Remember – Commit to the five pillars of effective channel management:
Knowledge: Know your hotel, your product, your competitors and the market