eRevMax completes 2-way integration with Brazilian PMS provider Check-in

eRevMax has completed integration with Brazilian hospitality software provider Check-in. Mutual hotel customers can now get the benefit of automatic distribution of availability and rate to third party online booking sites whenever they are updated and get reservations delivered from OTAs to the Check-in property management system.
The Alpha, developed by Check-in, is one the largest property management systems in Latin America and is used by over 1800 hotels. eRevMax’s distribution solutions are used by over 9000 hotels to update rate and inventory across multiple booking channels and deliver reservations into PMS. The tools also update availability across connected channels whenever a new booking is made.
“This interface compliments our continuous efforts to offer our hotel customers seamless connectivity between their technology solutions and OTAs. The Alpha PMS, with its modular, easy to use, installable and cloud modules combined with compatibility to work with different models of hotel management gives hotels scalable options. A greater number of hotels can now leverage the benefits of our Channel Ecosystem while streamlining their distribution efforts,” said Ashis Saha, SVP – Project Management, eRevMax.
“This integration will free hotels from manually capturing booking site reservation information into the property management system, resulting in a more efficient reservation process while reducing cost and effort. With this interface, we now provide a 360-degree option to our hotel customers to expand their distribution leveraging eRevMax Channel Ecosystem’s 2-way XML connectivity with OTAs, GDSs, Meta sites and Wholesalers,”  said Moisés Costa, CEO, Check-in.
eRevMax offers seamless connectivity with over 350 OTAs and 80 technology providers. The company is developing its connectivity solutions to offer sophisticated real-time revenue management functionality to the hospitality industry.
Meet the team at WTM Latin America from 3 – 5 April 2018 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. To set a meeting, contact marketing@erevmax.com

With Love from Sao Paulo – Technology Hits and Misses from WTM LATAM

Time is Money!
This statement has never been as valid perhaps as it is today.

I was at WTM Latin America a few days back and realized the truth and depth of this statement while talking to some friends from the industry. Constant news from solution providers and revolutionary technological innovation continues to prove how valuable time is!

For those like me who had their first contact with a computer in the early 90’s and learnt the complicated codes of the GDS used by Varig Airlines (my first job in the industry) – we get amazed by the developments that has happened since then.

Year after year, hotels have had several innovative tools at their disposal to simplify their daily work and facilitate the management of business, but the main concern for them is how to choose the best from among so many options available in the market.

Now let’s talk about Latin American hoteliers in specific. I have been working with hotels in this region for quite some time now and I see that many of them are able to see a new world of opportunities with excellent perspective on improving their room occupancy, RevPAR and overall profits.

However, there are various others that are yet to understand and visualize all the benefits that these new distribution and connectivity tools can provide to their business. We can’t blame them because this technological evolution has been very fast and ran over all the pre-existing models. 

Hoteliers need to adapt to non-fictional reality and try to understand the origin and consequences (both positive and negative) of this evolution.

The new generation of hotel employees is able to adapt more easily to trends and new technologies. For many, the thought of being “stuck” in an office can be the worst nightmare and hence mobility, agility, thinking outside the box and the possibility of managing your work through virtual access to hotel systems is very appealing. This is the era of connected individuals who are constantly sharing with the world what they are doing. They are open to new technologies and apps and are not scared to try anything new.

Think about a Ferrari! Everyone agrees that it is a wonderful car but it just doesn’t make any sense for you to buy it, if you only know how to ride a bicycle. This is one of the most famous analogies that many ‘old school’ hoteliers still make when approached with innovative technologies. They continue to ignore potential growth opportunities that could come their way with the right distribution tools and by selling on the right channels.
They also ignore market changes and think they can continue working like they used to in the 90’s. They think will be able to survive in the market riding their bicycles while their competitors are using Ferraris.

As a result of the advancement of technology, work-flow processes of the past will not survive the current day pressure of hoteliers and is getting altered quickly. Cloud technology and innovative platforms will only help hotels in this increasingly competitive market. In addition to bringing several improvements to the professionalization of the hotel market in Latin America, the greater reflection of this technology adoption will be seen in how hotels effectively meet and exceed guest expectations. 

Karl Marx once said “The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people.”
 
I wish I could show Karl Marx all the technological innovations of our market today and he would, for sure, change his mind. 

Because TIME IS MONEY after all!



This post is by Alex Moura who is the Regional Sales Director for North America, Caribbean & Brazil at eRevMax. He can be reached at alexm@erevmax.com

Rio 2016: DOs and DON’Ts list for Brazil Hoteliers – Part II

In Rio 2016: DOs and DON’Ts list for Brazil Hoteliers – Part I; I identified what hotelier should do during the largest sports event in the world. Here I present to you the second part of this series – read on!

Don’t 1# Don’t be too greedy
It is important for the visitors not to feel “ripped off’ as the peak period customers understand prices better and there instils a sense of loyalty. Even dynamic pricing can be transparent if the multiple factors behind the rate are clearly communicated. The key is to have a clear rate strategy in place based on demand as well as product to avoid extreme peaks and valleys. Past experience suggests that the peak in demand is usually for a short duration. Therefore it is essential to cover the shoulder nights along with the capability to drive higher rates during peak nights for RevPAR optimization.

Brazil is the most popular travel destination in Latin America, and also by far the most expensive. Amidst all these uncertainties, hotels need to have the optimal business mix of comfortably positioned locked base and inventory allocation to be able to adjust to market dynamics at the eleventh hour. Getting the right price and remaining competitive will sail you through this challenge.
Don’t 2# Don’t underestimate ‘social power’
With a highly active internet population, Brazil is region’s most social media-savvy country, with 92% of internet users connected to social media. Brazilians spend an average of 3.8 hours on social media every day, an hour more than Americans. The country has over 70 million Facebook users, the third biggest user base, and the second biggest user base for Twitter and the largest market outside the USA for YouTube.

For the hotel industry, ignoring social media is suicidal. According to a study by Brazilian media consultant eCRM123, 94% of the country’s social network users favoured the idea of receiving customer assistance through social media sites, and 77% of them have positive attitude towards shopping and buying via a social networking storefront. With search engines like Google favouring social sites, having an engaging social media presence only increases the hotel’s chance for higher page rankings in search results.
Use social media page to create brand awareness. Interact with potential and existing guests, and improve customer engagement. Used effectively, social media can be a great tool to develop brand ambassadors amongst customers.
Don’t 3# Don’t ignore ‘online reputation’
With 350 million unique monthly visitors and over 200 million reviews and opinions, TripAdvisor has become the world’s largest travel website. According to a TrustYou heat mapping study on TripAdvisor, given equal prices travellers are 3.9 times more likely to choose a hotel with a higher review score. 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. 
However since guests share feedback on various review and travel sites – all of this valuable information lay scattered and unstructured. It is here that online reputation management tools play a big role in consolidating the guest reviews and provide them to hotels in structured reports. Guest review analysis works hand in hand with rate, occupancy, RevPAR and channel performance to provide hotels with the overall picture. This becomes very useful for the marketing team to identify the potential bright spots for promotional activities.

Mega events like the Summer Olympics or World Cup are opportunities for a country to enhance their image for long term gain. The goodwill can only be earned by excellent hospitality, friendly behaviour and safety. For the hotels, the biggest blunder could be to get too greedy and try to earn ‘quick bucks’ at the expense of long-term customer value and loyalty. Do not abandon the guests, contracts and operators who have supported you during difficult times – you will again need them for long-term success. And more importantly, don’t compromise your tomorrow for a quick return today. Building the ‘Brand Brazil’ will help you with better standing for the years to come.

Image: CC

 Alex Moura is the Regional Sales Director Latin America and Portugal at eRevMax. He can be reached at alexm@erevmax.com

Rio 2016: DOs and DON’Ts list for Brazil Hoteliers – Part I

In exactly 50 days from now, the Olympic Games will begin at the summer playground of Rio de Janeiro. However, unlike the soccer world cup two years ago, the mood seems to be far from upbeat. With the country in political turmoil, economy into severe recession along with global public health emergency due to Zika virus, the time does not look right for Brazil to host the Olympics party.

However, amidst the dark shadow casting over the country, there is something positive for the hospitality industry. The weakened currency has made travelling to Brazil a bargain for international visitors. According to data released by the Ministry of Tourism, spending by international visitors grew by 11.47 % in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period last year. Weakened Real has also forced Brazilians to focus more on domestic travel, boosting the country’s hospitality sector.
2016 organizers are expecting expect half a million visitors for the 2016 Olympic Games, which take place from August 5-21. The recent measure by the government to allow visa free entry for tourist from Australia, Canada, USA and Japan between June to September will also help the hoteliers to balance the shoulder periods before and after the games. 
Brazilian Hotel Association reports that occupancy level at five star hotels during the games in almost 98%. This is 200% increase from 2014, however, hotel rates, which saw 5 fold jump during the soccer world cup seems to have increased by 122%. However, it’s also a matter of simple economics of supply and demand: more fans attended the World Cup, and more hotel rooms are available now. The past two decades of economic boom, along with two mega sporting events, namely FIFA World Cup 2014 and Summer Olympics 2016 has resulted in a substantial investment in the lodging industry with more than 15,000 rooms being added to the inventories.
With hotel industry is moving towards dynamic pricing as hoteliers can now access online rate performance and see how they can change their prices more frequently to increase revenue, all thanks to the competitive benchmarking tools available in the marketplace, the question that requires more discussion though is how should a hotel respond to unusual events in town?
The dynamics of hotel pricing has always been a classic case of cat & mouse game – where the hoteliers have to balance the see-saw every minute on several factors. How do you balance the see-saw of high season vs. low season, an exorbitant rate vs. customer loyalty, price optimization vs. revenue optimization, inventories vs. competitive pricing?  Hotel pricing has always been a never ending roulette for an hotelier.
Experience from past events suggest there needs to be more strategy behind these rates to better align them with customer expectations as this will help build better relationships with potential customers. A classic case study how prices can fall dramatically after a major sports event is South Africa, which hosted the last FIFA World Cup in 2010. The country saw its average room rate tumble by 17%, with host cities Cape Town down by 20% and Johannesburg by 13% according to Hotel Price Index by Hotels.com. Even in the case of Brazil, while the Cup generated lot of attention, the tourist inflow remained flat.
Unlike Barcelona  or Salt Lake City, where the legacy effect of a mega event like Olympics have been positive, lack of competitive pricing or infrastructure has not helped Brazil tourism sector to perform up to the expectation. Will the devaluation of currency and improved infrastructure would finally change the scenario? Only time will tell, but here are a few Dos and Dont’s for the Brazilian hotel industry.
DO 1# Use rate date to optimize your pricing strategy:
Brazil Hotel industry has been struggling in recent years with occupancy falling to 56.7% in 2015 according to STR. Hotels in Rio experienced a 26.7% drop in RevPAR in 2015. Making it more challenging is Airbnb, an official partner of the Olympics, which saw a sudden surge of listings in Rio. With 86% Brazilians intent to travel domestic, recession has helped Airbnb to grow manifold. The home-sharing company has over 25000 listings in Rio alone, making it Airbnb’s largest market after Paris, New York and London.

With the online travel industry still growing at over 13%, hotel industry needs to compete and grow their market by reaching out to the online buyers. Historical and current rate data will play a crucial role to identify the most profitable channels and customize strategies according to market dynamics.
By all means, utilize the high demand to raise profitability, but give attention to the shoulder seasons either side of this mega event as they are expected to be leaner periods than in normal times. Analyze current occupancy, bookings and revenue against data to make the rate level decisions to secure additional reservations. Use Rate Shopping reports to see rates, room categories, and restrictions that provide the details.  Review price analytics to develop a strategy for a lean season and identify the correct channels to promote that plan.
DO 2# Create a balanced distribution mix with regional and global sales channels:
With business travel down due to economic turmoil, leisure travel is going to be the saviour for the hotel industry. About 6.3 million foreigners visited Brazil in 2015, more than half of them from South America, with Argentina alone accounting for one third of all visitors.
With 3 out of 3 online bookings being made in OTA, it’s important for hotels to revisit their distribution mix. While wooing the international traveller is perfectly alright, don’t ignore the all-powerful domestic travellers. It’s vital to add a balanced mix of global and regional channels in your distribution portfolio. Adapt a more flexible sales strategy. Each customer is different, and cannot be handled with a uniform approach. That does not mean throwing strategies & positioning out of the window, but customize them according to market dynamics. Plan for each target segment. Hotels who have applied a more dynamic and flexible approach are the ones that are the most successful.
DO 3# Power your hotel systems with right technology:
Hoteliers in Brazil need to understand the need for multiple technologies to handle third party sales due to the limitations available in existing systems. By utilizing technologies for rate calculations, rate shopping, updating rates and inventory, they can react to market dynamics in real-time. Channel managers are required to efficiently and accurately manage the OTAs. This will allow the revenue management team to focus more on strategy.
DO 4# Integrate mobile channel in your marketing strategy:
Brazil leads the mobile revolution in South America, both by its sheer size and penetration. With bookings from mobile accounting from 23% of total online bookings, this is one channel which no hotels can afford to ignore anymore. OTA with their superior technology prowess is quite ahead, but hotels now need to develop a mobile strategy for promotions and outreach.

Evaluate carefully and create a customized campaign for mobile users. Remember, most global OTAs have a mobile application or mobile optimized website. Not having a mobile presence would mean losing traffic to your brand.com site, thereby losing the chance to get more direct bookings at better margins.

Stay tuned for part two of this series which will be posted in next week.
Image Credit: CC

 Alex Moura is the Regional Sales Director Latin America and Portugal at eRevMax. He can be reached at alexm@erevmax.com

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.