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
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
US hotels enjoyed close to 10% profit increase in 2010
While 70 percent of the properties in the Trends® hotel financial sample enjoyed an increase in revenues in 2010, only 60 percent were able to convert that into more money in the bank, indicating that the turnaround in industry performance has not occurred evenly across all sectors of the U.S. lodging industry. http://www.4hoteliers.com/4hots_nshw.php?mwi=8640
Who are my ‘true’ hotel competitors?
While the question will continue to linger, technology, resources and analytics will continue to evolve. This will undoubtedly provide us with greater insights and strengthen the position of individuals involved in those lively boardroom discussions. http://www.hsmaieconnect.org/blog/Who_are_my_true_competitors
Social media significant traffic source for 78% of travel sites
RateTiger, the premium channel manager, has announced the launch of RTChannels – a complimentary service for member hotels to better manage existing and new online channel partnerships.
The RTChannels platform provides all relevant content on the online travel agents and third party channels that are connected to RateTiger. The new system provides customised search functionality to filter and select channels that best fit hoteliers’ product and provides additional revenue and sources of business for their property.
With over 700 connections, RateTiger has the largest online channel network amongst the channel managers.
We looked at today’s economics and selling requirements in Road to Effective Channel Management Part 1. We also saw the importance of customer segregation and the need to offer right product to the right people through the right channel. Now we move forward to look at various other parameters and tools that would help you manage online distribution with ease and efficiency.
Own website and Booking engine
Your own website will give guests the chance to discover more about the hotel directly from you and not third parties. The website should be user-friendly with clear descriptions, photos, guest reviews and directions to the hotel.
Integrate a booking engine and you can begin capturing more direct bookings to avoid commission charges from Online Travel Agents (OTAs).
If you want your property to build its own brand and stand out from the rest, you may want to invest in search engines through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to allow travellers to find you easier.
If you implement web analytics you will be able to assess where your visits are coming from – but be aware that it may take up to a year before you begin seeing consistent trends.
Online partners and GDS
Effective channel management is about managing multiple channels and optimising the bookings and revenue you can achieve from these. The days of putting all your eggs in one basket are well and truly gone.
Begin by identifying a few essential online channels where you would like to get bookings. You may feel you need to be on the popular OTAs like Expedia, booking.com, lastminute.com, or on more local websites or specialist boutique channels.
When choosing the channels you must keep your proposition in mind; why sell an upmarket room on a budget website? Once you have identified your first channels you have made your first step to successful channel management.
Research social and digital marketing
There’s no escaping the digital revolution and with this comes a multitude of websites, social networks and interactive channels that should be considered in the hotel’s long-term strategy.
You need to identify prospects on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or more specific channels; be it wedding and honeymoon or relocation websites.
By assessing the sales potential here you can also assess your hotels reputation through online reviews and at this stage begin responding positively to guests’ feedback.
Proposition is the name of the game and price is the leading element of its value.
You need to know your competitors and their rates to help you position your rates accordingly.
Hoteliers who observe and benchmark competitor rates are more likely to set the right rates for the market and therefore secure those additional bookings. It is important you do not out price your hotel either too low or too high then the market value.
By constantly monitoring rates both for immediate bookings and in the future you can ensure that you have a highly visible proposition to secure more advanced bookings.
Price shopping data allows you to respond more readily and adapt to market conditions. Today rates are dynamic and not linear, by keeping an eye on competitor rates will keep you in the game.
Check out Road to Effective Channel Management Part 3.