Improve direct booking through incentives

Mega online travel agencies are costly distribution channels for hoteliers. Hoteliers suffer from huge amount of revenue loss due to the high commissions charged by the Online Travel Agencies i.e. from 10-25 percent. So how can hotels bring customers to their own website for direct bookings instead of visiting an OTA?  A recent survey conducted among 2500 customers by Software Advice finds the answer:-
If a hotel wants to implement your suggestions on offering a free room upgrade or any other perk, how and when should they do this?
Our survey showed that consumers don’t agree on what free room upgrade they prefer, so it’s best for hotels to have a variety of room types available. This upgrade should be promoted to travelers at every possible chance: social media channels, the hotel’s booking page, within hotel marketing emails and other materials.
Is it really cost effective to offer a traveler a free room upgrade just to get them to book direct, saving the hotel the 10-20% OTA fee?
An upgrade to a room with a better view shouldn’t cost the hotel much, but the cost effectiveness of offering a room with a kitchenette, balcony or living room will depend on the particular hotel’s availability, rates and season. Even if the incentive costs as much as the OTA commission, the hotel has an opportunity to delight the guest and drive brand loyalty.
Even though a perk like free room service wasn’t the most popular incentive, do you feel it could still convince travelers to book direct?
I think free room service is a strong incentive for consumers to book directly, as the results showed that travelers are highly motivated by offers of food and drinks. Food is also a relatively low-cost offer for hotels.
Should hotels take the traveler’s age into consideration before offering perks like these, or even certain kinds of perks for certain age ranges?
In general, perks for free food and drinks should be effective for all ages, but different types of gift cards can be more effective for different ages. For example, our survey shows an older couple might respond better to a gift card for a local restaurant, while younger travelers could be more convinced by a gift card for a local theme park.
Were you surprised by any of the survey results?
I think it’s reasonable to expect people to be motivated by food and drinks since dining is such an important and often expensive aspect of traveling. However, I was surprised that the results for the most convincing room upgrade were split so evenly.

TouristOnline integrates with eRevMax for seamless connectivity

TouristOnline, a major online booking provider in Denmark, has recently completed two-way interface integration with eRevMax. The reason for the integration was twofold. Firstly, eRevMax’s leading software has been implemented to assist TouristOnline in expanding their services, not just throughout Denmark and Scandinavia but also across Europe. TouristOnline will also get benefit from eRevMax’s Reservation Delivery service, which facilitates automatic transfer of reservations data booked through their various hotel booking portals like TouristOnline.dk, Hotel.dk, visitdenmark.com directly to the hotel management systems (CRS/PMS). 

Secondly, the software has been introduced as a way of reducing the need for manual update from the user end. Following the 2-way XML interface certification with eRevMax, TouristOnline joins the eRevMax Channel Ecosystem, whereby all hotel booking sites within the group gain access to broader inventory of hotel product, will see improved booking conversion on existing accounts and expects to realize increased revenues as part of its growth plans across Europe.

German luxury hotel chain selects eRevMax for optimizing online revenue

Althoff Hotel Collection has selected eRevMax’s channel management solution RateTiger for revenue optimization. All six Althoff properties spread across Germany and France will use RateTiger channel manager for automated inventory adjustment. Live alerts will enable the revenue management team to track, monitor, predict and evaluate cash priorities across the business more meaningfully.

“RateTiger gives instant control over yield management, allowing hotels to handle more product types while automating the distribution process. The diversification of product and exposure is going to have a positive impact on hotel bookings.” said Casey Davy, VP Sales, EMEA, eRevMax. The property will benefit from eRevMax’s recently released RateTiger Suite 3.0 which sports a dynamic user interface and integrated channel management functionalities, and is designed to maximize usability and effectiveness.

Read the full story here.

Newshound: Changing hotel online booking, How to tackle same-day booking market, Brands & OTAs mending relationship

How will online hotel booking change in the near future?

In recent years, supplier sites have gained at the expense of OTAs. Hotels want to drive bookings to their own channels because the payouts to online agents for hotel bookings are huge. To be sure, commissions seem to be declining lately. I used to see major chains paying out commissions in high 20% ranges, while more recently such high payouts seem to apply mostly to independent hotels. The savvier big chains like Marriott, depending on the online channel, may have negotiated down the payouts to the high teens.
http://www.tnooz.com/2013/05/23/news/how-will-online-hotel-booking-change-in-the-near-future/#dqApEQ1SIyQGSugH.99

Addressing the 3 Cs of same-day bookings: Control, cannibalisation, commissions

With the recent surge worldwide of same day booking apps, hotel chains know they need to get on board but there are significant challenges to overcome in the same-day booking market – to avoid cannibalisation, to avoid paying high commission on already discounted rates and not relinquish control of how their last minute inventory is sold and promoted via third parties. Let’s take a look at how hotel chains can address the 3 C’s when considering how to tackle the same-day booking market. 
http://www.webintravel.com//blog/addressing-the-3-cs-of-sameday-bookings-control-cannibalisation-commissions_3799

Connect to your hotel guests – directly!

Travel brands have a huge opportunity to circumvent the OTAs and connect directly with consumers searching for their products and services through paid, earned, and owned media strategies. Many travel brands are missing basic SEO strategies that would help them compete with OTAs. 
http://www.hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/more_on_how_travel_brands_can_connect_directly_with_consumers_online/

Brands, OTAs mending relationship

Although large-scale hotel brands have denounced online travel agencies in recent years, instead focusing their efforts on driving travelers directly to their own websites, there seems to be a shift in attitude of late. Hotel brand executives are beginning to embrace OTAs again, even calling them partners, as companies such as Expedia and Priceline work through complex negotiations with many of the major brands.
http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/articles.aspx/10542/Brands-OTAs-mending-relationship?utm_source=feedly