HSMA Pricing & Distribution Day 2014

Marriot Frankfurt witnessed an interesting event last month when the HSMA Pricing & Distribution Day 2014 took place. The forum aimed to inform members about the latest developments, trends and innovations in hotel pricing and distribution.

I was happy with the structure of this full day event as it allowed members to attend sessions that were relevant for them. The day started off with the welcome address by HSMA Germany chief, which was followed by key note session on “The hotel industry explained in five games” by Dr. Christian Rieck, professor of game theory, University of Applied Sciences, Frankfurt. The session went really well as it was quite interactive and engaged the audience effectively.
The rest of the event was neatly segregated into three parallel sessions – Metasearch, Revenue Management and Distribution. Each session had different sub-topics with expert speakers. The highlight of this year’s Pricing & Distribution Day was the panel discussion on the hot topic Meta Search – new opportunity or new threat to the hotel industry. Industry experts from Trivago, KAYAK, TripAdvisor and Google took part in the discussion and shared their insights.
The event provided a great networking platform to meet hotel owners and managers. We received some good reviews about our products and also got the opportunity to showcase some of our new solutions. I look forward to attending more sessions organized by HSMA – many congratulations to HSMA for the successful event.
Alina Wysokowsky is Sales Manager for Germany at eRevMax and is responsible for business development in the region. She can be reached at alinaw@erevmax.com

RateTiger presents at HSMA’s Pricing & Distribution Day

Germany’s Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association (HSMA) hosted its annual “Pricing & Distribution Day” in Frankfurt recently. An audience of around 300, consisting for mostly hotel executives involved in distribution and revenue management, was keen to learn about the latest trends and strategies in their sphere of action.

In the light of rising distribution costs and the increasing feeling amongst hoteliers that they are no longer in control of their own rates, sales channels and products, the guiding theme of the event was how to find and apply the right balance between direct and third party distribution. Clever online marketing, a strengthening of direct distribution channels, Web 2.0 applications and mobile technologies were among the options discussed to lower the costs of distribution. Speakers included top managers from major hotel brands such as Accor and Best Western, HRS CEO Tobias Ragge, consultants and industry experts. Amongst the latter, Ragnar Strerath, Division President RTConnect at RateTiger, was invited to share his expertise.

His presentation titled – “Learning against helplessness – How hoteliers can rid themselves of feeling dependent on their distribution partners” – dealt with options to get back on eyelevel with OTAs and other sales channels. The key message: it needs both distribution management technology and market insight, none of these two will do the job alone. Ragnar explained which competencies are essential, these ranging from insight in the distribution landscape and its options and conditions, product development and placement skills to revenue management, online marketing and competitor analysis. But how can hoteliers obtain this knowledge? While technology can be bought – and Ragnar pointed out relevant features for channel managers and the most important questions to ask possible suppliers – the latter can be acquired in various ways: by training existent staff, by employing specialists, or by working with external experts.

Ragnar listed the pros and cons of each option: while in-house training takes time and hardly ever reaches the level of focused experts, it might also be too expensive for smaller hotels to employ a specialist. For these, consultants who help setting up a strategy and choose suitable technology can be a promising alternative, particularly if these consultants are largely paid per booking and consequently interested in the hotel’s success. Ragnar concluded with some statistics on Ramada’s performance, which has improved significantly since implementing RateTiger, quoting hotel’s Regional Director Markus Barth as testimonial.

The presentation was followed by an intense discussion, which showed that the speaker touched the needs of today’s hoteliers and that his insights were well received.

Jasmin Keller is PR Representative for the German speaking markets and is responsible for driving all PR activities for RateTiger and eRevMax brands in the region. Jasmin is based in Hamburg and can be reached at ratetiger@jasminkeller.com