With over 1400 pre-registered buyers, the 2012 GBTA Convention will have the largest buyer attendance in its 44 year history, which speaks volumes about the show. The agenda looks well-defined and with huge cuts on global business travel budgets, we can expect to witness hot discussions and debates on ways to achieve more productivity.
How do we do that? Well with technology moving forward in leaps and bounds, there will be much to catch up on. And of course I will be there at the RateTiger stand 959 speaking to attendees on how they can leverage our tools to achieve ultimate rate transparency.
A recent PhoCusWright report mentions how quickly corporate travel bookings are moving online, with over 56% of all business travel bookings to be made over the internet by 2013. The technology boom doubled with increase in mobile and tablet usage has converted corporate travelers into corporate tourists. Further with travel managers keeping a close check on online hotel rates, it has become difficult for hotels to disregard their corporate contracts and offer differential pricing.
New technology and software tools are expected to play an important role with TMCs experiencing increased pressure from companies to thoroughly assess and deliver returns from their travel spend. Corporates are defining stricter ROI metrics to ensure they get ‘more from less’ when it comes to their money spent. Therefore buyers need to look at rates carefully and ensure they are getting the best deal – hence the importance of rate shopping tools (aka RTCorp). Our corporate price management tool will give the transparency needed when negotiating RFPs with hotels.
I look forward to all the discussions and networking, as well as checking out what others in the business travel space are doing. Watch this space for updates when I am back from the show.
Jan Murza is Sales Manager – USA at eRevMax and is responsible for sale of RateTiger products in the region. He is based out of Orlando, USA and can be reached at email@example.com
So the countdown begins… one more week to go and Baltimore will have Ryan C Haynes included in its list of tourist arrivals. And why just me? There will be thousands more who would be swarming the BWI Airport over the weekend to make it in time for the big hospitality technology show of the year – HITEC, starting 25th June 2012.
I have a firm understanding that this is where deals are made and where the technology for the industry takes tip-toes, steps or leaps forward to meet the demands of the ever-changing hotel operation environment. I’m really interested to learn who the big players are, it’s not an event like the consumer shows, this is business, so interested to see what will happen?
So what’s on offer? Well of course RateTiger will be there at booth 1716 speaking to the attendees, and I am there to meet the press. After 5 very enjoyable years educating the journalists on channel management this is my time to say “Hello”, shake their hands, thank them and find out where we go next.
The conference part of the show starts with various boot camps, educational sessions as well as CHAE and CHTP exams on Monday. Day 2 looks exciting with an interesting key note session by professional hacker Josh Klein, who will speak about ‘Self Defense in the New Media Age’ (a dose of this should come in handy!). Day 3 includes the much talked about ‘Search, Mobile and Social media’, ‘Reinventing CRM and BI as Revenue Drivers’ and ‘Gleaning Business Intelligence from Social Media’. Given that RateTiger dabbles in all three offering relevant applications, we are very excited to hear what the speakers have to say.
Still – seamless, two-way connectivity will be on the lips, as we continue the discussion to the next level looking deeper at simplifying the complexity of the “Push, Pull, Push, Pull models”. And we will be looking at how OTAs will be changing their sales model and the future role of social networks, Google and flash sales sites in hotel booking strategies.
Other than this, there will definitely be a lot of networking and some nice evening dinners with the team. So, time for a few last minute preparations and then off I go. More when I am back. See you at HITEC.
Ryan C Haynes is VP – Marketing Communications at eRevMax and is responsible for driving all PR and Marketing activities for RateTiger and eRevMax brands globally. Ryan is based out of London and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Are Travel Agents Really Making a Comeback?
According to a recent PhoCusWright study, travel agents have successfully tapped into a market PhoCusWright describes as the “oldies but goodies” segment of travelers – 67 per cent of their sales come from clients age 45 and older, and 32 per cent come from customers who are at least 60 years old. Leisure travel agents said that 70 per cent of their bookings have per-person spending of at least USD 1,000, and that 35 per cent spend at least USD 2,000. By comparison, the average U.S. traveller’s per-person spending is well below USD 1,000.
Pricing power becomes evident in hotel metrics
The hotel industry is back on the recovery race with rate leading the way. The global corporate rates were up 3.7% year over year and global leisure rates were up 7.6% in February, according to Pegasus data. The hoteliers needs to have a clear rate strategy to take advantage of the strong demand and continue rate growth.
Expedia’s social journey into the ‘recommendation age’
Expedia is thinking very seriously about its plans for an integrated social media strategy. According to an independent research commissioned by the agency, there is a strong correlation people actively engaging with Expedia on Facebook and those going on to book a holiday with the site. Expedia also wants to engage more closely with social media for brand-building exercise and generate more transactions.
Distribution Strategies: Working on mobile offerings as per your customers’ behaviour
The usage of smartphones by leisure and business travellers is on the rise and this growth makes the whole talk about mobile product strategy more fascinating. Consumers’ expectations and behaviour on mobile phones and tablets are different than on a website. It is important to understand and accept that people will access many channels and you should be consistent in your branding and experience.
Rate Strategy: Savvy pricing strategies mitigate risks
Since today’s customers are able to shop around more easily, rate integrity can be elastic. They expect high rates during peak seasons opposed to shoulder periods, but they don’t expect a higher rate during the off season. Business mix is especially importuning in pricing, understanding gross-operating-profit-per-available-room metrics and channel cost can increase top-line revenue and profitability.
Hotelier’s 2012 Mobile Marketing MUST Dos and Don’ts
Max Starkov, HeBS Digital’s President and CEO, was interviewed recently by Michelle Renn, Managing Editor of “Inside Hotel Online Today (Hotel Online)” on this year’s hottest topic: mobile marketing and mobile distribution channel in hospitality.
Asian hotel revPAR continues to rise
According to the latest data from STR Global, the region’s occupancy increased 3.6% year-on-year to 66.5%, average daily rates (ADR) climbed 2.8% to US$146. This pushed revenue per available room (revPAR) up 6.5% to US$97. STR Global said however, that the year-on-year comparisons were impacted by Chinese New Year falling in January this year compared to February in 2011.
Search weighing down CRS
Average Hotel Rate in the UK Drops!A global report demonstrating how the cost of a nights stay in a major city can reflect the country’s economic health, has revealed that hotel prices in the UK are stagnating, with only London’s hotels being able to report a rise in the average hotel rate.
Heads in beds is the key driver for all hotels – you need good daily occupancy to meet your property’s running costs and thereafter make profits. With thousands of hotels listed online, how can you ensure your property stands out from the rest?
As online travel grows, accommodation owners need to position offerings appropriately, using the right channels. Google’s success is based on page ranking through keywords and relevance, all searchers will type in what they want to see and results will be made of popular channels. In other words, on the internet, the more visible and optimized you are, the more customers you will attract to your hotel!
Just 10 years ago the environment was wholly different. Booking a hotel room over the telephone or through a travel agent was the norm as only less than 5% of all travel was booked online. Today the travel booking landscape has changed significantly:
We used to distribute inventory evenly between tour operators, corporate contracts, telesales and the GDS. Most of our business was stable and regular rate changes and inventory changes were not required. Sales departments were busy but not overloaded.
However in recent years the internet has taken over GDS and telesales; a 2010 eTRAK Reservation Sources for Major Hotel Brands Report shows that major hotel brands experienced 52.3% of all reservations coming from the internet compared to 22.9% from GDS and 24.7% from Voice (2006 figures show Internet: 37.6%, GDS: 31.3% and voice: 31.3%).
In this respect let’s take a peek into the developments of Y2K, a significant period in many ways. The internet has been growing at a fast pace with the likes of Expedia, Travelocity, and Priceline having launched in mid-late 1990s during the dot-com boom. The bubble burst and many online industries had to rebuild their sales model. Online travel was not greatly affected, on the contrary it started to grow – though it meant the offline hotel industry had to start paying attention and, more importantly, hotels had to realize that something was changing.
By 2000 the total annual online hotel booking rate was around 4% of total bookings. In only 10 years this has reached around 35%, according to a report by PhoCusWright’s Global Online Travel Overview Second Edition, 2011.
This goes to prove the ongoing importance of the internet and the changing consumer buying trends. While it took almost a decade to achieve this level of sales, within the maturing APAC market there has been increasing focus on mobile internet as this is adopted faster than the traditional computer access. This is deemed to grow at a faster rate than the internet over the next decade.
With such changes comes the necessity to adapt. Business has become more volatile and requires adequate planning. Product has to be constantly optimized, prices analyzed and yielding performed. Tasks that do sound natural to hotel operation but are still not honed to perfection.
Staff needs training but not only sale is affected. All departments within a hotel need to brush up as the consumer has options to review services with the general public. From rooms division to management, the hotel has to be organized and prepared.
Another factor, often not recognized enough, is that marketing has changed too. Gone are the expenses for costly brochures. Not that we can spend less now, but the likes of Google, Kayak, trivago, Groupon have taken their place, still marketing but a different caliber with different rule sets. Also, some OTA’s require additional commission for better placement. One could argue that this is not just cost of sales but to a degree brand marketing too. A battle the two departments will need to have in order to best place the house.
Check out Channel Connectivity: The changing trends Part 2 next week.