HITEC 2012


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 ryanh@ratetiger.com

ITB Berlin 2012

The travel industry was at centre stage at ITB Berlin – the world’s biggest travel trade show, and one of the best predictors of upcoming trends in the industry. 

With over 230 travel technology companies exhibiting and over 110,000 trade visitors attending, the technology halls were buzzing with activities. The industry is really embracing channel management and the travel technology revolution is at its full steam. I was glad to see that this is mostly being driven by opinionated bloggers and well read journalists who understand the relevance of technology in travel.

RateTiger had a corner stand, giving us enough room to accommodate our never ending stream of visitors. Most of the audience this year showed an increased level of awareness towards the key online distribution technologies and the critical role of an efficient sales channel management strategy as part of the Revenue Management process. 

Cristina Hernandez, Sales Manager, Germany saw a lot of discussion around HRS and the price-fixing issue in Germany. She says “This could spell a game-change for HRS which is expected to launch a new business model. While one of the largest OTA websites, HRS could easily fall victim to consumer and industry dissatisfaction with so many other channels vying for their market. The big question – what happens to rate parity? We will soon see how hoteliers themselves need to respond to this price-fixing ruling.”

On another end of the scale, Cristina Blaj, Sales Manager, UK witnessed discussions on voucher-sites – Groupon growing its travel offering – its marketing activity ramping up, and gaining a greater consumer foothold. However many discussed how damaging this is to revenue and profits. It is claimed that Groupon encourages return purchases at the normal rates following a significant promotional offer, yet the impact of Groupon on this is yet to be seen.

While my colleagues were busy understanding trends in their interest areas, I managed to get involved with discussions on marketing in revenue management, how it is today being forgotten and yet it is so much a part of the buying process. I believe it is important for hotels to have visibility and exposure across as many channels as possible, yet have a strong website for direct sales. Even Cornell University recently published a paper showing how listing on Expedia increases direct website visits. The idea is to have a good distribution mix and keep flexing the different websites while assessing volume to improve occupancy and revenue through different channels.

Overall, like every year, ITB had put up a great show, offering exhibitors and visitors what they came looking for. Check out our pictures from the event. I look forward to the Asian edition of the event in Singapore later this year. Cheers!


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 ryanh@ratetiger.com

HAC-ORC 2012


I was in Toronto last week to attend the Online Revealed Canada (ORC) which was collocated with Hotel Association of Canada Conference (HAC) in the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel. Both these events are doing a world of good for the Canadian hospitality industry.

This being my second year at the event, I find a definite evolvement in the online hospitality community of the region. Last year I presented on Maximizing Online Distribution and this time I noticed a better grasp and understanding for online activities within the overall distribution and revenue strategy. This was not only in the area of working with OTAs strategically and the billboard effect, but also the interaction in social media.

With over 500 hoteliers present, the main topics of discussion revolved around hotel distribution channel analysis, social media monitoring, and changing consumer behavior, among others. Leonard Brody, President, Clarity Digital Group delivered an excellent keynote speech which planted the seeds for what’s coming next.

I had the pleasure of being a panelist for the Social Media Monitoring session. The discussion was focused on exploring various tenets of Social Media monitoring and its effectiveness. Much has been spoken about the need to measure ROI on social media. We continued that dialogue to further understand how social media measures against other marketing channels and the tools available for the same.

We shared our thoughts on how to get started, creating internal buy-in, basic Must-dos, monitoring through Google Alerts, Tweet Reach etc. Another important point of discussion was whose baby is Social Media – Marketing, PR or Webmaster! What ensued was a lively discussion and a good show.

Well done HAC and ACOC!! Kudos 😉


Casey Davy is VP Sales – EMEA at eRevMax and is responsible for sale of RateTiger products in the region. He is based out of London, UK and can be reached at caseyd@ratetiger.com

Brook Hotels improving revenue by managing advanced rates


The British hotel chain with 21 historic properties has introduced channel management technology within its Sales and Marketing department to gain greater control over future bookings. Brook Hotels has seen an increase in advanced bookings, particularly with the upcoming national events in 2012, Diamond Jubilee and London Olympics, and is seeking to further benefit from OTA exposure.

“It’s imperative now that we engage in more future planning across our sales channels,” said Amit Ummat, Sales and Marketing Manager, Brook Hotels. “We are seeing that room rates need to be much more flexible for future dates as our guests look at booking further ahead.”

Brook Hotels chose RateTiger’s RTSuite Channelmanager to meet the increasing demands of selling online to multiple travel agents. Implemented two months ago, RateTiger has already significantly reduced the time managing rates and ensuring they are accurate across all channels.

The hotel group manages both large booking portals like booking.com and laterooms.com as well as local tourist boards and extranets with the prospect to add more sites in the coming months. This additional sales exposure has also lead to increased direct bookings to the website while keeping each property high in the search rankings.

Read on further on HotelMarketing

RateTiger Shortlisted for Travolution Awards 2011

RateTiger, the premium channel management solution provider, has been nominated as a finalist for the Travolution Awards in the Best Technology Provider category. The nomination has been made based on its channel connection achievements.

The Travolution Awards, considered one of the industry’s highest accolade for online innovation and excellence in the UK, aims at recognising companies, brands and individuals who excel in the fields of online travel distribution, digital marketing and technology.

RateTiger has been recognised for its success in creating the largest online channel network, offering hoteliers’ access to more than 750 OTAs globally. The full service channel manager constantly develops technology to help hotels to take advantage of new opportunities to optimise marketing and sales online including utilising social media platforms like Facebook. It recently became the first channel manager to distribute hotel inventory and rates to eBay, the largest international ecommerce platform representing 14% of global e-commerce.

“We encourage innovation and integration of technologies to support the evolution of online sales and channel management. Hoteliers are fond of our solutions because we provide them meaningful single-point access to all required channels, and continue to add new platforms” said Michael McCartan, COO RateTiger. “GDS, via CRS, booking engines, tour operators, OTAs to social media, online advertising and auctioning platforms has been very successful. Now with this prestigious award nomination, we know we are on right track and will continue to create value for our customers.”

These connections help hoteliers to broaden the reach of newer market segments, further maximises online revenues while minimising the workload involved in researching and managing new media.


Newshound: Trends and Reports – Hotel Online Distribution


How much exactly a hotel should invest in Internet marketing in 2012

Allocating the appropriate amount of your property’s overall marketing budget to online marketing can be more of an art, than science. Here’s why you need a significant investment in online marketing to increase direct bookings and key areas to focus your efforts on to realise the highest digital ROI.                                                                                                
http://www.eyefortravel.com/news/hotels/how-much-exactly-hotel-should-invest-internet-marketing-2012

Google, Facebook and TripAdvisor on what’s next for online travel

 Which emerging trends will fizzle, and which will pop? What is the most significant opportunity (or critical threat) that our industry faces? Which disruptive forces will re-shape the online travel landscape as we know it in the next years?                                                                                                    
http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/google_facebook_and_tripadvisor_on_whats_next_for_online_travel 

How OTA hotel reviews drive bookingsMove over, TripAdvisor. There’s a new leader of hotel reviews in town: online travel agencies. According to a PhoCusWright study of 27,000 U.S. hotels comprising 65 major brands, two out of every three online traveler reviews were posted to an OTA. The remaining third, or 34%, were posted to a travel review site like TripAdvisor.                                                                  
http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Articles.aspx/6295/How-OTA-hotel-reviews-drive-bookings

Study: Despite Soft Spots, 2011 Global Business Travel Poised To Surpass $1 Trillion
Global business travel this year will jump 9.2 percent and surpass $1 trillion, according to a Global Business Travel Association Foundation study. That increase would follow an 8.4 percent bump during 2010, which more than offset a nearly 8 percent decline in 2009.                                                                                                                                                                               
http://www.businesstravelnews.com/Worldwide-Travel/Study–Despite-Soft-Spots,-2011-Global-Business-Travel-Poised-To-Surpass-$1-Trillion/?a=trans 
 

RevPAR Growth Momentum Expected to Yield to New Economic Reality According to PwC US Lodging Industry Forecast
An updated lodging forecast released today by PwC US shows that the lodging recovery is largely intact, yet a resetting of the economic outlook has lowered expectations of revenue per available room (RevPAR) growth for the remainder of the year.                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/154000320/4052784.html 

Newshound: Trends and Reports – Hotel Online Distribution

Sydney flat, Perth hot and Cairns in trouble – STR Report

The latest STR Global statistics for the six months to June 2011 reveal that Sydney remains flat, Perth is the hot market and Cairns is in trouble as a strong Australian Dollar continues to significantly affect the hotel industry.
http://www.hotelmanagement.com.au/2011/07/18/anzphic-sydney-flat-perth-hot-and-cairns-in-trouble/
Abu Dhabi hotels continue strong performance
Abu Dhabi’s hotels and hotel apartments continued their strong performance in the first five months of this year with increases in guest numbers, guest nights, occupancy, revenue and length-of-stay, according to the latest figures released by Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA).
http://www.hotelmanagement.com.au/2011/07/04/abu-dhabi-hotels-continue-strong-performance/
Hotwire Reveals Hotel Rate Report for July 2011
Hotwire.com®, a leading discount travel site, today announced the results of the July 2011 Hotwire® Hotel Rate Report. The report features the top five cities in North America where hotel rates have dropped the most and the top five cities where rates have experienced the biggest price increases. While one report guides customers to the destinations that will maximize their travel dollars, the other highlights places where using Hotwire to save money is even more essential.
http://ahla.hsyndicate.com/news/4052199.html
3 keys to revenue management success
Demand is back and so is rate. STR reported an increase in all three key performance metrics for the first quarter of 2011: “The industry’s occupancy increased 5.7 percent to 54.9 percent, average daily rate rose 3.1 percent to US$99.37, and revenue per available room was up 9.0 percent to US$54.56.”
http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Articles.aspx/5981/3-keys-to-revenue-management-success
OTA debate stresses better channel management
What’s the topic that never ceases to pack a room or stir up emotion? The role of online travel agencies in hotel room distribution. Such was the case during a breakout session Tuesday at the New York University International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference that aimed to address the influence and implications of these intermediaries. But at the (literal) end of the day, panelists agreed that it has always been up to the hotel owner to choose how to get business.
http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Articles.aspx/5702/OTA-debate-stresses-better-channel-management

Hoteliers ‘up their game’ through SimpleDistribution

Australian hoteliers can now improve the management of online bookings and better target global travel markets with the arrival of integrated rate shopping, channel management and hotel and flight booking engine provider SimpleDistribution.

SimpleDistribution will remove the complexities of selling online and enhance visibility, exposure and revenue from the Internet. Before processing rate and availability updates, hotels can price shop theirs and competitors’ rates to assess optimal product prices for excellent positions across Online Travel Agents. The web-based channel manager simultaneously and in real-time updates the hotel’s selected multiple sales channels and roomtypes with rates, restrictions and room availability.


RateTiger nominated for Business Traveler Innovation Award

RateTiger’s, RTCorp, has been recognised by the travel industry just one year after launching in the market. The rate shopping technology has been nominated for the Business Traveler Innovation Award within the Travel Management category.

RTCorp helps monitor hotel rates in the public market in both real-time and via scheduled reports. The technology sends automated alerts that filters hotel-pricing data into exception information and delivers it to the appropriate manager to action.

This helps corporate buyers, travel websites and hotel companies monitor violations or discrepancies in room rates while providing intelligent rate shopping data to better understand the market.


Optimising Revenue Through Social Media – By Sascha Hausmann, CEO, eRevMax

Social media is no longer just a hub of sharing activity between people, it has now become a platform for businesses to promote and sell their products. From Facebook, TripAdvisor, Twitter over to the “oldie” eBay these channels demand a new way of interacting with guests while also securing additional revenue and bookings.

The social media revolution has provided new ways of consumer communication, sharing information and being close to a community. While the industry still thought consumer reviews exploded quickly, the likes of Facebook, twitter and Groupon have taught us what pace customers can take when adopting new phenomena once provided with the right toolset.

Despite the burden being forced upon the travel industry, it has also delivered new opportunities for businesses to get involved in such interaction and yet again provide targeted audiences with adequate product.

Facebook (over 500 million active users), MySpace (44 million active US users) and Twitter (21 million active users) have significantly influenced the way people interact, what they trust, how they share their experiences and the advice they offer/receive to/from their ‘friends’. These consumer portals are now becoming powerful marketing and business tools that the hospitality industry needs to address in the upcoming years to avoid losing out on potential revenue avenues or aggressive branding opportunities. Although the latter only has an indirect impact on revenue, it can help to direct more traffic to the hotels own websites that in return provides for more profitable income.

TripAdvisor (34 million monthly visitors) originally caught hoteliers by surprise. It felt that almost within weeks hotels had to deal with negative “press” although the actual movement has been going on for years and was nothing new. In the meantime online guest review websites have taken off with nearly every OTA incorporating some form of guest feedback that’s visible to new customers. Today hoteliers have no choice – either interact positively with guest reviews or see the business suffer. Hotels that effectively manage their guest reviews, both good and bad, encourage more reviews, which as a result sees the rating of their properties rise. As more guest review websites incorporate booking options the impact that your position can have on your revenue is immense.

Read on further: http://www.eyefortravel.com/news/europe/optimising-revenue-through-social-media