Hotelympia is a product show catering to the needs of all departments and business units of a hotel, much different to the traditional revenue management, hotel technology and global travel trade shows we attend. Wandering among towels, cookers and dishwashers, key systems and tiles, I could see the focus of the attendees – goods that they could hold, while those in the technology space like RateTiger have to accept a more backseat.
Our partners in HOSPA were there with a business area next to the small presentation section where I sat to listen to Mastering Digital Channels to Maximize Revenue. Although this really only touched on the very basics without looking at real revenue growth and opportunities of assessing data, bookings, production and traffic – it did identify some of the key points if seeking direct sales.
Direct sales however is a very expensive business, and either you need to have a very innovative proposition or a very strong customer database and loyalty programme. To try to achieve direct sales fresh without integrating a full channel and social media strategy will certainly leave you out in the cold.
However the presenter looked on at the basics – it’s no longer interruption marketing but conversational (no longer placement adverts but social media). The marketer needs to Attract, Engage, Convert, Retain. The presentation highlighted the task list for direct marketing – Online advertising, Articles/blogs/Online PR, Link Building, PPC, SEO, social media, and e-marketing offering tips on how to best manage these. Although it was a pity there were no real life case studies looking at how this has been fully achieved by a hotel and how much business it really represents. Direct sales will always be expensive unless there is something really innovative you offer the traveler.
Overall Hotelympia is great for hotel managers – just not worth it for Revenue and Sales managers. Ryan Haynes is the VP – Marketing Communications at eRevMax and is responsible for driving all PR and Marketing activities of RateTiger and eRevMax brands globally. Ryan is based out of London and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.