The Week, That Was – June 2018 Week 4

In five minutes or less, keep track of the most important news of the week, curated just for you. We present to you hand – picked news on latest industry perspectives and some general updates. Read on!!

 HITEC: Industry must think holistically about tech
A panel of top-level executives speaking at the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference said the hotel industry has to adopt more broad technology solutions that work together.

http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Articles/286985/HITEC-Industry-must-think-holistically-about-tech

Travelers losing interest in home-sharing, Google gaining ground as travel resource
For all the chatter of Airbnb stealing scene time away from hotels, traveler interest in home-sharing seems to be waning. According to MMGY Global’s Portrait of American Travelers study, which surveyed nearly 3,000 US adults that have taken at least one trip over the past 12 months, just 33% of respondents are interested in sharing economy accommodations, down from 41% in 2017 and 37% in 2016.

https://www.phocuswire.com/MMGY-Global-portrait-of-american-travelers-2018

How strategic use of technology drives guest loyalty and hotel revenue
Technology is creating new opportunities and challenges for hospitality brands, and the ones that use it effectively will be rewarded with a loyal following of guests and, ultimately, more profits.

https://www.phocuswire.com/HITEC-CEO-technology-panel

Google: Travel’s closely watched obsession
Google’s entry into metasearch may be more than half a decade old, but it continues to be a closely watched obsession for the travel industry. Since the very beginning, Phocuswright has carefully tracked the evolution of Google travel products and their growing role in travel’s search-shop-buy funnel.

https://www.phocuswire.com/Google-travel-obsession

How hotel managers can generate profits above and beyond owner’s expectations
There is a lot happening in 2018 that hotel owners should be happy about. After the best Q1 on record earlier this year, it is shaping up to be another stellar year in hospitality with demand (2.4%) outweighing supply (2%); occupancy increasing by 0.4%; ADRs growing by 2.6%; and RevPAR increasing by 3% (STR, PWC).

https://www.hebsdigital.com/blog/hotel-managers-generate-profits/

How RevPAR growth translates into profits
Hotel profitability is the primary measure of success for hotel owners, managers and operators. However, revenue and top-line data continue to be the focus of the industry.

One major reason for this is the availability of revenue-per-available-room data, which is directly linked to the success of STR at aggregating rooms revenue data across a substantial portion of the industry. Alternatively, profitability data is much more difficult to amass because hotel ownership and management groups are much more fragmented than hotel brands.

http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Articles/286892/How-RevPAR-growth-translates-into-profits

Amazon’s latest focus on hotels comes via Alexa
Amazon is launching a new service for hotels to introduce its voice-controlled assistant Alexa for guests to use in their rooms. Alexa for Hospitality will allow hotel guests to make verbal requests through an Amazon Echo device, including room service, housekeeping and contacting the property’s concierge.
https://www.tnooz.com/article/amazon-hospitality-alexa-hotels/

Fake hotels becoming a massive issue for OTAs
The rise of fake hotels is a phenomenon that has left both consumers and online travel agents (OTAs) frustrated and out of pocket. And they’re becoming more sophisticated and believable too. In recent months, the travel industry has witnessed a tidal wave of fake chalet websites, with one website, Alps-stay.com, conning unsuspecting holiday-makers out of tens of thousands of euros.

http://travolution.com/articles/107814/guest-post-the-fake-hotels-phenomenon-targeting-otas

Connect with us for your connectivity needs to make the most of online revenue.
https://goo.gl/3gKUJZ

Thanks and have a good day!

Snack-and-talk with Fornova and LiveOS at ITB Berlin 2018

We have joined forces with Live OS at ITB Berlin next week to host a series of snack-and-talk sessions to explore how we are bringing 360 degrees distribution solutions to hotels. Through our recent partnership with LiveOS, Fornova Distribution Intelligence is now available directly within the LiveOS platform.
Through LiveOS, you can seamlessly access all your data and systems through a single, personalised platform. The unified dashboard will help you proactively spot key trends and opportunities through simple calls to action, which now includes Fornova Distribution Intelligence.
Join us to hear how we can help you increase your net RevPAR by enhancing your distribution management practices to reduce your cost of guest acquisition. And how we are working with LiveOS to bring these insights directly into one platform, through seamless technology integration.
The snack-and-talk sessions will take place at Hall 8.1 – Stand 132 during the following days and times:
  • Wednesday, 7th March at 4:00 PM
  • Thursday, 8th March at 11:00 AM
  • Thursday, 8th March at 4:00 PM

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Thanks and have a good day

With Love from Sao Paulo – Technology Hits and Misses from WTM LATAM

Time is Money!
This statement has never been as valid perhaps as it is today.

I was at WTM Latin America a few days back and realized the truth and depth of this statement while talking to some friends from the industry. Constant news from solution providers and revolutionary technological innovation continues to prove how valuable time is!

For those like me who had their first contact with a computer in the early 90’s and learnt the complicated codes of the GDS used by Varig Airlines (my first job in the industry) – we get amazed by the developments that has happened since then.

Year after year, hotels have had several innovative tools at their disposal to simplify their daily work and facilitate the management of business, but the main concern for them is how to choose the best from among so many options available in the market.

Now let’s talk about Latin American hoteliers in specific. I have been working with hotels in this region for quite some time now and I see that many of them are able to see a new world of opportunities with excellent perspective on improving their room occupancy, RevPAR and overall profits.

However, there are various others that are yet to understand and visualize all the benefits that these new distribution and connectivity tools can provide to their business. We can’t blame them because this technological evolution has been very fast and ran over all the pre-existing models. 

Hoteliers need to adapt to non-fictional reality and try to understand the origin and consequences (both positive and negative) of this evolution.

The new generation of hotel employees is able to adapt more easily to trends and new technologies. For many, the thought of being “stuck” in an office can be the worst nightmare and hence mobility, agility, thinking outside the box and the possibility of managing your work through virtual access to hotel systems is very appealing. This is the era of connected individuals who are constantly sharing with the world what they are doing. They are open to new technologies and apps and are not scared to try anything new.

Think about a Ferrari! Everyone agrees that it is a wonderful car but it just doesn’t make any sense for you to buy it, if you only know how to ride a bicycle. This is one of the most famous analogies that many ‘old school’ hoteliers still make when approached with innovative technologies. They continue to ignore potential growth opportunities that could come their way with the right distribution tools and by selling on the right channels.
They also ignore market changes and think they can continue working like they used to in the 90’s. They think will be able to survive in the market riding their bicycles while their competitors are using Ferraris.

As a result of the advancement of technology, work-flow processes of the past will not survive the current day pressure of hoteliers and is getting altered quickly. Cloud technology and innovative platforms will only help hotels in this increasingly competitive market. In addition to bringing several improvements to the professionalization of the hotel market in Latin America, the greater reflection of this technology adoption will be seen in how hotels effectively meet and exceed guest expectations. 

Karl Marx once said “The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people.”
 
I wish I could show Karl Marx all the technological innovations of our market today and he would, for sure, change his mind. 

Because TIME IS MONEY after all!



This post is by Alex Moura who is the Regional Sales Director for North America, Caribbean & Brazil at eRevMax. He can be reached at alexm@erevmax.com

Increase online revenue – The Ola Hotels’ way

Spanish hotel group Ola Hotels has increased its online hotel revenue with the help of an automated rate & inventory management solution from eRevMax. The revenue management team of Ola Hotels is using RateTiger’s hotel Channel Manager to sell rooms from an allocated inventory pool from each of the properties across multiple channels simultaneously.

Commenting on this partnership Aleix Alcover, eCommerce Manager, Ola Hotels said “We have introduced a new pricing structure and are updating our rates in real-time across 8 online sales channels. In the last two months since we have started using RateTiger, our online revenue has been steadily growing. Thanks to real time competitor benchmarking reports, we can respond to market dynamics in real-time”. All reservations made on these online travel sites are captured, and available inventory is automatically redistributed for the hotels to sell last-room availability thus eliminating the chance of overbooking.
Read the full story here.

New hotel online sales techniques forcing offline agents “Go Fishing”


Hotel revenue managers are driving the advancement of sophisticated fishing techniques that are forcing the closure of traditional travel agents. Littered across South Africa are small high street businesses shutting shop plastered with “Gone Fishing”.


These travel agents made a grave mistake; they were fishing in the wrong pools. The fish had moved to newer waters, challenging the hotelier to find new ways to bring bookings. Hoteliers began fishing themselves. Hotels have had to understand how travel shoppers think, how they behave and how to sell direct to secure the best specimen, at the best price, from the right location.

Pre-2000
Pre-2000 hotel sales derived from the traditional ground travel agent, sales teams were outsourcing new business.

TODAY
Hotel operators have hundreds of OTAs (Online Travel Agents) to choose from. This choice offered both traditional as well as specialist OTAs. This brought forth the Revenue Manager!

Now selling is much like the Airline model. The fuller the plane, the higher the price! Then the global recession forced hotel operators to drop prices to create demand. Five star properties clawed into the four star market, the four stars worked its way into the three star market, etc. Sales strategies collapsed. Average rates plummeted, making it very difficult for the industry to reestablish the pre-recession rates.

New fishing techniques by “revenue managers”

If you ask me – they go fishing every single day! Revenue Management is now – know where to fish, what bait to use, and react to the weather. Follow these principles and your baskets will get fuller, giving a mixed bag of fish of different values. The heavier the specimen, the more it’s worth.

Revenue management is all about understanding and selling the right room, to the right person, at the right time, for the right price. Very much like our rule in hotel operations, pertaining to service delivery – do the right thing, at the right time, in the right place, for the right reason, the first time.

Airlines fish well. Seats that are sold on the same day of the flight have secured maximum revenue. It is not uncommon for two people, sat next to each other on the same flight, to have paid completely different prices. Airlines look at the purpose of travel and the flexibility of their potential passengers. A business traveler has less flexibility than that of holidaymakers. A person planning a holiday plan their trips in advance; a business traveler travels mostly on short notice, with very little lead time. Airlines also offer short-term specials to reward existing clients, attract new clients and fill as many of the empty seats as possible, during a time-specific promotion.

FISHING PONDS – here is where you find the fish, the more fish the higher the volume
You need a source for your fish, so you need ponds, rivers or seas. Consider the type of fish you want and the value each fish will bring from the different ponds, understand the volume of fish available to calculate the demand. Do you need a net or a single rod? Therefore select and subscribe to a portfolio of at least ten OTAs, which should cover your consumer bases across several different demographic and geographic areas/markets. This practice is crucial to stimulating and creating demand.

Having selected the right ponds that will bring the right type of fish for your hotel, you can now promote your presence. And in this case it’s good to have as many ponds (online distribution channels) as possible.

One fish caught is one fish you would not have had. One room sold is one room that you would never have sold.

FISH BAIT – what you use to attract the fish, the bigger the fish the higher profit available

Drop your bait in the wrong place and you may not get the type of fish you want. Therefore the location of your hotel plays a crucial part in selling and marketing the property appropriately. Highlight the main events and attractions surrounding your property and make this information prominent to all searching travelers. Emphasize the facilities you have to offer including those in your immediate surroundings. Understand where your customer-base comes from and where they go after their stay, this information will open other doors of opportunity to sell the right package.

The right bait is also essential, are your fish actually interested in what you’re offering? What are you presenting them with?  Managing your content on all online distribution channels is vital. Consistency is key! Always select a portfolio of pictures which is used on your brand website, promote the same on the OTA sites – never load different pictures on different sites as this creates confusion and displays untidiness! Your write-up about your property, rooms and facilities should be the same and consistent across all channels of distribution. Never forget content is marketing and marketing builds reputation, the consumer’s purchase decisions are based on reputation. 

REELING FISH IN the act to secure the fish on dry land

The right bait in the right pool with the right fish, once they bite its time to get them in fast before they let go. There is one key way to achieve this – Pricing your product in line with the current market conditions. Pricing should be seasonal and highly focused on adjusting rates during the troughs and peaks within the seasons.

Pricing should be kept in parity across the board without undercutting on selected platforms. Understand demand and forecast demand. Subscribe to the newsletters of all major airlines that operate in your city. Know when they advertise special fares into your area and “piggyback” them by promoting your own specials; your competitor is probably doing it already. You will find that when the airlines are in distress, Hotels are in distress. 

FISH WEIGH-IN – to get the best profit for your fish

Each fish now comes with its own associated value and you need to make sure it balances the books. Pay close attention to achieved rates, ADR (average daily rates) and your RevPar (Revenue per available room). Room rates should be set according to these achieved statistics and kept realistic in your market. Know what your competitors are doing.

Sales strategies should be aimed at the customer, their needs and the current market conditions, considering what the achieved rate was for the same period. Budgets are the guidelines set out for us and forms part of the wish list for the year, however it is not and should not be the deciding factor for your sales strategy.

No man enters a fishing competition without trying to figure out what their competitors are doing. Understand what your local market is achieving, and aiming to achieve. Even more is crucial in understanding how to position your rates to create or stimulate demand.

FISH MARKET OPENING HOURS – knowing when to capture the best fish

Fish have routines, they sleep, eat and play, and each specimen has its routine. Knowing when to fish the best fish is essential. Understand your booking window. This type of information is easily obtainable from the different distribution channels. Promote early bird specials instead of last minute deals. Consumers have grown comfortable with this last minute selling technique, making it difficult for the Hotel Operator to stop (as I would refer to it) “chumming” for fish. Last minute deals are not about maximizing revenue; it is all about minimizing revenue.

YOUR FISH BASKET – how you carry your fish

Always know how much space you have left for more fish, and avoid having too many fish. Manage your inventory correctly. Offer different minimum stay and maximum stay promotions. Assign only the minimum required amount of allotments to Agents and Operators and take heed, along with allotments are fixed rates.

DON’T LITTER – telling people not to leave rubbish or belongings behind

Your pools need to remain clean; a visible amount of damage or pollution will keep the fish away. Manage your reputationand invest in all guest feedback you receive. Consumers shop and base their final decisions not only on price, but what people say about your property.

FISH WELL

The Revenue Manager certainly has a daunting task ahead if this is all still managed manually. Updating content, price and availability steals the focus away from strategizing, planning and making real decisions that will maximize your revenue. Begin automating your fishing techniques for the benefit of your business.

Fishermen need the right technology that is flexible to the changing needs of the waters, and that is adaptable to global markets and delivers access to the relevant pools when needed. Hotels need to manage all the aspects of online distribution, analyze the market, calculate rates, monitor rate parity and position, distribute rates and availability to multiple distribution channels and manage all online reviews. Hotels need to be connected to these pools 24/7 to send and receive the market data to make more intuitive pricing and distribution decisions, through a single source.

Fisherman haven’t been able to avoid technology, who have had to invest in depth-sounding and radar technologies to gauge where the fish are, the type and the quality, plus meteorology reports to understand the farming conditions. Therefore neither can hotels avoid systems to report on their market.

Go fish – before you’re Gone Fishing.

Evolution waits for no man Happy Fishing! 

Clinton Du Toit has over 16 years experience in the hotel industry. The former hotel General Manager, with experience in revenue management, as well as hotel sales and marketing  functions likes to educate the market on hotel online distribution. Clinton is based out  Cape Town and is currently working with eRevMax as Sales Manager – South Africa.

You can also bview this article on Tnooz

Newshound: Trends and Reports – Hotel Online Distribution


Automation is on the up and could hold the key to increasing online sales

In today’s multi-channel environment, hoteliers need to have quick access to hotel-rate data and inventory positions on various sales channels. “Over the last couple of years we have seen an increased focus on integrated applications, allowing hotels to do most of these complex tasks through a single system,” says Michael McCartan, chief executive officer, eRevMax International.


Analyzing the OTAs

Whether you’re in the camp that believes online travel agencies are single-handedly ruining the hotel industry or in the camp that looks to them for a majority of your demand, there’s one thing almost all hoteliers agree on: Third-party room distributors are here to stay. However, while OTAs serve an important role in the industry, it’s no secret their relationship with hoteliers is not perfect, said Brian Mullan, a research analyst with Janney Capital Markets in New York.

The end of the rate-matching machine: ways to count on competitive pricing

Competitive pricing is an element of pricing decisions in any market. How this is done depends on the availability of such data to providers, the visibility and comparability of it to customers and the level of fragmentation in the market. In hospitality and travel, thanks largely to broad Internet distribution, all of these factors make competitive pricing particularly important.

TripAdvisor tests hotel metasearch service – now the fun really begins

User review giant TripAdvisor is finally doing what pretty much everyone involved in the hotel sector expected it to do years ago – consumer metasearch for its vast portfolio of properties.The company confirmed this week that it is currently testing “new search functionality” for hotels, covering both desktop and mobile versions of the service.

The total cost of travel technology [INFOGRAPHIC]

From individuals who have implemented a small system to those coordinating major overhauls of existing platforms in large companies, organising travel technology is not an easy process. It is clearly a combination of establishing the business and technology requirements, alongside budget, expectations, crystal ball-gazing and market analysis.

Report: PwC European Cities Hotel Forecast 2013

Overall, RevPAR growth is expected to slow in 2013, held back by strong economic headwinds across the eurozone. But there will be thrivers; cities expected to show robust RevPAR growth include Paris, St Petersburg and Edinburgh and more modest increases should be seen in Frankfurt, Berlin, Dublin and Moscow.The second edition of PwC’s European cities hotel forecast for 2013 features 19 of Europe’s most important gateway cities.

Newshound: Trends and Reports – Hotel Online Distribution


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

The continually increasing volume of booking options is causing growing stress on hotels companies’ central reservation systems, according to a study undertaken by Pegasus.

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.

BTL 2012


I attended BTL earlier this month. This was the 24th edition of the event and it witnessed close to 800 exhibitors and over 80,000 visitors.

Various hotels participated in the event and most of them were concerned with the economic situation. The hotel industry in Portugal is currently experiencing falling occupancy and RevPAR. Many revenue managers and proprietors we spoke to were interested in understanding how to boost revenues.

Awareness about online distribution is rising which has led to many local players now offering channel management solutions. The Portuguese market is surely maturing and understands the benefits they can derive from a good channel management product.

RateTiger has been attending BTL for five years now and there is no denying the fact that it is a business platform of reference to both professionals and for the general public. It provides a chance for all interested to meet in one place and is one of the largest and most comprehensive tourism events in Portugal.

Pilar Sanchez Aita is Sales Manager for Spain & Portugal at eRevMax and is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. She can be reached at pilara@ratetiger.com

Newshound: Trends and Reports – Hotel Online Distribution


What happened to direct sales in the hospitality industry?

Once a discipline of an enviable combination of great social skills, good business judgment, and powers of persuasion, direct sales was many times the starting point for learning the business of hotels. A knowledgeable sales person understood how each piece of business or account had an impact on revenues in all areas not just limited to rooms and not just for the short but the long term as well.

Industry Leaders Predict Top Trends For 2012 – What’s Hot, What’s Not?

The travel industry is growing globally but the geographical, socio-economic and technological balances are shifting. The Internet continues to be ascendant and disruptive in its ability to change the way the travel industry and its consumers operate.  2011 was marked by many dramatic challenges to tourism and the travel industry.

Google’s “Find Hotels By Travel Time” Offers Some Of That “Innovation” Google Was Talking About

Before Google was formally approved to buy travel software company ITA, the company argued that the acquisition would result in “innovation” for travelers and travel search users. Beyond the appearance of flight times/routes in search results we haven’t seen much “innovation” yet. Google’s new “find hotels by travel time” experiment is, however, an example of how Google might deliver new functionality and shake things up in the intensely competitive yet paradoxically complacent travel segment.
 

U.S. online travel growth to slow through 2013

Although U.S. online leisure/unmanaged business travel market growth continues to outpace the total travel market, the days of lightning-fast online growth are gone for good, says PhoCusWright.  The share of U.S. travel booked online (i.e., online leisure/unmanaged business travel as a share of the total market) will increase to 40% by 2013, growing just one percentage point over five years. Yet despite the slowing overall growth trend, online penetration continues to vary significantly by segment.

With Improved Occupancy, Focus Turns to Pricing in 2012, According to PwC US Lodging Industry Forecast

Reflecting year-end 2011 results, an updated lodging forecast released today by PwC US anticipates pricing recovery to be the key driver of revenue per available room (“RevPAR”) growth in 2012. Despite a year that was marked by macroeconomic uncertainty, and resulting shaky consumer and business confidence, hotels in the US ended 2011 on a strong note.