Newshound: Trends and Reports – Hotel Online Distribution

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.–At-The-Crossroads/

Traffic to travel websites in Australia surges more than 30%
Australia’s Internet user population may be dwarfed by that of regional neighbors China, Japan and India, but the continent is nonetheless one of Asia Pacific’s most mature and dynamic online travel markets.

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.

How is hotel booking technology evolving
It wasn’t too long ago when most of the hotel bookings were made through HBAs (Hotel Booking Agencies), TMCs (Travel Management Companies) and direct to hotels.

“Dynamic pricing models are a great way to negotiate corporate rates”

London-based hotel sales and marketing alliance Great Hotels of the World has reported a 19 percent increase in corporate travel bookings via its GDS chain code in Q1 2011 in comparison with the same period in 2010, offering signs of growth in the corporate travel market.


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

BITAC Tech & Operations 2011

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

Arabian Travel Market 2011

Last month I attended the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai which is the pre-eminent travel show for the Middle East. The exhibitors here come from all over the world, but the main stands and exhibition space are devoted to those from the Middle-East and in particular the United Arab Emirates. 

General sentiment amongst exhibitors this year was a lot better than last, with hotels reporting much better results in the first quarter of the year after a really difficult 2010. The overall picture was though very localised as obviously some markets such as Egypt, Libya and Bahrain had seen almost complete drop-off in visitors due to internal political situations since the beginning of the year. 

In regards to the distribution scenario
, hotels in the region have really woken up to the need to intensify marketing and sales. The re-initiation of the construction of stalled hotel projects and renovations has restored faith among hoteliers about the future growth potential. Hence hoteliers were keen to find ways to effectively manage distributions and remain competitive.

All in all, a really great way to meet industry peers in the region over a few days at a professionally organised event. Looking forward to the 2012 edition.

Giles Gurney is Sales Manager – Mid-East at eRevMax and is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. He can be reached at

Newshound: Trends and Reports – Hotel Online Distribution

Only price is valued over positive reviews in online travel booking

A poll has indicated that user-generated content in the form of positive reviews on sites like TripAdvisor is increasingly becoming the make or break factor when it comes to online travel booking, with more than one quarter of consumers identifying it as the most important factor.

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.

Five Reasons to Bet Big on the Asia Pacific Online Travel Market

The Asia Pacific online travel market has reached a tipping point. With the region’s online leisure/unmanaged business travel market surpassing 20% of the total market in 2010, online travel is no longer in its infancy. Double-digit growth is projected through 2012, and momentum is building.

Northstar Travel Media acquires PhoCusWright

Northstar Travel Media, a leading business-to-business information company serving the travel and meetings industries, has acquired PhoCusWright, a premier global travel, tourism and hospitality research and event business.

The future state of revenue management

According to STR’s Randy Smith, the single biggest problem the industry is facing right now is the way we’ve trained our customer base to constantly seek a deal, to constantly negotiate, to constantly look for the lowest price.

Quarterly Sales Meet at RateTiger

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

Newshound: Trends and Reports – Hotel Online Distribution

European online travel industry grew 11% in 2010
Travel properties, which include online travel agents, destination information sites, and transportation and accommodation sites, now penetrate 44.0 percent of the European internet audience, a 5 percentage point increase, according to new ComScore data.
Online travel audience in India jumps 32 per cent in 2010
As per a study of the online travel industry in India released recently by ComScore Inc, the number of visitors to travel sites increased 32 per cent in the past year to 18.5 million visitors, as more Indians turned to the web for their travel needs.
Chinese market shows continued year-on-year growth in RevPAR for the first four months of 2011
The importance of the Chinese hotel market both in terms of its strong performance and growing hotel stock is seen in figures supplied by STR Global, the leading provider of market data to the world’s hotel industry.
Corporate travel market easing off its double-digit growth
Business travel experienced a temporary slow-down in April 2011, according to data released from Pegasus Solutions.
Trends shaping the US hotel recovery
According to STR, hotel demand growth will begin to moderate as the year progresses – not a sign of slowing momentum, but rather of the more difficult comps from 2010 when the recovery began.
Where Online Travel Penetration Grows, OTA Bookings Follow

Bookings via online travel agencies comprise just 37% of global online travel sales, versus 63% for suppliers. The channel mix is not expected to change through 2010, although supplier websites, which represented two thirds of the global market in 2008, lost share during the global recession.

Road to Effective Channel Management – Part 3: Become a Pro

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 mix with 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. 

Invest in digital marketing

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.

In Essence…

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

Data: Gather market/business intelligence to know how your property is performing

Access: Manage your sales channels directly ensuring rate and inventory allocation is updated in real-time to maximise bookings

Exposure: Market the hotel to the right audience to increase reservations

Analysis: Understand how the market is performing to optimise RevPAR through your products and service


Newshound: Trends and Reports – Hotel Online Distribution

PwC anticipates solid RevPAR growth into 2012

The updated lodging forecast released today by PwC US shows that the lodging recovery is expected to continue at a solid pace in 2011, driven by balanced growth in industry occupancy and average daily rate.

Asian hotels continue to see double-digit gains

Hotels in the Asia Pacific region experienced mostly positive results in the three key performance metrics during April 2011 when reported in US dollars, according to data compiled by STR Global.

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.

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.

Social media significant traffic source for 78% of travel sites

Social media is a ‘top eight’ driver of traffic for 78% of travel sites according a recent study of the “digital competency” of travel brands, with airlines and hotels dominating the leading brands in the study.

Europeans using new media more to organise and manage their holidays

Europeans are organising more and more via the Internet in preparing their holidays, with 57 percent of them claiming to reserve mainly via the Internet, according to a new study.