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

Hotelympia 2012


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 ryanh@ratetiger.com

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.


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