Hoteliers, now more than ever, need to concentrate on revenue and distribution management. The industry not only faces corporate budget tightening, but flight costs have increased and the decreasing value of world currencies plus job uncertainty has affected holidaymakers’ spending budgets.
Many travellers continued to book their travel using web booking engines. The success of Online Travel Agents (OTA) and the expansion of the online/offline press referring people to internet led technologies have enticed consumers to the cyber travel market.
Hence, it is the priority of any hotelier during this time to ensure yields and occupancy remain high, making the most of the sales channels available to maximise revenue over the coming years. With reports that RevPAR is dropping, hotels need to think intelligently and maximise on the tools they have to ensure business remains strong.
Today consumers are influencing room rates more than anytime in history. The internet – with multiple price comparison websites and booking channels – provides a choice. The more savvy consumers get, the more likely rates will continue to fall. However if hoteliers take control of their presence and rates online, revenue managers can make more accurate forecasts to identify occupancy and rate levels to ensure sales are on target.
The challenge for many hoteliers in managing these channels is to ensure accurate rates and inventory allocation to optimise each channel to increase sales and maximise revenue. There is no point selling across the internet for the sake of being online; it must be approached intelligently to avoid the mismanagement of rates. To make the most of the internet and online distribution channels revenue managers should look at technology to save time and make money.
By utilising tools to manage the distribution of rates online, revenue managers can ensure rates are accurate across all third-party websites, allocate rooms to the channels providing either a greater return or greatest number of bookings, and forecast future rates and occupancy levels. Technology has been developed to ensure time spent managing online rates is reduced to improve productivity and reduce human error. Channel management products can give you a snapshot of all online sales activity in a single screen; you can benchmark competitor rates, manage rates and rooms on third-party websites then make all the relevant changes you need to increase yields.
At this time hoteliers need to turn to technology to help them through this down-turn to remain competitive. Solutions and systems to support the revenue manager are constantly being developed that will reduce time spent distributing rooms so more time can be allocated to managing the hotel. We are currently looking at a product which is an amalgamation of revenue management solutions (RMS) and internet benchmarking and distribution systems (IDS). Hoteliers should be able to assess market competition, propose rates and allow automatic updates of distribution channels using definable strategies this will truly automate revenue and distribution management.
Without a doubt the travel industry will pick-up much quicker than it has in the past, with the rise of Eastern economies and larger worldwide travel markets, knowledge of price and availability will be fundamental to hoteliers. Further with the internet becoming a leading factor in booking travel, it is essential that it is the key platform to sell rooms. However at the same time, the internet is a world of its own which is broken into its own segments and markets so it is essential hoteliers know who its customers are and how to reach them – being on any third-party website isn’t going to provide the expected return.
As we have seen throughout the media and even in our own industry – belts have tightened and the economy is not as strong as it was – but we know that we have recovered before and should prepare for when it does. In the meantime it is essential to focus on making the most of what you have by optimising sales by using the internet to benchmark and allocate rooms efficiently to achieve greater occupancy and therefore increased yields.