Own website and Booking engine
Your own website will give guests the chance to discover more about the hotel directly from you and not third parties. The website should be user-friendly with clear descriptions, photos, guest reviews and directions to the hotel.
If you want your property to build its own brand and stand out from the rest, you may want to invest in search engines through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to allow travellers to find you easier.
If you implement web analytics you will be able to assess where your visits are coming from – but be aware that it may take up to a year before you begin seeing consistent trends.
Online partners and GDS
Effective channel management is about managing multiple channels and optimising the bookings and revenue you can achieve from these. The days of putting all your eggs in one basket are well and truly gone.
Begin by identifying a few essential online channels where you would like to get bookings. You may feel you need to be on the popular OTAs like Expedia, booking.com, lastminute.com, or on more local websites or specialist boutique channels.
When choosing the channels you must keep your proposition in mind; why sell an upmarket room on a budget website? Once you have identified your first channels you have made your first step to successful channel management.
Research social and digital marketing
There’s no escaping the digital revolution and with this comes a multitude of websites, social networks and interactive channels that should be considered in the hotel’s long-term strategy.
By assessing the sales potential here you can also assess your hotels reputation through online reviews and at this stage begin responding positively to guests’ feedback.
Proposition is the name of the game and price is the leading element of its value.
Hoteliers who observe and benchmark competitor rates are more likely to set the right rates for the market and therefore secure those additional bookings. It is important you do not out price your hotel either too low or too high then the market value.
By constantly monitoring rates both for immediate bookings and in the future you can ensure that you have a highly visible proposition to secure more advanced bookings.
Price shopping data allows you to respond more readily and adapt to market conditions. Today rates are dynamic and not linear, by keeping an eye on competitor rates will keep you in the game.
Check out Road to Effective Channel Management Part 3.
With an excellent speaker line-up the event turned out to be very fruitful for all attendees. Professionals from companies like Vincci Hotels, NH Hotels, InterContinental Madrid Hotel (IHG Group), RateTiger, Marketing Surfers/Buzzturistic, ITH, Hosteltur and Sol Meliá shared their knowledge and experience and gave fantastic presentations on their chosen subjects. My presentation focused on the importance of rate shopping, benchmarking and the future of hotel business intelligence.
Today’s paradigm in the hotel business is focused on price optimization where:
• Price is a function of demand and demand is a function of price, and
• Decisions should be based on demand, availability and relative competitor price positioning.
Apart from the current challenges of managing data and various systems, hoteliers are further facing the obstacle of silos throughout our companies. We only get to see a small piece of the big picture. The need is for, and in a few cases the trend is towards, a strategic integration of revenue management, marketing and guest analytics.
In a world where consumer segmentation is becoming difficult and distribution is becoming increasingly complex, how will hotel executives keep up? Through business intelligence!
Business intelligence is moving towards providing:
• Better industry benchmarks centered on profitability, not just revenue
• Market relevant price optimization tied to distribution strategy
• Behavioural economics and neuromarketing embedded into pricing and marketing decisions
• Integrated technology with CRS, RMS, PMS, POS, social media, loyalty and sales data all blended into one system and/or data source
Hence what we try to derive here is that – to achieve better benchmarking, optimized pricing and integrated behavioral economics, hoteliers need to focus on integrated technology systems.
Further the conference saw hoteliers discussing the growing trend of new positions coming into being – the likes of Community Manager, Channel Manager and Guest Experience Manager are making inroads into the organizational structure of companies.
This year had a buzz like no previous that I had attended – this was my third time in Berlin for this mammoth travel event and no longer did we have people wander past our stand asking us what is channel management? Instead hotels wanted and needed a channel manager. This was such an amazing positive change for us and the industry.
We had over 6 journalists come by for conversations with us to discuss some of the key trends in social media, new digital sales techniques and integrated channel management technologies. Many were very interested in the NH Hotels implementation of our tools.
Siew Hoon of Web in Travel stopped by and we had a vibrant conversation on how we can best educate hotels and make them into more informed buyers – so it looks like I have a lot of work on my hands to create more content and informative articles.
Among the various topics of discussion, I attended two sessions as part of the hospitality distribution programme; Holiday Hotels and Online Booking Behaviour that showed how the online buyer has changed and should not be stereotyped however it did find that expensive luxury trips are still more frequently being purchased offline – from findings by GfK Research Panels.
I also attended Social Media and Mobile Devices and the types of people using these for booking and research; it was interesting that only a few years ago we were saying that ‘nearly’ 50% of travel is booked online, now we are saying ‘over’ 50% of travellers are engaging with social media and consumer travel reviews that is having a major affect on purchase decisions both before and during the holiday.
We had so much to talk about and so many developments for the business that the discussions were much more diverse than just hotel channel management – this makes me look forward to next year’s event.
Ryan Haynes is the Marketing Head 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 email@example.com
RateTiger was invited to present in the Plenum session on “Channel Management” and the presentation title was “How does online distribution help improve Yield Management strategies”. Keith gave interesting examples on how our client hoteliers have leveraged online channel management strategies to increase occupancy and revenue. The presentation by Brendan from Ideas was also very well received and he mentioned how their partnership with RateTiger brings added value to hoteliers.
Over 55 delegates comprising hotel owners, Revenue Managers, Managing Directors and Sales Managers attended the event. The delegates received us very well due to the relevant content of our presentation. We were also invited to conduct a workshop on RTSuite products which was a great success.
The organizers Concept Media conducted a survey and found that 26 hotels out of 55 attending hoteliers wanted to learn more about RTSuite products and RateTiger. Overall it was a great event which provided us with good networking opportunity especially with small to medium sized groups.
Sales Manager, Poland
With 25 hoteliers present, it was a cozy get-together with every member being very warm and forthcoming with their strategies, suggestions, challenges and queries. Some of our client hoteliers were present too and were happy to share their experience of new channel management modules that they have been using in RateTiger.
As the evening wore on, everyone embarked on a stimulating discussion on revenue strategies. It turned out to be a productive day for them, they also realized that they have not really interacted earlier and many had met their counterparts from other hotels for the first time. They just knew and viewed each other as competitors and not as industry peers. I was so glad to have modified their outlook and they were appreciative of our effort for having hosted such an interesting meet.
Chancery Pavilion was the chosen venue for the evening and being a RateTiger user they were happy to be part of this event. I look forward to doing similar events in other Indian and Asian cities so as to help Revenue Managers meet up outside work and share their valuable experiences with each other. And with our technology, I am sure we can further help revenue managers achieve increased online sales and optimize revenue.
Over 70 people attended the session at Parador de Alcala de Henares on September 13, 2010, eager to learn and start using our tools. Optimism filled the room with full support to incorporate it as they have the certainty that RateTiger provides an opportunity to manage their online sales and obtain privileged information to reinforce the strategy of online growth to Paradores group.
“Paradores is a tourism policy instrument which projects the image of modernity and quality of our tourism abroad and which contributes to the territorial integration, to the recovery and maintenance of Historical and Artistic Heritage and to the conservation and enjoyment of natural areas, all the while functioning as a driving force behind the set of revitalizing actions in areas with reduced tourism or economic activity.”
A corporation with just one shareholder, the Spanish state, Paradores de Turismo is also an instrument of the government’s tourism policy, as well as a leading company in the Spanish tourism sector which obtains important benefits which nourish the public objectives for which this company was created.
Pilar Sanchez Aita is Sales Manager – Spain & Portugal at eRevMax and is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. She is based out of Spain and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org