Seven trending hotel news stories that will have an impact on your hotel Revenue Strategy.
1. HERE’S HOW TO INCREASE DIRECT BOOKINGS
With hotel website conversation rates hovering at 2%, and online travel agency commissions ranging between 15% and 25%, hotel operators have a strong incentive to find ways to increase direct bookings through their own channels. The author provides several tactics to turn the tide toward more direct bookings:
- Be sure your rates are competitive with properties in your market and are in parity across all channels.
- Implement the latest best practices in website technology, design and user experience.
- Other considerations: download speeds, booking engine quality, merchandising and personalization opportunities and more.
2. YOU OWN THE DATA: BE SURE TO WIELD IT WISELY
Every revenue manager loves data, but as the author points out, it's the depth of data, not just the breadth, that matters. While online travel agencies generate massive amounts of data from hotel customers they serve, it needs to be matched with the information stored in hotels' own databases in order to make the best pricing and promotion decisions.
Armed with all possible data points, a professional revenue manager can "wield a hotel’s historical performance, customer data from the CRM and actual on-property spending from folio data" to lead the market and proactively take share.
3. SIX TRENDS TO WATCH IN HOTEL DISTRIBUTION
The world of hotel distribution continues to evolve as operators and revenue managers seek new ways to gain an edge on the competition. The author lists 6 trends he sees dominating 2018:
- Disruption in hotel review sites
- Further emphasis on "end-to-end” travel experiences
- Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty
- Blockchain could become a big deal
- AI's role in personalization and dynamic pricing
4. TRAVEL AGENTS DEBATE MERITS OF COMMISSION CUTS
Last week’s blockbuster announcement by Marriott International that it is cutting commissions it pays to agents that book meetings has stirred debate in the travel agency community. Some embrace Marriott’s move (which cut commissions from 10% to 7%) as a necessary disruption to an antiquated system. Others argue the current protocol should stay in place.
Those agents applauding Marriott’s move say the commission system as constituted is a disincentive for them to find the best deals for meeting customers. After all, every $10 of savings agents generate for clients means they cut their commissions by $1. The question is more complicated than that, and the story does a good job in explaining the conundrum.
5. LOYALTY IS BOON TO TRAVELERS, BUMMER FOR COMPANIES
Corporate travel buyers generally lament the existence of travel loyalty programs because so many business travelers choose to book outside of corporate rate programs in order to gain loyalty scheme benefits. They also complain that many loyalty programs are for the most part antiquated, cumbersome and not user-friendly.
For hotel revenue managers here is the money quote that shows the value of loyalty, data and technology to the RM process: “If you own the interface, you own the customer. If you own the customer, you own the data—and if you own the data, you own the future.”
6. GOOGLE CREEPS CLOSER TO OTA TERRITORY
Google announced a significant upgrade that allows mobile users to make hotel and flight bookings through Google Search results. Users can scroll through search results for hotels that include photos, and swipe through those photos without having to leave the list of results. Date and price filtering can also be done through the results page, and users can also now book through Google.
The move reinforces the growing trend of using smartphones for travel planning and booking. Consumers no longer have the patience or desire to search on mobile and then wait until they're on a computer to book travel.
7. WITH SITEMINDER DEAL, AIRBNB BECOMES AN OTA
Airbnb has taken a major leap toward becoming a full-fledged online travel agency, in addition to its role as a sharing economy service that's sucking revenue straight from the traditional hotel business. Through a new partnership, the 28,000 hotels on the SiteMinder distribution platform that meet certain criteria from Airbnb can list their inventory, including real-time availability, rates and content, on Airbnb.
Further definition of the criteria required for listing wasn't included in the announcement, but Airbnb said it would accept hotels that reflect the "locally influenced and unique accommodations they expect when booking an Airbnb listing,” and not proprietors of “mass-produced hospitality,” AKA chain-affiliated properties.
Stay up on hotel Revenue Strategy news and discuss industry tech trends in the Hotel Revenue Strategy Leaders Group on LinkedIn.