Seven trending hotel news stories that will impact your hotel Revenue Strategy.
1. DIRECT BOOKINGS LEAD TO HIGHER GUEST SATISFACTION
A new survey from well-respected research firm J.D. Power shows another reason hotels need to encourage direct bookings from customers: Travelers who book through a third-party distribution site, such as an online travel agency, are more likely to experience a problem and to be less satisfied with their stay than those who book directly. That’s probably the message brand companies need to highlight in their direct-booking campaigns rather than the paltry discounts they offer.
The study, which also names hotel brands with the highest satisfaction scores, revealed other key findings about guest booking habits:
Hotel rewards members are far more likely to book directly with a hotel or on a loyalty member site than those who are not members.
- Since 2014, the percentage of online bookings made on mobile devices has nearly doubled to 25% of reservations.
- Guest usage of hotel apps is not very significant.
2. 5 KEYS TO IMPROVED REVENUE MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES
Everyone likes lists, and here is one that recounts five thoughts on the present and future state of revenue management. Some are basic but worth repeating; others break new ground:
- The industry hasn’t yet fully embraced and deployed the data it has available.
- The hotel industry still has a patchwork of tools and techniques for revenue management.
- When possible, use the simplest data analytics tools available.
- There are plenty of unmet opportunities to drive ancillary revenues.
- Improving the guest experience is the best way for a hotel to maximize revenues.
3. INNOVATION LEADS TO EFFECTIVE OPEN PRICING STRATEGIES
During a recent panel discussion at HSMAI’s Revenue Optimization Conference, one speaker lamented the fact that some revenue managers aren’t employing all of the guest data points available to create effective Open Pricing strategies, i.e., tailoring the right rate to the right customer at the right time.
His best pieces of advice:
- Hoteliers should stop pricing based on their competitors; it’s just one area to consider.
- People value experiences differently so hoteliers should be comfortable offering different guests different rates.
4. RSS CONFERENCE ADDRESSES THE STRUGGLE AGAINST DISRUPTION
The focus of the 5th annual Revenue Strategy Summit, scheduled for July 26 in Washington, D.C., will be the disruptive forces reshaping the hospitality industry and how marketing and technology can evolve to meet these new demands. The one-day conference at the Renaissance Washington will tackle the theme through a series of panel discussions and guest speakers.
Among the topics under discussion during RSS will be:
- Next-gen OTAs, meta and Brand.com;
- New players and new models in disruptive technologies;
- The impact mergers and acquisitions have on revenue evaluation;
- New innovations in cloud technology;
- Personalization and the guest experience.
5. WHY OTAS ARE STILL WINNING THE DISTRIBUTION GAME
There are a number of ways to analyze the competition between online travel agencies and hotel brand companies that are promoting direct booking initiatives. But no matter how you slice it, the OTAs are still winning the distribution game.
According to Hitwise data, in the past 12 months the market shares of OTAs and hotel direct booking channels have barely changed, with OTAs accounting for 69% of online hotel bookings. The author provides a number of caveats showing winners and losers in the battle and various ways of interpreting the numbers. Still, despite high-profile marketing campaigns, Marriott, Hilton and other promoters of direct booking have yet to make a serious dent in the psyche of consumers going to the Internet for a hotel booking.
6. VOICE-BASED SEARCH RAISES BOOKING OBSTACLES
It was inevitable that voice-activated Internet search would migrate to the travel industry. Now, Kayak allows its customers to book hotels by talking to Amazon’s Echo family of voice-activated AI devices. As currently designed, the system has several limitations:
- It provides users with just a couple of options, not the “buffet” of choices available on the Kayak website.
- Users must already have shared their credit-card details with Kayak to conclude reservations.
- Post-booking service must be done through the website and not through the voice-activated device.
7. AHLA CAMPAIGN PROMOTES DIRECT BOOKINGS
In its strongest campaign yet, the American Hotel & Lodging Association is launching another effort to convince travelers to book hotel rooms directly (or through a traditional travel agent) rather than through online travel agencies.
The campaign, dubbed Search Smarter, emphatically lays out the arguments for booking directly with a hotel: “Booking through digital middlemen can lead to false choices and ruined vacations. Booking directly with the hotel or a trusted travel agent is the safest way to go.”
Stay up on hotel Revenue Strategy news and discuss industry tech trends in the Hotel Revenue Strategy Leaders Group on LinkedIn.
RELATED HOTEL REVENUE STRATEGY ARTICLES
- Why ‘Direct Is Better’ Should Be Your Hotel Distribution Strategy
- Do Loyalty Bookings Have To Come Direct?
- Whitepaper: Examining the Future of Hotel Loyalty
Latest posts by Ed Watkins, Contributing Editor (see all)
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