Disruptors in the global hotel industry – everything from home-sharing sites like Airbnb, Tujia, HomeAway, BnB Hero and Roomorama, to OTAs and other new sets of investors, have been rapidly carrying out acquisitions. They have been able to successfully create a torment in travel and hospitality landscape.
But instead of focusing on how to battle disruptors through legislation and PR, hoteliers, chain executives and operators should start thinking about doing some disruption of their own!
It is time to should stop worrying about the effects of disruptions and instead focus on how to outdo these upstarts. Here are five simple steps to disrupt the disruptions in the rapidly changing hospitality industry.
#1 The debate about who owns the guest occupies center stage!
Hotels have a limited choice now regarding whether or not to distribute to OTAs. However, the ownership of the guest has become a challenge. A couple of OTAs announced last year that they would cease to provide hotels with the guest’s email when it sends guest confirmation. When a hotel fails to access guest data readily, the OTA “owns” the guest. This hampers a hotel’s ability to capture new as well as repeat guests with the highest value.
Although we can’t ignore the OTAs too for source specific markets unless our own Brand.com is strong enough to pull direct business, hotels require data for effective marketing so as to past guests and access data to churn this further. Train front desk staff to collect data from guests at check in, and concentrate on growing all direct channels along with OTA contribution. This will ensure that the guests are owned by the hotel too.
#2 Mobile marketing and mobile commerce are set to revolutionize the industry.
In 2016, 51.8% of travelers who book trips via digital means will do so using a mobile device, according to eMarketer’s latest estimates of digital and travel research and booking. That will be up from 43.8% this year. Clearly, a robust mobile marketing plan is in order. This means responsive design, one-click booking, and location technology. Some hotels are surprised to hear that a comprehensive mobile marketing plan calls for integrating click-to-call campaigns.