Revenue managers in Scandinavia are working to overcome their fear of being first.

Speaking during a Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International Europe event Thursday, revenue managers said they understand distribution strategies must change in order for them to be competitive. But the fear of making the first move hinders opportunity.

Overcoming this trepidation is important, panelists said, because Scandinavian hotel chains are in a unique position to enforce change against online travel agencies.

“Why not have the five or six hotel companies (here) get together to provide its own platform,” said Christian Gamsgrø, director of revenue management, Norway, at Scandic Hotels.

“Nordic countries are early adopters of technology, but not so much in creating it. We have a lot of technology in the hotel but not so much that is guest-centric and helps the commercial side of things,” Gamsgrø added.

AccorHotels’ announcement last week that it will open up its distribution platform to independent hotels and small chains in a bid to attract more direct spend was for some panelists a first step in bringing non-OTA entities together to speak with one voice and redress the balance.

“Now something is finally happening, and it made me proud to be French,” said Nicolas Alsterdal, total profit manager at Nordic Choice Hotels, who urged hoteliers to actively partner with local businesses as one way of adding value for guests during their stay.

AccorHotels is providing a booking platform more in line with how customers approach booking, Alsterdal said.

Customer credentials

More technology must be adopted that will analyze customer data for the benefit of hotels, panelists said, moving onto another sphere in which OTAs often excel.

“There is much talk of who owns the customer, but the customer owns himself, and (hotels) have to follow the customer,” Alsterdal said, adding, “We have the data, but we do not do 100% of what it is we should do with it.”

Gamsgrø disagreed.

“The company with the strongest link to the customer will best be able to satisfy that customer. We need better tracking of total spend, not just room (spend), and that is helped by being closer to the customer,” Gamsgrø added.

“The more you lose to other distributors the harder it is to make the right decisions for guests,” Gamsgrø said.

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