Getting hotel distribution is not a one-shot deal and requires an attack from multiple angles
In case you missed the analysis piece last week – Hotels and the dirty battle of distribution – here we sum up the key points and recommendations from a series of interviews with industry experts.
- Take a multipronged approach
Managing distribution and driving more direct bookings is not going to happen overnight. First and foremost it’s important that hotels get a handle on how they are faring in the online market place versus their competitive set. They also need to understand which channels are working best, and where they are being undercut.
- Understand how rooms are priced
Also ranking and position is crucial. There are tools already from firms like Fornova and iDeas, which can help hotels and surprise, surprise, it is something booking.com is also working on. A spokesperson tells us it will be sharing details of availability and functionality of new tools in the coming months. But like anything don’t rush into deploying new technologies before fully understanding what you need.
- Apply a rigorous approach to data
In order to start managing the direct channel more effectively, hotels brands need to consistently use data derived from the marketplace and their website.
Gathering actionable information from the endless data generated by property and reservation management systems, pricing resources, social media and so on, is a minefield which firms like Snapshot and Reinvate claim to help simplify into actionable nuggets of data.
- Give the customer something more
Once you have the basics right such as getting your rates in order across all your channels, and the right data at your fingertips, do offer the customer something more. This could be anything from free breakfast to free Wifi (although increasingly guests expect this) or a free transfer from the airport. But most importantly ensure that these messages are being delivered in all your marketing messages – in retargeting, in prospecting display campaigns, email and so on.