Seven trending hotel news stories that will impact your hotel Revenue Strategy.
1. Direct-booking discounts don’t build loyalty
The hotel industry might be misguided in forcing consumers to join loyalty programs to gain room rate discounts, this author says. As he said, these while programs “have clearly resulted in an increase in direct bookings, they have also come with unwanted discounting and additional costs.
Some savvy industry veterans point out that the more effective these programs become, the more these rates will be seen as the ‘de facto’ retail rates.”
Despite the shortcomings with these programs, he believes driving loyalty is the key to fighting online travel agencies. Data and knowledge of the guest is what’s important. He quotes a hotelier who told him, “When a customer eats breakfast at my Marriott, every Marriott hotel in the world has the opportunity to know what that person likes to eat for breakfast. Expedia does not.”
2. Take the revenue management path to more profits
Recent data showing the U.S. hotel industry held its levels of profitability in 2016 by reigning in expenses carries a double message: It’s admirable for hoteliers to exert cost controls, but it’s not the long-term path to sustained profitability.
Rather, hotel owners and GMs need to focus their attention on attracting more customers (that’s called marketing) and by offering pricing that entices them to book while maximizing profits for the hotel (that’s revenue management). That will be especially true if the general economy and the hotel industry enters a slowdown or worse.Hotel news roundup: loyalty programs, direct bookings and additional costs Click To Tweet
3. Enhancements to Google Trips ease travel planning
Google’s slow-but-sure march toward domination of the digital travel space took another step with announced enhancements to Google Trips, the internet giant’s six-month-old mobile travel planning app. With the upgrades users can—
- Share reservation details from within the app by just tapping on an arrow. Anyone users share the details with receive an email with full details as well as being able to view within the app.
- Update plans and add new details through the app by using the + button. Users can fill in the details themselves or simply add the reservation number and the app does the rest.
- View any past and future train and bus reservations.
4. Looking beyond last-click attribution
Hotel marketers and revenue managers seem obsessed with last-click attribution, i.e., determining the place where consumers end their travel-planning odyssey and finally book a room. While that’s an important metric, the author suggests—this isn’t a new concept but one that bears review—RMs and marketers look at all the channels a guest employs before pulling the book-a-room trigger.
His tutorial helps marketers determine which touchpoints along the conversion path should be getting the credit for the final sale or conversion and how to act with marketing dollars on that intelligence. He also points out strides Google has made to help all marketers gauge the effectiveness of their ad dollars.
5. A nickel-and-dime approach to boosting revenues
The author proposes six possible fees or add-on charges hotels could levy on guests for additional reservations-related services. Some would call it nickel-and-diming guests, but it could be a way for guests to assure certain concessions. Among his list of revenue-building ideas, most of which carry operational issues:
- Charging to confirm either room location or bed type;
- Additional fees for early check-in or late departure;
- Charging a “significant” fee for allowing guests to date-change pre-paid and nonrefundable rates;
- Charging a change fee within a 30-day cancellation window; the fee can escalate closer to arrival date.
6. TripAdvisor scales back its Instant Booking option
TripAdvisor is apparently scaling back the focus on its troubled Instant Booking feature. Instead, according to the author, the review site is sending more users to metasearch links, not the book-on-TripAdvisor option, in the primary View Deal box in search results. A TripAdvisor spokesman said the Instant Booking option would mostly be highlighted if it is the lowest rate or for hotels that the customer has previously booked on TripAdvisor.
The change appears to be financially driven. An analyst who follows the company said a shift to metasearch over Instant Booking could increase TripAdvisor’s annual revenues by $50 million to $100 million.
7. Hotel industry picks a fight with the OTAs
The American Hotel & Lodging Association is getting feisty in its war against disruptors. First, it was Airbnb; now the lobbying group is taking aim at what it calls “the Priceline-Expedia monopoly.” The group apparently has a game plan to fight the OTAs in both the court of public opinion and in the hallways of the Washington bureaucracy.
The trade group intends to lobby Federal Trade Commission officials on the issue and try to ensure that new members picked by President Donald Trump are friendly to hotels. It’s also mounting a PR campaign pointing out how the monopolistic makeup of the OTA industry hurts consumers.
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RELATED LOYALTY ARTICLES:
- Do Loyalty Bookings Have To Come Direct?
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- Tech Teams Falling Short On Enabling Personalization, Hotel Loyalty