Seven trending hotel news stories that will impact your hotel Revenue Strategy.
1. Natural phenomena are natural RM opportunities
Talk about making hay while the sun shines.
Events are often talked about as a major opportunity to yield room rates higher to accommodate greater demand. Usually, that means sporting events or big, annual conventions and often in the largest markets. But several hotels are taking the opportunity to market themselves as destinations during rare natural events like a solar eclipse — at far higher rates than normal.
2. Don’t overlook social media as a marketing tool
It’s easy to dismiss social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as mass-market, pedestrian marketing channels. A compilation of research shows how important these sites can be to hotel marketers looking to gain a competitive edge. Among the revelations in the report:
- More than 50% of Facebook users say friends’ photos have inspired travel plans, and 55% of people like social media pages related to trips they are planning.
- Half of all hotel companies have a booking engine or widget on their Facebook pages.
- While 20% of vacationers use social media as an inspiration device when planning a trip, 72% of people post photos on social networks while traveling, and 70% of travelers update their Facebook status while vacationing.
3. Hyatt threatens to cut ties with Expedia
Another hotel company—this time it’s Hyatt Hotels—is tussling with a major online travel agency—Expedia, Inc.—over commission rates and other issues. If Hyatt doesn’t renew its agreement with Expedia by July 31, the chain’s properties will be pulled from the OTA’s booking sites, including Hotels.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotwire and mothership site Expedia.
In communications with hotel owners, Hyatt said it’s willing to cut ties with the OTA giant and shift bookings to “lower-cost and more flexible channels,” namely its direct-booking platform. Hyatt detailed a plan to support this move through what was described as an “aggressive sales and marketing plan” and related initiatives to drive more direct traffic—from increased investment in digital marketing to incentivizing lower-cost booking alternatives.
4. Last-minute booking site tackles local market
Using a slightly naughty marketing twist, last-minute hotel online travel agency HotelTonight has launched a campaign in the New York metro area to convince locals to book rooms for last-minute getaways … or any other reason.
The tongue-in-cheek outdoor advertising campaign should remind hotel marketers to not overlook the substantial room demand potential from locals looking for a weekend getaway, staycation or for any other short-term hotel need. The OTA is also using the campaign to gain awareness for the site for its primary purpose: last-minute hotel bookings for traveling consumers.
5. Rising number of online booking scams hurts industry
Unfortunately, there’s not much individual revenue managers, GMs or owners can do to stanch the problem, but online hotel booking scams are becoming a serious consumer issue that could taint the entire hotel industry.
According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, 22% of American travelers report having booked on what they believed was a hotel’s official website, only to find they had booked on a fraudulent site—websites that use a variety of marketing tactics to mimic hotel websites but are not, in fact, affiliated with the hotel. That’s up from 6% of travelers in 2015.
Somewhat buried in the report is evidence that travelers are getting wise to the fact that online travel agency sites don’t always deliver the lowest room rates as consumers believe they do. That’s a fact RMs and marketing managers need to exploit to both help consumers get honest deals and to reduce hotels’ reliance on OTA bookings.
6. Do Hotels Know What to do With All this New Data?
While big data, analytics, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of things garner the lion’s share of media attention, using data to its full potential is much more about management than it is about technology, according to this Harvard Business Review piece.
The author advises managers to explore seven methods to put data to work:
- Use more relevant, more accurate data when making decisions
- Innovate products, services and processes
- Build more data into what you offer customers
- Improve quality, eliminate costs and build trust
- Provide content by selling new or more targeted data
- Connect data providers and those who need the data
- Exploit asymmetries, when one side of a transaction knows something that the other doesn’t.
7. Expedia enhancement focuses on local attractions
A small but significant new offering from Expedia allows hotels that use the online travel agency to highlight local landmarks, attractions and experiences as part of their site listings. The technology, which enables hotels to list 10 items, is available on the Expedia website but will soon be available on its mobile app.
What’s unclear is how many people book a property primarily based on what’s nearby. While that’s important, most travelers already know about the area at which they intend to stay and will more likely book a hotel based on brand, reviews and of course, price.
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Tags: AH&LA, booking scams, destination marketing, Duetto, harvard business review, hotel distribution, hotel pricing, Hotel Revenue Management, hotel revenue strategy, hotel sales and marketing, hotel social media marketing, hotel technology, hotel yielding, HotelTonight, hyatt vs. expedia, last-minute bookings, RMS, solar eclipse