Latest research by STR and Tourism Economics reveals that the year 2015 looks bright for hotel businesses as occupancy is predicted to rise by 1.1% to 65.1%, ADR will increase by 5% to $121.37 and RevPAR will grow by 6.2% to $79.06. “In 2014, the US hotel industry sold more rooms and will have generated more room revenue than ever before,” says Jan Freitag, Senior Vice President of strategic development at STR.
Seeing the figures above, hotels can expect an influx of tourists this year again. The art of selling more rooms then lies in balancing the distribution mix. Hotelogix shares tips to get it right:
1. Diversify: Ensure that every booking channel has a role to play in your sales and marketing strategy. It is recommended to distribute on at least 4-5 channels, both online and offline.
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2. Unequal distribution is fine: You do not have to distribute the reliance on all channels equally – the bottom line is to just not depend on any one channel because what is not in your control can change without your knowing. What if OTAs increase their commission percentage tomorrow? It will hit your bottom line directly.
3. Own your channels: Make the channels that you own very effective – like your website and social media platforms. Give enough information that will encourage bookers. Publish guest reviews on your website. If need be, hire a website design firm – the cost will turn out to be cheaper in the long run if it attracts more direct bookings and saves on commissions paid to OTAs.
4. Go heavy on social media: Your prospective guests might not be checking out OTA websites every day but they are more likely to be active on their social media handles, at least once, every day—can you think of a better way of reaching out to potential hotel guests?
5. Mobile is the way to go: If you want to create genuine walk-ins for your hotel, not having some presence on the mobile means you are missing out on assured bookings. Walk-in bookings or same-day reservations are being increasing fueled by the mobile.
6. Offline marketing: Encourage walk-ins with the help of guest loyalty programs and offline promotions as 20% of rooms are booked by returning guests.
7. Look for a centralized solution: Having a centralized pool of rooms to advertise is far better than allotting a number of rooms to each channel separately. If one channel under-performs and another over-performs, you can divide the rooms up accordingly at no loss to you. This efficient way of allotting rooms will maximize your reach and, in turn, your profits.
8. Use technology to your advantage: Eliminate errors like double bookings, reach your maximum room distribution potential and find more time to scientifically analyze channels by using technology like a Unified Distribution System.