I recently caught up with Ciaran Delaney founder of Meetingsbooker.com, this innovative website allows businesspeople to book or receive instant quotes for hotel meeting and conference rooms, book refreshments and even reserve their equipment requirements. They offer a real sales channel for hotel meeting rooms and charge based on performance.
If OTA claim to bring incremental business, why do they advertise on hotel brand names? Shouldn’t they focus on destination searches instead? It seems the larger chains have convinced the OTA to refrain from this practice. However to independent hotels or hotel management groups they are not showing much consideration. This SEM hijacking or brand keyword robbery needs to stop.
2011 will become the year of flash sales in travel. But not the way you think. Of course websites like SniqueAway, Group, VoyagePrive and Jetsetter will catch on. But after a while hoteliers will figure out these websites will only erode their value proposition and average room rate even further than OTA’s have done supposedly in the past. No flash sales will take a different route in hotel marketing.
We should not stop at building our group demand calendar and pricing strategy. Nor should we depend on our conventional sales manager to fill our meeting space and bring groups to fully fill the hotel at all times. Hotel revenue managers should embrace online distribution and hotel internet marketing beyond transient room sales. There are a lot of online travel agencies that target groups ....
Many hoteliers that are part of a hotel franchise complain about their representation company. The fees and costs are astronomically high, there are many rules to adhere to, and not enough freedom for own marketing initiatives. More and more hotels resort to outsourcing to experts in hotel distribution and marketing to fill their rooms and other alternatives, achieving astonishing results. Hence the franchise model as we know it is dead.
The GDS still is, and will probably always remain, a significant source of reservations and income for hotels. Both leisure and corporate travel agents use it to search and book hotels. Many OTA websites also use the GDS for inventory. Hence it is extremely important that you GDS Hotel Description (HOD) is as good as it can be.