After an all too brief respite from lockdown restrictions, many hoteliers and travelers alike have yet again been thrown into more uncertainty as the wave of omicron spreads around the world.
In the U.K., it was compounded by a chaotic few weeks on the run up to to Christmas and New Year holiday period, with claims of rule-breaking politicians in England and different sets of rules introduced in by the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
With guidance and restrictions changing by the day, hotels must turn to their data to gain the reliable insights needed to pivot and respond to the continuing fluidity of the market.
Building a business intelligence technology stack that collates hotel and guest data, competitor pricing and e-commerce tools will give revenue, distribution and marketing teams the best opportunity to navigate their way to sustained revenue gains.
A commercial team driven by numbers
The only way for hotels to attract guests is to end the unhelpful empire-building that goes on between hotel departments.
It’s never been more critical for distribution, revenue, and marketing teams to come together as one; Working as a single commercial team to understand what’s really going on behind the numbers and identify opportunities to generate revenue, despite the increased threat of ever greater turmoil for the Covid-stricken hospitality sector in the new year.
Strengthening your hotel’s internal capability to attract the local and drive-to markets continues to be a core requirement, as people are being asked again to minimize their traveling.
Having a granular understanding of both your guest profiles and competitor pricing is essential to staying one step ahead of other hotels on guests’ radars and driving direct bookings.
Do not miss a trick by failing to consume and analyze the comp set data provided by the OTAs you partner with.
In times like now, when demand fluctuates dramatically up and down due to the spread of the Omicron variant, you can’t just rely on your competitor rates that you get from your rate shopper – you need to understand their actual results.
For countries escaping the worst of the latest Covid crackdowns, building strategic partnerships with selected online travel agencies (OTAs) and metasearch engines will be a core activity.
The biggest players – read Google – are continuing to grow at pace, offering ever greater functionality and making it easier to self-manage.
With budgets likely to remain constrained throughout 2022, highly targeted OTA promotions along with trialing lower risk services, such as Google’s Pay-Per-Stay bidding strategy for hotel campaigns which allows you to pay only when the guest stay has actually occurred, may be the preferred route for many independent properties and even chains.
There is no escaping that paid partnerships are one of the most effective ways of converting guests. Recent research by Mirai found that the top three paid metasearch results secured almost 90% of hotel bookings. A staggering result.
Regardless of how hotels divide their focus between driving direct bookings and leveraging the reach and power of OTAs and metasearch, rate and content parity will make or break campaigns in 2022 and beyond.
The importance of continually tracking and actively managing distribution to safeguard rate integrity across all distribution channels is well understood by hoteliers. Parity issues can significantly affect online ranking and visibility across the board.
What’s less recognized is the increasing importance of also maintaining content parity, which means ensuring your property’s business profile, images, amenities, and geo-location are accurately and consistently listed across all channels and online directories.
Citation building is a powerful strategy that will boost a hotel’s placing on organic local search results, as well as OTA site rankings and metasearch engine results.
While reassurance for hoteliers is few and far between, technology is helping managers to take control.
Armed with real-time insights from internal and external hotel data spanning distribution, competitor rates, and guest information, hotel executives can confidently take the actions they need to safeguard the survival of their hotels today and maximum profitability going forward.
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