Top 3 Online Distribution Challenges for Independent Hoteliers
The increasing number of accommodation providers and emerging new technologies make the online distribution landscape quite a dynamic one. In order to adapt to the new challenges, many independent hoteliers started using software solutions such as Cloud Hotel Software.
But can independent hoteliers properly put such a software solution to use without previously being aware of the challenges that await them? We are here to help you. Here are the 3 online distribution challenges independent hoteliers have to address in a proper way.
Finding the Perfect Online Booking Site
We are aware of the fact that independent hoteliers are not so happy about having to partner up with online booking sites. When we look at the stats regarding global hotel room shopping trends, it becomes more than clear that metasearch sites and OTAs are the preferred methods of booking.
Since you may be wondering why is this so, lets us quickly elaborate. Online booking sites generate huge amounts of qualified traffic they dominate all major search engines. Your official website simply can’t compete with them.
So what are your options?
If you decide to partner up with an OTA agency, you have to closely inspect their customers and see if demographics and customer profiles align with your target audience. The most important factors to consider are:
– The region that the specific OTA serves
– Which demographics they attract
– In which specific traveling industry niche does the OTA specialize in
The other option is to implement hotel booking channel manager software. This solution will help you connect your hotel with dozens of travel booking sites, vacation rentals, online travel agents, and so on. With the help of this software, you will be able to streamline your booking efforts, prevent inconveniences due to overbookings, and tap into the power of market analysis.
Big Data Analysis
Online distribution channels generate a huge amount of data over time. The next big challenge is – how to collect this data and analyze it in a timely and efficient manner. This is another reason why many hoteliers fall back when it comes to using cloud-based hotel management software. Thanks to easy online channel integration, this software allows hoteliers to monitor their performance on online channels.
In addition, thanks to real-time monitoring, hoteliers have this amazing opportunity to optimize performance as well. For instance, you can decide which channels to keep open and which ones to close in specific scenarios. Hotel booking channel manager software will not only help you monitor and gather relevant data, but also analyze it, and display meaningful charts and reports.
With access to the all-in-one system, you will be able to make accurate and data-driven decisions, attract more guests and increase profits. Here are some of the data structures that you will find helpful:
– An insight into the customer journey – in order to manage your accommodations properly, you have to find out how far in advance do your guests book their rooms. And not only that, but also what is their preferred channel.
– The length of stay – this is another important thing to factor in. You will be able to see how many guests each channel generates and how long do they stay in your hotel.
– Room types booking pattern – Easily discover patterns in the guests’ booking process and optimize your offer to attract more guests and increase profits.
Fine Tuning Your Direct Channel
You are probably aware that if you completely rely on the booking sites, you will be exposing your venture to a lot of risks. What if your dominant online channel runs into some kind of trouble? Or, what if business is so good that your most fruitful booking site decides to pump up commissions?
This is why you should never forget about optimizing your direct channel. At the same time, this is the third major online distribution challenge. What should you do? Make it very easy for the potential guests that arrive on your website to book accommodations and find the information they need. Marriott’s “It pays to book direct” campaign is a great example of this.
Fortunately, cloud hotel software comes with an easy to use integrated booking system allowing you to make booking available directly on your website. Thanks to integration to booking websites, the data is regularly updated. This prevents overbookings and serves your potential guests with fresh data.
As you can see, while each one of these challenges is unique, all of them can be addressed by implementing cloud-based hotel management software. You will get full control over your online distribution channels. More importantly, you will have an insight into real-time data and you will be able to make data-driven decisions.