A strong digital presence is a primary tool in regaining hotel margins. Hotels must further differentiate themselves beyond the booking phase with experiences that OTAs and home-sharing services cannot replicate. Impeccable service and your own digital assetts will continue to serve as key differentiators in the coming years.
It is also becoming clear that the global hotel chains fear that their expensively established brands are being devalued by the OTAs’ price-orientated approach.
Hilton, Marriott (and now also Starwood), Hyatt, IHG either all offer loyalty members direct booking discounts or are the process of rolling out exclusive offers.
Persuading guests to book through direct channels such as a hotel website or call centre enables hoteliers to offer authentic personal service, better meet the clients needs and room requirements, the best value and inclusions, plus establish a future relationship with the traveller.
Capturing guest data is the new name of the game in the hospitality world, something that selling rooms through third parties such as OTAs limits.
There is a huge misconception that third parties always offer lower prices for hotel rooms, which is simply not true. It is up to the hoteliers to make this obvious and reeducate the general public.
Yet the OTAs remain a powerful and even growing influence on hotel distribution - Google and TripAdvisor are also joining the fray - and have no intention of giving way easily. Expedia, the biggest OTA after last year’s acquisitions of rivals Travelocity and Orbitz, has recently suggested that the cost of hotels chasing direct bookings at the expense of the OTAs is about an 8% reduction in revenue per available hotel room, a key metric.
User generated content is a clear way to deepen the experience for guests, through on site guest reviews, instagram feeds and other social media galleries. Extending the guest experience of when guests are in house is also a big opportunity to provide more value and create loyal followers.
In Summary as from the Virtuoso Luxe Report… Hotels need to ramp up investment in digital and deliver better functionality and features on their site, but also more content, more interesting reasons and explanations as to why you should stay with them and book on their site.
Full Article - Luxury Daily