COVID-19 recovery series: distribution strategy

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Hotel distribution has become increasingly complicated for hoteliers to manage and make the most of every channel that presents an opportunity to sell rooms. The growth of online travel agencies, including their high commissions and their grip on Google’s paid search business, has been a dominant feature of the hotel landscape over the past decade.

In recent years, that dominance has shifted to metasearch, with Google deliberately shifting from an ad provider to a full-blown distribution channel. There is also the Global Distribution System (GDS), an often overlooked method of distributing your rooms across the world to travel agents and professionals. While often viewed as an outdated distribution channel, recent studies show that GDS bookings have grown every year for 10 consecutive years, making 2019 a record year for GDS booking volume.

With the corona economy changing the travel and hospitality landscape, many in the industry believe consumers may be more inclined to seek out a professional travel agency for travel advice and reservations after Covid. -19. In these uncertain times, you can see why the convenience and security of having a travel agency to manage your trip (with the option to cancel or change your itinerary) would be more appealing than it has been since. the explosion of OTAs which have eroded much of the traditional role of the travel agency.

What is important for the consumer must also be for the hotelier. Most hotels are in a profit recovery mode, so getting the right mix of distribution and reducing distribution costs has become a critical task. But being successful with a multi-channel distribution strategy requires keeping a lot of balls in the air at the same time.

We’ve outlined what we believe are the key areas you need to focus on when restarting your hotel distribution strategy.

1. Provide clear communication and cancellation policies

Customers need to be confident that they can travel safely. Hotels will need to communicate about cleaning and social distancing to a degree they never thought possible. Messages regarding cleanliness and cancellation policies should be clear and consistent across all distribution channels to reassure and reassure travelers and those booking trips for others.

Since many online travel agents promote free cancellations, it is important that all other channels where rooms are available for sale also have a clearly stated cancellation policy, without you risking the risk of pushing. your consumers to online travel agents to make their reservations. .

2. Understand your channel mix and optimize

Hotels should be prepared to target their hard drive market hard in the coming months. We’re already seeing some hotels selling out on weekends near outdoor amenities like national parks and beaches.

Understanding where your guests are coming from and their demographics can help you make better decisions about which channels to invest in and which to reduce. Rethinking your channel mix for life after covid-19 will be very important to spur improvement in occupancy over the summer and fall.

3. Give priority to direct messaging of the book

While it is tempting to take reservations wherever you can find them, the coronavirus represents a unique opportunity for a total system reset of your revenue management and distribution strategy. Thinking positively, it’s very rare to get the chance to build from single occupancy figures to create a better distribution mix, including redefining your direct booking efforts.

In an age when consumers worry about their financial situation and are looking for the best possible deal, a guarantee of the best rate for booking direct can be a powerful message, especially when combined with added value. Upgrades to Superior Rooms or rooms with better views can be a very effective up-sell, easy to do when occupancy levels are low.

Think about how to combine your rates with added value and add a reduction in length of stay versus a reduction for just one night. A popular pricing tactic is to sell an advanced purchase fare to prepay now, but with the ability to change the date if travel plans change, such as “change date until end of date. year “hotels can manage this by ensuring that changes can be accommodated in the booking engine, instead of calling so as not to increase the demand / cost of labor.

4. Maintain your rates and continue to optimize

It is very likely that operational costs will increase for hotels, especially when it comes to housekeeping and cleanliness, as well as reduced capacity in common areas, restaurants, etc. These cost increases and restrictions mean that the gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR) is impacted.

Lowering rates right now would have an additional impact on GOPPAR’s bottom line, which many believe now is not the time to lower your rates to encourage customers to book. Previous slowdowns have also shown that hotels that maintain their rates the longest against their comp set. generally work better in the long run.

For more information on optimizing your booking engine and distribution channels, contact Vizergy distribution specialists at [email protected] or visit our blog for more helpful tips!

About Vizergy® digital marketing

Vizergy serves the global hospitality industry with conversion optimized website design and extremely competitive tools to maximize revenue. Our formula for success includes cutting-edge technologies, proven digital marketing programs, and the best professionals in the industry. At Vizergy, hotel marketing is not only our mission, it is our only objective.

For more than 20 years, Vizergy has relentlessly developed and deployed the best technologies and marketing talents to serve thousands of hospitality customers with excellence. The company deploys complete travel lifecycle marketing solutions, from responsive website design and development to award-winning and proven digital marketing programs, reservation solutions, media planning and deployment. Vizergy’s platform has long been touted as the # 1 digital marketing system for hospitality customers, easy to deploy, turnkey, and SMART, enabling customers to win in the complex and competitive hospitality industry. today.

For more information, please visit www.vizergy.com.

Contact Person: Ryan Ridge | Vizergie | +1.904.389.1130 | [email protected]

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