citizenM London Bankside and citizenM Amsterdam City are part of the fast-growing citizenM group, a ‘new breed’, renowned for providing unusual touches of modern elegance at each one of the boutique hotels in their collection. This modern approach is also true of citizenM’s marketing strategy, which recognises the importance of online distribution, including the OTA channel.
citizenM has mastered the optimization of their hotels on OTA's and knows the impact of ranking on demand, however OTA's have till date not shared any intelligence with their customers to make it scientific. citizenM wanted to focus on low demand dates and measure the extent to which optimising their ranking could increase traffic and bookings on these days.
OTA Insight helped the citizenM revenue managers understand the metrics behind their ranking and the impact these had on demand. By using the application’s forecasting capability, they could identify and focus on dates that needed attention, rather than applying broad strategies. In this way, they were able to eliminate paying unnecessary commission for dates on which enhanced OTA bookings were not necessary. The detailed insight provided by the OTA Insight dashboard also meant that the hotels could now measure the effectiveness of their solutions, both in terms of increased ranking and booking volume.
During June 2013 the citizenM properties observed the following relationships between ranking and OTA demand:
citizenM London Bankside had previously enjoyed a strong OTA ranking, but due to its enormous success and therefore lower level of availability it slipped off the first page of search results on Booking.com. By using OTA Insight, they were able to get the insights needed to perform optimally, despite the low availability, and reach the first page of Booking.com again. As a result, bookings from this OTA increased by 11%, without paying extra commissions.
citizenM Amsterdam City really explored the targeting capabilities of the application. Only when on the books needed a boost, citizenM boosted their ranking, achieving a high of a Top 10 position in the city. However, when there was sufficient demand from other channels, and at cheaper commissions, they purposefully dropped down the OTA rankings, thus making significant savings in commission payments. The correlation between ranking and booking volume was striking: for every ten positions they improved, bookings made on the OTA website increased by 6%.
OTA Insight has proven to be an excellent complement to citizenM's innovative approach to marketing and distribution and now plays an integral role in the revenue management process across the entire group of hotels. The significant cost savings and improvements in occupancy that citizenM have achieved with the application suggest that OTA Insight is an indispensable tool for any hotel that wants to retain its competitiveness in the digital age.
The Stafford London by Kempinski and Grand Hotel Kempinski Geneva are 5* hotels renowned for providing an outstanding level of service. The strength of the Kempinski brand means these hotels receive a healthy volume of direct bookings, but growing competition in the luxury sector means OTA bookings remain an important way of achieving optimum occupancy.
The goal of incorporating the OTA Insight application into the Kempinski revenue management process was to increase the number of bookings received via the OTA channel on low demand dates. This would be achieved by using the application to boost ranking on low demand dates by targeting underperforming ranking metrics.
The OTA Insight application gave the Kempinski revenue managers access to completely new kinds of information about demand in their region and the factors influencing their OTA performance. They were able to identify which dates they should target on OTAs and the most effective strategies for improving their ranking and conversion, thereby increasing the number of bookings they received. Some of the key insights they were able to act upon were:
1. Content. The hotels identified and filled gaps in their OTA profiles to achieve a perfect score after a shortfall on the OTA website was highlighted and caused a drop in visitor numbers and conversion.
2. Constant Availability. The application’s calendar view indicated when there was no or limited availability allowing them to identify unintentional gaps in their inventory.
3. City Demand. The Demand forecasting capability gave the Kempinski hotels a real competitive edge by showing them how high city demand would be on future booking dates, allowing them to optimise rates and ranking.
4. Rates & Promotions. The OTA Insight application gave the Kempinski revenue managers a unique insight into their competitors’ rates and promotions. In addition, the application also pinpointed the best time for the Kempinski hotels to run a promotion, using historical and future data to evaluate how effective it would be in terms of boosting ranking, visitors and conversion.
5. Cancellations. The clear and seamless integration of the OTA extranet into OTA Insight's dashboard allowed the hotel to pinpoint and anticipate on the sometimes high cancellation rates as a result of the OTA cancellation policies.
Within one month of using the OTA Insight application, the Kempinski properties observed the following improvements in performance:
The Stafford London by Kempinski improved their ranking by ten positions among 5* London hotels and overtook its nearest direct competitor, reaching the top ranking in its competitive set. As a result, the number of people who viewed their listing on the OTA webpage went up by 6% and bookings increased by 8%.
The revenue manager identified the key dates on which they had to get a competitive pricing edge and this targeted rate competitiveness resulted in the Grand Hotel Kempinski improving ranking on the OTA website. They were now the 3rd highest ranked hotel out of all hotels listed on the OTA website in Geneva. As a result conversion improved significantly and booking volume increased by 12.5%.
The significant increases in OTA bookings by the The Stafford London by Kempinski and Grand Hotel Kempinski Geneva illustrate the significant gains that can be achieved by optimising the management of OTAs. The low cost, quick setup process and ease of adopting the OTA Insight solution has resulted in a truly extraordinary return on investment for the Kempinski Group, who plan to roll out the OTA Insight application across the remainder of their properties.