How are accommodation providers adapting with changes in the market? Here’s what we’ve been seeing and what you should be keeping on your radar so that you can apply it to your distribution strategy.
1. Open APIs
Legacy systems prevented hotels from adding many distribution channels, because of their slow processing speed and pace of change. Now, developers are building applications from open code, making it easier to plug applications into existing ecosystems. This means that hotels can use several technologies to help them with hotel operations, rate parity and revenue management.
What you can do: Look into the array of hotel technologies available, and start with the basics. Do you have a system like Rate Insight that allows you to monitor your rates across distribution channels in real-time?
2. Voice technology
With the launch of Alexa for Hospitality, hotels can integrate voice into the guest experience. In the hotel room, guests can use voice to do a variety of things, like change the channel, adjust the temperature, turn off the lights, and even order room service.
In terms of the growing adoption of devices like Google Home and Alexa, this means that guests can now search for rooms using voice commands. This will impact your search engine optimisation (SEO) and marketing strategy. Additionally, it becomes another channel that your rates are being depicted on, and one that needs to be considered in terms of parity.
What you can do: You may not be able to afford installing an Alexa or Google Home in every room, but you could reserve it for your most expensive suites. You should also review your SEO and marketing strategy to ensure that your webpages are optimised for voice-based search terms.
eSports is becoming increasingly popular. In fact, NewZoo reports that the estimated size of the eSports economy is $905.6M, representing a 38% growth compared to last year. Gamers are playing live, meaning that much like traditional sports, audiences are flocking to view live competitions. Hoteliers are responding with tailored packages for such events.
What you can do: Create packages and room rates targeted to eSports fans, much like would for other events that come to town. You can also partner with local eSports franchises, and even consider providing sponsorships for specific gamers.
4. Driving direct bookings
Hoteliers are increasingly selling experience over cost benefits in an effort to drive direct bookings. This is perfect for travelers who value experience over cost. For example, Hilton offers an array of benefits to direct bookers, like digital check-in with room selection.
What you can do: Offer gated perks to discourage external bookings. Think about what extras will matter to the traveler group you’re offering it to - business travelers will appreciate the ability to choose their own room, while families may want discounted offerings to local experiences.
5. Attribute-based selling
The advent of OTAs and metasearch has allowed travellers to search by specific filters related to a room. This means that hoteliers can now sell based on specific attributes that correlate to the filters in the search bar - for example, floor level, view, or room amenities.
What you can do: The ability to execute this strategy will need the appropriate technology to accommodate the variety of possible search results. In any case, you can be detailed in your room descriptions to make sure that these attributes are highlighted, and that you do the room type justice.
Are you already applying these trends at your hotel? Or are you seeing them being used in your market? Tag us on LinkedIn or Twitter, as we’d love to know!
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