Technology has created a massive change in the hotel industry, the days where there was no reliable way to guarantee an arrival date - guests arrived, if there was a room, they stayed - are well and truly gone. Today guests book their rooms with their iPads months in advance.
As things go there is no escape from the the digital revolution, hotels MUST consider these changes for their long-term strategy. With this revolution comes a multitude of new channels - Websites, Blogs, mini-websites, reviews websites, social media, iPads, iPhones and so forth.
Our actual economy requires a much more aggressive approach to sales and distribution. As a matter of fact, the ultimate goal of any hotel is to be visible on all distribution channels so that guests find the hotel easily and hopefully book a room.
Channel management is about managing a multitude of channels along with optimizing the bookings and revenue these could generate and additionally managing the hotel's reputation online and offline.
Before investing in any distribution channel, hoteliers should start by figuring out who is booking the hotel, what distribution channel did they use to book the hotel, and what people think about the hotel by looking at guests reviews. Most importantly, hoteliers should find out which distribution channels have the highest ROI and adapt their strategy accordingly.
Whether the property is on expedia.com, venere.com or both, hoteliers who set the right room rates are those who are more likely to secure additional bookings.
A lot of hotels when it comes to setting rates on different distribution channels, they rely heavily on their benchmark competitor rates. This strategy of rooms revenue management could be misleading. In fact, for most markets with a diverse set of rate levels, service standard and amenities offerings, hotels could generate more revenue just by looking outside of their comp set particularly in times of weak demand.
Hoteliers who claim that bookings made directly on their own websites are more lucrative than those made on OTAs websites should look out for their websites ranking on different search engines and invest more time and money in digital marketing in order to drive guests to their ''favorite'' booking channels.
Effective distribution channels management requires hoteliers to regularly assess, review, optimize their distribution channels and above all stay ahead of the trend.
About Taoufik Haraketi
Taoufik Haraketi is a room reservations manager and blogger heavily involved in Hotel rooms revenue management and hotel online marketing. He holds a BBA Hotel & International tourism management from the American University of London. He is currently employed as a reservation manager at Caribbean World Hotels and Resorts in Tunisia.