By David Chestler, SiteMinder
Online distribution is growing faster than the entire travel market. Spurred by the internet economy, the desire for experiences once reserved for the elite, and the sheer volume of information that’s available to travelers makes the the world more accessible.
But if we dig deeper, the broad accessibility of information isn’t just changing a handful of travel industry trends: it’s completely shifting the balance of power – from a consumer economy with intermediaries, to a user economy with “self-service”.
Hoteliers must think global and act local to capitalize on a guest’s winding path to purchase. We live in a multi-screen world, with many points of conversion, and it’s important to remember that rate is not the prime decision tool. Hoteliers can take on the challenge in many ways. One example is to become more service-orientated, focusing on the unique elements of a hotel – such as tour guides, chauffeured drivers, dry cleaning, restaurants, gyms and a bounty of amenities and loyalty points.
A hotel’s biggest weapon in the fight for bookings is knowing the business mix inside out. Ask where your bookings are coming from. Ask what your local competition is doing to fill their rooms. Ask how you are driving your online and offline business. It is all about the details. The multi-channel, multi-screen world is here now, giving hoteliers greater opportunity to reach, attract, and convert global guests. Chain hotels have been doing this for years, reaping the benefits of a visible online presence to ensure they turn lookers into bookers. It’s time for independents to take charge, challenge the status quo, and compete in the same way.