Thursday, April 30, 2009

University Hoteliers Conference, 2009

The third edition of University Hoteliers Conference took place on 28th April 2009 at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain. The conference was focused on the application of technologies in the hotel sector and was broadcast online by CanalTur.

Discussions at the event revolved around innovation in marketing and distribution with presentations and roundtable sessions on the role of online distribution, its threats and opportunities as well as benefits of online marketing and revenue management.

Pilar Sanchez Aita , RateTiger Sales Manager, Spain shared a presentation focusing on the evolution of Online Distribution and how the hoteliers should tackle challenges to meet consumer expectations. She also discussed the importance of maximizing visibility and revenue through channel management.

From what Pilar tells us, here is a brief overview of the event and various presentations.

“It was an excellent turnout with representatives from Google, TripAdvisor, Room Mate Hotels, Sol MeliĆ”, Starwood Hotels, Vincci Hoteles and ITH, among others, speaking on various related topics. Google shared helpful insights on the current scenario and its effect on the hospitality sector. They also presented some solutions to hoteliers like increasing distribution agreements with more channels to attempt getting more occupancy.

“TripAdvisor introduced attendees to the world of social networking relating to the sector. They remarked on the importance of consumers’ opinion about hotel chains, restaurants and attractions, not only through friends but also through the feedback and perceptions of other consumers who have experienced the services.”

Room Mate Hotels shared their simple revenue strategy and rate structure. Their representative emphasised the importance of constantly reviewing and updating online distribution channels. They also talked about the benefits of cross selling and brand management. Vincci Hoteles presented their online strategy - the promotions and packages they manage through their booking engine and also mentioned how they have improved their online revenue by using RateTiger applications.

Sol MeliĆ” presented a debate on ‘price cannibalisation’ versus ‘strategic planning, human resources training, clear processes and tools for distribution’. “This was an interesting session as it talked about the price war that has started in the industry which is a loss-loss situation for all involved hoteliers.” Sol Melia stressed the need to develop sensible revenue management strategies to forecast rates, proper market segmentation based on product – price mix and effective use of KPIs (key performance indicators).

Starwood Hotels pointed out the relevance of hotel sales, marketing and revenue management departments to work cohesively. They are aiming to develop a tool for proper rate forecast for their properties and they aspire to prepare a revenue management process to manage group, F&B as well as room rates.

The conference was jointly sponsored by RateTiger, ITH and Hosteltur.
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