Monday, May 18, 2009

Weathering the storm with online special offers

Hoteliers should be focusing their efforts on offering competitive deals in order to try to restore tumbling numbers of bookings, says the findings of a study by Filmbank and RBI Insights.

The recession may be hitting hoteliers hard, but by implementing a range of “special offers” to attract customers can help to increase the number of reservations, even during periods of economic uncertainty, the study concludes.


Although 50% of surveyed hoteliers said added-value promotions such as in-room meal-deals and spa packages were highly attractive to customers, the most successful way to increase the number of reservations is to offer special deals on room rates or for extra nights stayed.


RateTiger agrees and sees this as the one way to ensure that occupancy and revenue is maximised without slashing rates unnecessarily and devaluing the brand. Experimenting with offers can help revenue to remain buoyant and for the hotel to maintain, if not improve, its market share. However, one has to be careful with the amount of Special Offers being promoted. Any such offering should be limited in scope and time to ensure that brand values are not being derailed.


With an increasing number of customers moving online to find the best deals, hoteliers can reap the full benefit from this changing trend by reflecting their special offers across their distribution channels, rather than just relying on the more traditional GDS and CRS for their business.


But to effectively sell online, hoteliers need to have the right tools in place. Without full control over rates and availability, hoteliers will find that the effect on their revenue and occupancy is limited. Without the help of appropriate tools, offers can often not even be posted online on time to gain the most value and return.


There’s no doubt that the current economic slowdown has affected the number of reservations, but it’s not all doom and gloom; there’s still a huge number of people wanting or needing to stay in a hotel every day. What is needed is a clear pricing strategy, which incorporates enticing special offers smartly as well as the ability to implement it across multiple distribution channels to capture the customers looking to snatch a good deal.

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