Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Road to Effective Channel Management - Part 3: Become a Pro


In Part 1, we discussed customer segregation and selling requirements, and in Part 2 we talked about the various tools and techniques of channel management. Now since you’ve mastered the management of your first set of channels, it’s time to take the plunge and add more channels to sell across. Based on your customer segregation, you need to choose different websites to ensure you have a flexible distribution mix with both high producing sites alongside more niche and specific channels.  

Take a look back at your proposition and list a set of additional websites to target your desired guest.

Managing multiple channels manually is a time intensive exercise. However if done correctly they can bring you instant bookings and make marketing efforts much easier.

To simplify the process, ensure rates are accurate across all websites and to save time you may want to invest in channel management technology.

Channel managers can update all your channels with new rate and inventory allocations in one go instantly, instead of managing each channel separately. 

Invest in digital marketing

Now it’s time for you to further stand out from the hotel crowd.

You need to drive guests to your booking channels and attract them with the right promotions.

Channel management technologies and web traffic data will tell you where your reservations are coming from, how guests get there and who they are. This data can further help you refine your proposition and enhance your sales marketing campaign.

Placing marketing messages and advertising across the most relevant websites (without booking engines) will bring more visitors to your own website, therefore drive direct sales and cut out the middle man charging commission. This will help your RevPAR and build your hotel’s brand.

Automate your channel management

Hoteliers that have optimised online sales and distribution are taking the next step towards full channel management automation.

When your channels are performing well and you have the full market data to make quick and informed rate decisions you can implement tools to manage rate and inventory allocation that responds automatically to market conditions.

This ensures that your hotel continues to perform and remain competitive even when you’re not able to pay attention.

Pre-programming rate behaviour can ensure that you continually improve your RevPAR.

While rates are managing themselves, you can then begin to focus more energies and time on promotional campaigns; enhancing visibility and consumer interaction across digital and social networks to raise the profile of your hotel; secure more advanced bookings; and ensure you have heads in beds for tonight and the next many nights.

In Essence…

Effective channel management requires hotels to constantly assess, review and optimise the performance of their sales channels.

It’s important to take each stage at a time so you can maximise the results from each activity rather than spread yourself thinly.

Get the first points done well, then begin moving on to the next stages.

Continually reassess and analyze hotel data to further focus your market and develop a stable future for your revenue streams; above all it is important to be adaptable to market changes – as you never know what may happen.

You have now come to the end of the Three Part series, but Remember - Commit to the five pillars of effective channel management:

Knowledge: Know your hotel, your product, your competitors and the market

Data: Gather market/business intelligence to know how your property is performing

Access: Manage your sales channels directly ensuring rate and inventory allocation is updated in real-time to maximise bookings

Exposure: Market the hotel to the right audience to increase reservations

Analysis: Understand how the market is performing to optimise RevPAR through your products and service

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