Germany’s Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association (HSMA) hosted its annual “Pricing & Distribution Day” in Frankfurt recently. An audience of around 300, consisting for mostly hotel executives involved in distribution and revenue management, was keen to learn about the latest trends and strategies in their sphere of action.
In the light of rising distribution costs and the increasing feeling amongst hoteliers that they are no longer in control of their own rates, sales channels and products, the guiding theme of the event was how to find and apply the right balance between direct and third party distribution. Clever online marketing, a strengthening of direct distribution channels, Web 2.0 applications and mobile technologies were among the options discussed to lower the costs of distribution. Speakers included top managers from major hotel brands such as Accor and Best Western, HRS CEO Tobias Ragge, consultants and industry experts. Amongst the latter, Ragnar Strerath, Division President RTConnect at RateTiger, was invited to share his expertise.
His presentation titled – “Learning against helplessness - How hoteliers can rid themselves of feeling dependent on their distribution partners” – dealt with options to get back on eyelevel with OTAs and other sales channels. The key message: it needs both distribution management technology and market insight, none of these two will do the job alone. Ragnar explained which competencies are essential, these ranging from insight in the distribution landscape and its options and conditions, product development and placement skills to revenue management, online marketing and competitor analysis. But how can hoteliers obtain this knowledge? While technology can be bought – and Ragnar pointed out relevant features for channel managers and the most important questions to ask possible suppliers – the latter can be acquired in various ways: by training existent staff, by employing specialists, or by working with external experts.
Ragnar listed the pros and cons of each option: while in-house training takes time and hardly ever reaches the level of focused experts, it might also be too expensive for smaller hotels to employ a specialist. For these, consultants who help setting up a strategy and choose suitable technology can be a promising alternative, particularly if these consultants are largely paid per booking and consequently interested in the hotel’s success. Ragnar concluded with some statistics on Ramada’s performance, which has improved significantly since implementing RateTiger, quoting hotel’s Regional Director Markus Barth as testimonial.
The presentation was followed by an intense discussion, which showed that the speaker touched the needs of today’s hoteliers and that his insights were well received.
Jasmin Keller is PR Representative for the German speaking markets and is responsible for driving all PR activities for RateTiger and eRevMax brands in the region. Jasmin is based in Hamburg and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org