EVA Air offers autumn savings on its Kangaroo Route

EVA Air offers autumn savings on its Kangaroo Route

Thursday, 27 October 2016 08:00

EVA Air is...

Vietnam addition from Thomson and First Choice

Vietnam addition from Thomson and First …

Wednesday, 26 October 2016 14:00

Thomson and First Choice have announced the introduction of Vietnam to the winter 2017 programme.

Ranch Rider adds authentic Arizona ranch for next year

Ranch Rider adds authentic Arizona ranch…

Wednesday, 26 October 2016 11:00

Keen to expand on its portfolio of authentic US ranches, Ranch Rider will be introducing Arizona’s Hideout Working Ranch in its 2017 brochure, which is situated near Portal near the...

Qatar Airways announces daily Seychelles flights

Qatar Airways announces daily Seychelles…

Wednesday, 26 October 2016 08:00

Qatar Airways will provide UK holidaymakers with greater access to the Seychelles from December 12 when it launches daily flights via Doha.

HF Holidays highlight winter breaks

HF Holidays highlight winter breaks

Tuesday, 25 October 2016 14:00

HF Holidays is promoting a selection of winter getaway including a Christmas Craft Weekend at Dovedale in the Derbyshire Dales, Festive Walking At Dovedale, A Seasonal Stay at Malhamdale in...

Flybe puts more summer 2017 routes on sale

Flybe puts more summer 2017 routes on sa…

Tuesday, 25 October 2016 11:00

Flybe has put more early release routes on sale as part of its preliminary summer 2017 schedule.

YHA submits plans for London’s first ‘Super Hostel’

YHA submits plans for London’s first ‘Su…

Tuesday, 25 October 2016 08:00

A planning application has been submitted by YHA (England and Wales) to open its first Super Hostel in London.

£2.3million immigration hall upgrade plans at Bristol Airport

£2.3million immigration hall upgrade pla…

Monday, 24 October 2016 14:00

Following a major overhaul of the security search area for departing passengers, Bristol Airport has unveiled plans to address congestion in arrivals.

Intrepid targets socially conscious Gen Z with new Geckos age-range

Intrepid targets socially conscious Gen …

Monday, 24 October 2016 11:00

30 year olds will be ‘too old’ for Geckos Adventures next year, as the Intrepid Group has announced that it will cut the age range to meet a growing demand...

New survey reveals just one in 12 Brits manage to wangle an upgrade

New survey reveals just one in 12 Brits …

Monday, 24 October 2016 08:40

New research from Jetcost.co.uk has revealed that only 8% of British travellers have actually managed to secure a free upgrade for their holiday, with flight upgrades and hotel room upgrades...

Just You launches travel trade solo experience

Just You launches travel trade solo expe…

Friday, 21 October 2016 14:00

Just You has announced its largest investment to support the travel trade with the launch of 200 joint marketing events to promote solo travel.

Spontaneous people are happier according to Snaptrip survey

Spontaneous people are happier according…

Friday, 21 October 2016 11:00

Spontaneous people are often believed to lead more exciting or glamorous lifestyles and a new study has confirmed that they are happier in all aspects of their lives.

Top Brighton attractions on Combi-Saver tickets for half term

Top Brighton attractions on Combi-Saver …

Friday, 21 October 2016 09:00

Visitors to Brighton this October half term can save up to 20% on its top three paid-for attractions with combination tickets now available for British Airways i360, SEA LIFE Brighton...

Free cabin upgrades with Cosmos Tours

Free cabin upgrades with Cosmos Tours

Thursday, 20 October 2016 14:00

There still’s time for agents to book a Croisieurope river cruise for their customers with a free cabin upgrade on a range of river cruises throughout Europe, when booked with...

Last minute autumn breaks available at Haven

Last minute autumn breaks available at H…

Thursday, 20 October 2016 11:00

Agents can still give their customers a last minute family break this autumn from £99 when booking a Haven holiday between now and November 5.

Skiers urged to head east for best piste costs reveals new report

Skiers urged to head east for best piste…

Thursday, 20 October 2016 08:00

Cash-conscious skiers can avoid the slippery slope of higher prices for their annual downhill trip by heading to ski resorts in Eastern Europe.

Over recent years consumer behaviour has changed dramatically. Easily available information coupled with the continued economic turmoil has made today's consumers extremely discerning in their choices around travel.

Hoteliers in turn, with access to the same data, have to fight harder to win customers' loyalty. Just relying on standard approaches to marketing or relying on online travel agencies (OTA's) to fill up the rooms is no longer enough. The ability to analyse Big Data and making profitable decisions continuously is the new mantra. It is clear that this is a disrupted marketplace for hoteliers - the key question is "how does the hospitality industry adapt its go-to-market strategies to remain profitable?"  The emerging trends in this industry provide an answer:

Marketing to the hyper-connected traveller
The increased use of social media has created both challenges and opportunities for hoteliers, as they determine how to participate and respond to the ever-growing buzz online. Travel-focused blogs feature consumers' experiences, sparing no details. Social networking sites like Facebook provide a forum to share travel stories and photos. Websites like TripAdvisor offer customer opinions, ratings, reviews and comparisons of hotel stays. Quantifying and incorporating insights from these sources can have a measurable impact on a hotel's performance and on its ability to captivate this hyper-connected traveller.

Embracing a smarter approach to pricing
In order to become more competitive in today's rollercoaster market, hotels must be smarter about pricing. It's Business 101: when demand is robust, price aggressively; when demand is low, you need competitive pricing. This back-to-the-basics approach is what defines a rational pricing strategy, which involves understanding demand, customers' willingness to pay, available inventory and overall market conditions. While disruptive technologies like social media and online travel agencies (OTAs) are here to stay, hoteliers would be remiss to lose sight of how important it is to make intelligent pricing decisions. And yes, augmenting these pricing decisions by leveraging social media Big Data is the next analytical step hotels should take.

Rethinking the OTA strategy
Pricing to win customers is only half of the equation; the other half is to retain them. By increasingly relying on OTAs to drive business, hoteliers have lost focus of the customer experience and outsourced to the OTAs blindly. Improved customer service (as reflected in the social media scoring) can have a significant impact on a hotelier's ability to price without sacrificing occupancy. Perhaps hotels could borrow some ideas from the airline industry and offer enhanced services. Say your customer visits your website and requests a stay but you are unable to accommodate him, but what if you could direct him to a nearby hotel? Sure, there is risk in this, but the customer will look for another option anyway - why not help him find an alternative quickly? The focus should always be on meeting customer needs, and it can start by changing how you sell and market your services. The study referenced above notes that improved customer service (as reflected in the social media scoring) significantly impacts a hotelier's ability to price without sacrificing occupancy, so it is worth rethinking OTA strategies.

Investing in mobility
Mobility is the new buzz word in hospitality. Knowing that the traveller of today is constantly connected, hotels are figuring out ways to harness technology to provide the ultimate customer experience. Smart phone apps allow customers to search, book and check into a hotel, and provide a key pass (much like mobile boarding passes) to enter their room. Imagine giving customers the ability to request additional services such as room service from their smart phone while still en-route to the hotel. Or if you wanted feedback on their stay, you could send a push notification via smart phone as their taxi pulls away from the hotel - TripAdvisor-like ratings can be yours in quick order! Hotels have just started to scratch the surface on mobility and this disruptive technology can harness significant customer goodwill and profitability in the years to come.

Back to the future
The best way to run a business is to know how to serve a customer at the right time with the right service. Heretofore, demand forecasting was seen as a means to an end - specifically as a means to do intelligent pricing and revenue management and not as an end in itself. It is no secret that sales, marketing, operations, revenue management and finance all have their own forecasts and rarely do these forecasts synch up. But if done right, collaborative demand forecasting can give hotels a holistic solution designed for all of decisions made by all stakeholders in the business.

Race to the top
In a disrupted marketplace, hoteliers will do well by going back to basics. Know your customer better by harnessing Social Media data. Invest in mobility and direct contact to connect better with your customer. Use dynamic pricing to keep up with the shifts in the market. The face of a hotel customer has changed and the industry has had a structural shift due to technology. Adapting to this new reality will mean the difference between success and failure and those agile enough to capitalise on these emerging trends will survive the race to the top.

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