Contributed by Sarah Jones, Director of Special Projects and Key Client Success, SHR

According to Kalibri Labs’ 2019 Hotel Industry Performance report, online bookings in the U.S. are forecasted to be 50% of all hotel reservations in 2019—up from 35% just four years ago. But are you really ready? With this trend in mind, asking yourself some key questions can help your hotel stand out from all the other choices on every other channel.

How Does Your Hotel Appear Online—to Your Guest?

Any properties or home share options that appear in a search engine result along with your hotel should be considered competition. The increase in online activity and sales is anticipated to put pressure on average rate and occupancy, requiring vigilance. Think beyond traditional competitors and booking sites. Simply verifying your hotel’s presence on  the usual direct and third-party channels, including social media, is not an option anymore.

Recommended Action: Look at how and where your property appears in online searches through the eyes of your guest. Maximize the use of rich imagery and concise text on all channels to quickly engage a shopper 

Are You Maximizing Your Hotel’s Tech Functionality?

Selling strategies, such as the right packages for the right guest at the right time, must be able to be deployed quickly and accurately to the market. Are you taking full advantage of the available distribution channels? The best-crafted revenue management plans will not work if they can’t be fully executed. Engage your vendors to ensure you are aware of all your various system features, integrations, and best practices to maximize their benefits.     

Recommended Action: Ensure offers are accurately deployed and look enticing to bookers across all channels with regular auditing, and that your strategy can be seamlessly implemented.

Are You Making Your Best Decisions?

Once your hotel has a strong online presence and pricing strategy, you must validate the outcome with data, which means robust reporting, including market segmentation. With more technology in use, a wealth of reporting is now easily available to be analyzed and acted upon. Understanding the story behind the cost and revenue variances is critical. With the reduction of property-direct bookings, we can no longer rely solely on this human interaction to gain feedback on our rates or recover a booking. 

Recommended Action: Invest the time to dive into reports and, based on the results, adjust tactics as needed. Take advantage of the data that comes with technology, as it is key to driving a successful strategy.

The Bottom Line

While technology enables hoteliers to reach more potential guests, it also requires ongoing monitoring and management of results to reap the full benefits. 

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