It’s summer, which means most hoteliers are simply too busy to concern themselves with refining their distribution strategy.
That’s understandable, but if you can squeeze an extra hour or so out of your day to pay closer attention to your channel manager, you’ll be able to maximise you occupancy - and do so profitably.
Channel managers are now part and parcel of most hotel booking systems, and while it might be tempting to set yours up initially and then leave it to its own devices, you’ll quickly find yourself cursing the hotel’s inability to match its competitors’ occupancy levels.
To be competitive in this market, you need a proactive channel management strategy - it’s that simple.
In this blog, we’re going to look at four ways hoteliers can use their channel managers more effectively.
1. Make sure it’s integrated
Are you using a separate channel manager and hotel booking system without any link between the two?
Bit of an effort that, eh?
There’s a way around this, which is to ensure you opt for a channel manager that integrates with your hotel booking system. And when we say ‘integrates’, we mean a full, two-way link between both platforms.
Such solutions ensure your availability and rates are correct, no matter where they appear online but, more importantly, rid you of the frustration that comes with updating multiple systems. You’ll also avoid overbooking and benefit from a very happy team behind the front desk.
2. Work to increase the number of OTAs you use
We’ve often said that you need to spread your wings far and wide online when it comes to channel management, and that remains true today.
It may feel like you’re giving everything away to third parties by signing up with as many OTAs as possible, but if your hotel is missing from a website on which your main competitor resides, you’re giving up far too easily.
Surely you want to fight for those bookings too?
The more channels you add, the more you get to explore the industry and find new ways of attracting guests. You may even find new markets you hadn’t considered before or discover that overseas visitors are particularly fond of your independent hotel.
Never consider your distribution network complete; new OTAs arrive regularly.
3. Tailor tariffs for different demographics
Once you have a good number of OTAs on board, you can start sussing out the types of guest they attract.
If certain websites are favoured by millennials or baby boomers, you can tailor your tariffs to attract those types of guest. Conduct your own research by finding out what kind of extras and price points float the boats of these people.
If you simply offer the same style of tariff across every OTA, you may be alienating significant portions of your customer base.
4. Don’t neglect your own website
It’s easy to forget that one of the most important websites within your channel manager is your own.
Treat it like an OTA, albeit one that you know like the back of your hand. Be careful not to break the rules of your OTA agreements, but, equally, have some fun.
Try offering package that include additional, ‘freebie’ extras that can’t be found on OTAs. Modern guests will do an awful lot of research before they decide to book, which means they’ll inevitably stumble across your website at some stage.
Give them a reason to book direct.
We’ve got you thinking, haven’t we?
Grab that extra hour and log into your channel manager. Those buttons, switches and toggles will all still be there, waiting for your input.
Don’t leave your occupancy to chance.