“I Stayed at an Expedia Hotel” was the title of Randy Smith’s keynote at the 2010 Cornell Hospitality Research Summit held October 6 – 8. Smith, co-founder and CEO of STR, stated, “Online travel agents played a role in the rate discounting throughout the country. We have created an entire industry whose primary purpose is to drive our pricing down. People say, ‘I didn’t stay at a Marriott or Holiday Inn, I stayed at an Expedia hotel.’”
Smith has it right. OTAs (online travel agents) know this and it explains their aggressive marketing. They want your guests. Your OTA may send you a one-time customer, but they capture that guest’s loyalty and the repeat business.
Owning the customer is where the real value and profit lies
OTAs are often the most expensive sales channel, with fees for independent hotels ranging between 15 and 25 percent. With a rate of $200 per night for a 3-night stay and a 20 percent commission contract, an independent operator is paying its OTA $120. This is a blow to profitability.
Independent operators are lessening or eliminating OTA dependence by encouraging guests to make reservations directly through the hotel website’s booking engine. The first step to increase direct bookings is to create an online marketing strategy and strong social media presence.
“It is easy to go to an OTA to get help moving rooms, but ADR suffers,” said John Shearer, revenue manager at Hooters Casino Hotel Las Vegas. “OTAs are good at marketing, but expensive. We rebuilt our website to make it faster and easier to directly book rooms and specials. We definitely want to create more direct bookings and will use ResWave in the future to make it easier for groups to book online. NORTHWIND built our custom landing page for web booking to increase our direct booking percentage. We also have someone that monitors our social media presence to drive reservations to our site. Maintaining rate integrity takes work, but you can do it you are willing to make the effort.”
Maestro’s ResWave real-time booking engine raises ADR and direct bookings
Michaela Bell, revenue manager for the Allison Inn, said, “Independent properties and boutiques often rely on OTAs because smaller operators have limited marketing budgets. The property must offer a great deal for high OTA site placement, but this cuts profitability. The Allison Inn does not use OTAs. We drive shoppers to book directly on our website. We use the ResWave booking engine from NORTHWIND-Maestro PMS for direct booking and also have links on Facebook and Twitter to direct-book from these important social medial channels. Our first year has been very successful.”
“Maestro’s ResWave booking solution helped increase our direct bookings five percent and our ADR is up ten dollars,” said Leslie Chinn, director of revenue management for Shanty Creek Resorts. “ResWave is integrated with our PMS hotel software so online availability is accurate. Rates are optimized automatically by our Maestro resort software Yield Management system so shoppers see the same rate at every booking point. OTAs cannot promise this confidence.”
Tabatha Kidder, business development manager for The Saint Paul Hotel, said, “Our focus is on developing effective direct booking strategies and strengthening our online presence in 2011. We will use Maestro’s ResWave booking engine to increase website revenue production; this is our most profitable reservation channel. Social media is important to us and NORTHWIND helped us implement direct booking on our Facebook page. We use Facebook and Twitter to advertise last minute promotions, especially those tied to local events, which cements our position in the community and raises brand awareness.“
At IHM&RS in New York November 13–16 visit NORTHWIND-Maestro at booth # 2453
At the BC Hospitality Exposition November 22 – 23 at the Vancouver Convention Centre, visit the NORTHWIND-Maestro team at Booth #424 for a personal demonstration
For a demo of the Maestro Property Management Suite featuring the ResWave Booking Engine, please contact NORTHWIND at 1.888.667.8488 or email email@example.com.
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Maestro Property Management Solution
Enhance guest service, improve efficiency and maximize online and offline revenue with Maestro PMS, the industry's most robust and flexible resort software and boutique hotel software solution empowering leading full-service hotels, luxury resorts, multi-property groups, conference centers, condominiums and timeshare properties. Solutions include Front Office (PMS), Accounts Receivable, Analytics and Business Intelligence, Sales and Catering, Multi-Property Management, Condo & Timeshare Owner Management with Web Functionality, Spa and Activities, Web Booking Engine, Real-Time Yield Management, Dynamic Packaging Golf, CRM, Guest Experience Measurement, CRO, GDS Two-Way XML Connectivity or Integration, Membership, Work Orders, Fine Dining and Retail POS, Online Table Reservations with Web Booking, Concierge and Guest Experience Measurement. The Maestro PMS is database independent (ODBC Compliant) and may be deployed via Windows, UNIX, Linux, Terminal Services, hosted and Web platforms.
About NORTHWIND – Maestro PMS
NORTHWIND is recognized in the hospitality industry for its “standard setting” Diamond Plus Service and robust integrated Maestro resort hotel software technology. With over 30 years experience dedicated to developing technology solutions for the hospitality industry, NORTHWIND is a partner who understands you need a scalable, flexible PMS that works the way you do. Maestro applications are engineered for operators who need to manage their enterprise in a real-time environment for the utmost operational efficiency, productivity, control and profitability.
NORTHWIND - Maestro PMS
Ivana Johnston - Sales & Marketing
8300 Woodbine Avenue, 5th floor
Markham, ON L3R 9Y7
Toll Free: 1 (888) 667-8488
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Atlanta, GA 30328
Phone: (404) 256-5512
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