The conference series has been designed specifically for hoteliers to share their own experiences and listen about best practices. In London, six hospitality experts all representing different areas of the industry were invited to present insights on the ways hotels can increase their revenues. Hoteliers are eager to improve their business approach towards digital distribution and direct bookings, so eager actually that the room was fully packed.
Julien Touraine, director of global sales and business development, Availpro, kicked off the conference and covered the need for a user-friendly website fully equipped with a powerful booking engine – telling delegates the average time spent on a website is just 15 seconds. “In those 15 seconds you need to tell the visitor that this is the right hotel and the right place to book,” he urged.
Next up was James Parsons, head of business development, STR, who gave an overview of the market, picking out stellar performers in Europe, of which London was part for Q1 2017 after a tough 2016. With 4.7% rise in occupancy, 5.7% rise in ADR and a 10.7% RevPAR increase, London has had a pretty spectacular start to 2017. “These are the best numbers we have seen, and our numbers go back to 1993/94,” reported Parsons, before going into more detail in the data split out into submarkets, classes, and supplement.
Frank Reeves, co-founder and chief executive, Avvio, took to the stage to explain how there are, in reality, just four types of visitor to your website:
• Cautious Controllers, who are highly defensive and not happy to share information;
• Can’t Be Bothereds, not defensive, but equally unlikely to share;
• Savvy Mediators, defensive, but happy to share information; and
• Sign Me Ups, open and willing to share
Focused on personalisation and localisation and why every type of consumer matters, his presentation suggested some answers to the following question: “Do we have to ask everyone for the same data when they book?”
Reinforcing Reeves’ point about the importance of personalisation, Matthew Harris, property relationships manager HotelsCombined, discussed the importance of having a metasearch strategy in place – and, based on the consumer point of view, why it’s a channel that shouldn’t be ignored.
James Osmond, chief commercial officer, triptease, then got the full attention of all the audience, by highlighting five ways to drive direct bookings – with showing off your uniqueness a key aspect:
1. A Trusted, Fair Price
2. Benefits Of Direct
3. Relevant And Attentive Content
4. Individual Service
5. Obsessive Learning
Finally, Elena Quijano, area manager, Expedia, ended the Hotel Tech Lab with a nice and positive message around the concept of ‘delight’ in travel. “‘Delight’ is the keyword guiding such innovation. We all want people to be able to come to the site and have a good booking experience, a delighted customer,” said Quijano. “And it’s the same for hotels – we both want a delighted customer.”
You can also read more details from each speaker’s insights at the Hotel Tech Lab London here:
Three ways to capture direct bookings, loyalty and the millennial market
How Europe’s hotels are REALLY performing
Why there are only four types of customer visiting your website
Now is the time to put your metasearch strategy in place
5 ways to boost your DibPAR (direct bookings revenue per available room)
Copy Expedia’s secret of success – by not being afraid of failure
Stay tuned for more info and updates on the next Hotel Tech Lab!