Co-authored by Jovanna Fazzini, Senior at Boston University’s School of Hospitality
Hoteliers, marketing directors, and revenue managers in particular are continuously learning how to put the pieces of the puzzle together when it comes to creative and effective options for selling out room nights. Numerous challenges arise with the plethora of new distribution technology, which complicate the process of directly reaching the guest, or even controlling a hotel’s presence on the variety of brand and third party websites.
The Director of Sales and Marketing at The Langham Boston, Rachelle Boudreau, emphasized this challenge. “It is difficult to be aware of the various distribution channels, as so many are changing daily and being bought by other companies. These distribution partners are then taking the inventory and selling it online through other third parties. Additionally, some tour wholesalers try to re-sell the inventory through other online travel operators in other countries, who, in turn, will place inventory on a B2B (business to business) and B2C (to consumer) websites, which can ultimately diminish the hotel’s rate parity.”
Knowing how confusing the digital marketing and distribution landscape can be, how do hotels manage their options to sell inventory, particularly
All the great societies of the world were made possible by a simple yet game-changing evolutionary leap: complex communication. From the first moment early humans grouped together, it was their ability to communicate and innovate that took us from the caves into gleaming towers of steel and glass that tickle the clouds. So, it’s not just business that runs on communication, everything does.
The early days of the travel and leisure industry are more recent but nonetheless important. In days gone by the idea of traveling cross-country or across a continent was a life-and-death proposition. Through innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit, the travel and leisure industry has become the ambassadors of business across the globe. Yet, when your customers can be literally anyone in the world, how can anyone be expected to effectively understand what they are they are saying?
Social Media, a quantum leap in human connectivity and communication, has been fully accepted within the travel and leisure industry. Virtually all of the major hotel chains have active social media engagement
Bangalore, or Bengaluru as it is known officially, is India’s IT hub, at the forefront of India’s technological advancement. Also known as the ‘silicon valley of India’, Bangalore is home to the headquarters of a number of international IT giants, apart from numerous other science and technology education institutes.
While this characteristic of the city is recognized worldwide, Bangalore also possesses other qualities which, though maybe less well-known, are equally important in constituting the city’s socio-economic context. As one of India’s fastest growing urban agglomeration, the city boasts of not only technological, but also economic and cultural advancement. Over the past decade, the metropolis has seen an immense growth in its economy and culture as inhabitants from other parts of India, as well as the world, has made the city their home.
Needless to say, for content writers in Bangalore, the world of technological content holds immense potential of income. But apart from technology, content related to media, education and sports is also familiar ground for writers based here. Cricket, India’s unofficial national game, is a celebrated sport with the Chinnaswamy Stadium hosting some
Cédric Louis Simon, Senior Project Manager – Research and Development at Amadeus, tells us about the e-Commerce capabilities offered to hoteliers.
Amadeus Hotel provides a centralised hotel management solution that combines central reservation, property management and global distribution systems into one fully integrated platform, transforming hoteliers’ IT and distribution capabilities. Providing a single and real-time view of the whole business, it’s a one-stop shop solution, designed to meet the diverse IT and Distribution needs of larger hotel companies.
Amadeus Hotels e-Commerce Suite
Amadeus Hotels e-Commerce Suite is an intelligent, full-service suite of solutions for hoteliers to develop direct online sales.
The Hotels e-Commerce Suite is an integral and fundamental component for hoteliers
The Hotels e-Commerce Suite is an integral and fundamental component and provides the technology to manage online B2B, B2C and mobile shopping transactions.
The Hotels e-Commerce solutions for Web and mobile platforms allow guests to shop with speed, whilst the tailored information and customer offers help increase booking conversions, transforming hoteliers’ direct online sales.
There are two essential modules which drive the e-Commerce solution: Amadeus e-Retail and Amadeus Dynamic Website Manager.
Amadeus e-Retail is the hotel internet search and booking engine driving shopping transactions, which is fully customisable and scalable to include all the
Across the country, a labor movement is percolating, with potentially significant implications for businesses, including the hospitality industry in particular. Low-wage workers are increasingly turning to the government to demand better pay via higher minimum wage mandates. This movement has already garnered some critical victories and shows no signs of abating. According to the National Employment Law Project, an organization that advocates for workers’ rights, fourteen cities and counties across seven states have agreed to raise their minimum wages to $15 per hour over the next few years. An additional sixteen states, including California and New York, will increase the minimum wage by up to a dollar in 2016. Furthermore, President Obama has voiced his support for the Raise the Wage Act, which would gradually increase the federal minimum wage from its current rate of $7.25 to $12 dollars per hour by 2020.
As workers nationwide celebrate the promise of greater economic security, businesses are grappling with diminished profits due to higher operating expenses. The hospitality industry is especially susceptible to the detrimental impact of raising the minimum wage. From housekeepers to front desk clerks to the food and beverage staff, hotels employ numerous workers who are paid at or slightly
Last week, Henry Trask called his travel booker with a request. “I need to go to Brazil,” he said, naming a little-known town near a large biomass plant. “The trip is for business, so I’ll need to be within a 10 minute drive from the plant. Also, my wife is planning to join me for the weekend, so can you get a hotel with fun things to do? And can you get me a pre-paid room?”
Many agents would not be thrilled to get such a call. Henry, like Goldilocks and her search for the perfect bowl of porridge, wants something extremely specific. Hotels next to large industrial sites rarely cater for tourists. Henry’s request for a pre-paid option adds another layer of complexity.
Such a hotel will exist, but searching for it is no easy task for a busy booker. It’s possible that the only suitable hotels in the area will be smaller, independent properties with unsophisticated websites. These hotels are also unlikely to be bookable via the indirect channel, meaning that our busy booker will instead have to ring up and make the reservation over the phone, and manually complete the itinerary rather than relying on auto-complete.
“If it’s not on social media, it didn’t happen” says Vanessa Saw, Digital Executive for Marriott’s Creative & Content Marketing department. I was in Marriott’s Hong Kong regional office to take a close-up look at ‘M Live APAC’, the company’s new Asia Pacific state-of-the-art marketing and brand newsroom Command Center, which has become Marriott’s epicenter of real-time marketing to customers in the region.
Social media has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. Social media spending is currently about 13% of marketing budgets, but this is expected to rise to over 20% in five years. A recent study by McKinsey found that the impact of social media on buying decisions is greater than previously estimated and growing fast, with 50 to 60% of customers looking to social media recommendations for products like travel. They also found that online articles written by journalists prompt consumers to seek out social media to further inform purchase (and that public relations’ spending to generate such articles are a worthwhile investment). A large percentage of consumers read reviews of hotels, attractions and restaurants prior to vacation, and whilst on vacation over 70% post photos on a
Amadeus interviewed Alpio Aquilina, one of our hotel account and implementation analysts, to gain his expert insight into the world of LinkHotel and the tailor-made solution for independent hotels and small chains. We ask him for his advice and about the new page he created on the LinkHotel website called “Training Academy”.
Alpio, describe what’s typically involved in implementing new hotel members on Linkhotel.
My main focus is to co-ordinate the implementation of the new hotels and hotel chains joining Amadeus LinkHotel, whether driven by the team based at our Madrid offices or with our many local Amadeus sites around the world. Implementing a new hotel or hotel chain with Amadeus LinkHotel can take as little as five working days – and in three easy steps!
- Publish entire hotel’s content in the world’s main GDSs (Amadeus, Sabre, Travelport (Galileo and Worldspan))
- Activate the hotels on all channels
- Make the hotel’s negotiated rates to the travel agencies authorised to see them
With these steps – the hotel is then officially an active LinkHotel member.
You recently created a new page on the LinkHotel website called “Training Academy”. What can members find in the Training Academy?
In the Academy, hoteliers will find a set of training videos on common
Jeff Edwards, Head of Global Hotel Business, Amadeus IT Group
Hoteliers do not need to be told that they are facing a perfect storm: the macro-economic challenges of the past few years, a proliferation of new distribution channels, and next generation technologies – everything from mobile smartphones to the concept of ‘big data’ – adds up to a period of rapid change in the global marketplace.
For hoteliers, the challenge is not recognizing that these issues are here to stay; it’s understanding how to adapt and evolve their IT systems to cope with this new environment. This is easier said than done: hotels sometimes operate on 30- or 40-year-old systems. Transitioning from a system built before mobile phones even existed is not a simple task.
The first question is where to begin. Many big chains have built their own IT systems over the course of many years, and this approach creates not only a high degree of customization, but also a strong emotional attachment to the system – even in some cases giving it a human name. But even deeper than personal attachment to an in-house system runs a fear of risk, a fear that a migration project represents more trauma than the business can
‘Showrooming’ is the term used to describe a phenomenon that keeps high street retailers awake at night – shoppers coming in to look at the goods, or asking for expert, in-store advice – then going home and ordering online from ecommerce giants such as Amazon or via the original manufacturer’s website. Or even worse, going into a shop, using an app to scan in-store bar-codes and ordering the item online from a cheaper retailer. American electronic goods chain Best Buy even went through a phase of covering up products’ bar-codes to try and block this kind of customer behavior.
For retail travel agents, showrooming is particularly devastating, as agents will spend hours dispensing advice to would-be customers, only to lose their commission when the customer takes the advice – but spends their money elsewhere.
Showrooming proves that people still value the advice from travel agents.
Ironically, showrooming proves that people still value the advice that travel agents provide, and will actively seek it out before making a decision. The phenomenon of showrooming is not just about saving money – so how can travel agencies re-capture these lost sales?
Breadth of hotel options, expertise, and speedy searches: these are the three things that travel
Revenue management’s history is based in the airline industry, but unlike the airline industry, hoteliers have far more variables to take into consideration. For example, while an airline company might have a simple grid of fares, a hotel will have a flexible and dynamic rates systems depending on location, season, facilities, and so on. By 2000, it was already clear that revenue management needed to up its game if it was to remain relevant to the hotels sector.
Being able to predict demand to ensure inventory is not left on the shelf is vital for a hotel
Hotel revenue management is typically based on historical data and current data – how many rooms are left in a property at a precise moment in time determines their value. But this data is not enough: At midnight, a hotel’s rooms reach their sell-by date and turn into pumpkins. Being able to predict demand to ensure inventory is not left on the shelf is vital for a hotel.
Today, the fixed, disconnected and disparate model of revenue management has been overtaken by the fluid, dynamic model of price management, and this works much more effectively within the complexities of the hotel industry. By employing price
Jeff Edwards, Head of Global Hotel Business, Amadeus IT Group
Technology can often feel like a barrier standing between a business and its goals. In an ideal world, all the new generation platforms and theories – big data, social media, the internet of things – ultimately connects us and enables us to make better sense of the world. In reality, vendors cannot update software quickly enough to satisfy the business world.
Open systems are changing the way all businesses operate.
But a quiet revolution is solving this problem. Open systems are changing the way all businesses – including hotels – operate. In today’s world, innovation, flexibility, and speed are key to competitive advantage; IT needs underpins commercial agility, and open systems deliver it.
Open systems are different from static proprietary systems because (as the name suggests) it is open to all. Can you imagine a world where hotels could plug into IT like we plug into utility services? That’s what open systems provide – an all-encompassing IT platform that gives hoteliers the most current and cutting-edge software on a daily basis. Open systems are higher quality and more secure than static proprietary systems, as they can continually be upgraded and improved by developers. They are ‘unlocked’ so a hotelier’s
Amadeus Hotel Insight is our new online business intelligence tool which allows hotels to track their performance, analyse booking patterns and identify new business opportunities. It is the result of several months of development, piloting and fine-tuning in close collaboration with numerous hotel partners. The first prototype of Amadeus Hotel Insight was showcased around the HEDNA event in 2012, and was then thoroughly tested and refined until we were satisfied it met the needs of all of our hotel customers. Since its launch in October 2013, Amadeus Hotel Insight has been rolled out to 30 hotel chains and representation companies, with 30 more in the pipeline for 2014.
“Your new reporting tool covers all our needs. Congratulations – great job!”
As one of our Amadeus Hotel Insight customers said: “Your new reporting tool covers all our needs. You have taken the time to listen to us and have delivered exactly what we were looking for. Congratulations – great job!” We couldn’t ask for greater endorsement than that!
Why was Amadeus Hotel Insight developed?
Let’s take a step back to 2011 and our Customer Satisfaction Survey. When discussing hoteliers’ perception of the Amadeus billing information (ABI) we provide and how it is used, we
As a member of the LinkHotel family, we thought you might be interested to hear a little bit about our history and key achievements as we celebrate our 4th anniversary. So we spoke to those who know LinkHotel the best: this is their story.
To celebrate our 4th birthday, we take a look back at our history and key achievements, reminisce with one Amadeus LinkHotel member, and take a sneak peak of our future.
The LinkHotel Journey So Far
From our French roots…
In 2005, Amadeus purchased the French company Optims and with it the company’s CRS and Distribution platform – Otedis. We later re-named the hotel distribution business – AMCD (Amadeus Multi-Channel Distribution) and the next 5 years were spent consolidating hotel content and building on the strong foundations of the Otedis technology. But the name ‘AMCD’ lacked flavour; our new energy and drive to become a world-class hotel distribution and marketing services company required that we had a new name, so we set to work on a re-branding exercise.
…to providing the missing link!
Essentially, what do we do? We link hotel chains and properties to the world, raising their international profile and in doing so, increase the potential to grow hotel bookings. The
How does Amadeus LinkHotel help a beach-side hotel who wants to target more business travel and increase hotel sales? We spoke to Rosa Roig, General Manager of Hotel Ciudad de Castelldefels in Barcelona, to hear her story.
Life before the GDS
Hotel Ciudad de Castelldefels is a beautiful, 103-room hotel located right on the beach, just a short taxi ride away from Barcelona airport in Spain. As such, the hotel is located in an ideal spot for a family holiday, a business trip, an event or a romantic getaway. Prior to 2011, Hotel Ciudad de Castelldefels was not distributed on the Global Distribution Systems (GDS) and relied mainly on summer leisure bookings and local business agreements. Like many independent hotels and small chains, bookings came through the hotel’s website, telephone or online intermediaries such as HRS and Booking.com.
When Amadeus LinkHotel approached Hotel Ciudad de Castelldefels, Rosa was quick to see the benefits of joining a multi-GDS hotel services partner. “We wanted travel agents around the world to be able to book our hotel and LinkHotel could give us international exposure on all the global distribution systems”, explains Rosa.
LinkHotel gave us international exposure on all the global distribution systems
“Our key objectives were
According to numerous research studies, the majority of hotel bookings are made from the first hotel screens viewed, indicating that screen placement clearly does make a difference. With over 1 billion multi-availability hotel transactions made on Amadeus each year, is there a way to make your hotel stand out from the crowd? The answer is YES, there is! The solution is Amadeus Instant Preference.
What is Amadeus Instant Preference?
Imagine the impact of having your hotel preferentially placed on hotel availability and listing screens for your city destination! Thousands more bookers would be instantly attracted to your property, increasing the opportunity to turn those viewings into bookings.
AIP is a powerful marketing tool which enables hotels to influence the placement of their property in the hotel list display.
Amadeus Instant Preference (AIP) – part of the Amadeus Media Solutions portfolio – is a powerful marketing tool which enables both hotel chains and hotel properties, including small chains and independent hotel properties who are members of Amadeus LinkHotel, to influence the placement of their property in the hotel list and hotel multi-availability display. This ultimately gives hotels the opportunity to take advantage of higher yield and premium bookings by Amadeus’ network of travel professionals
Please tell us a little more about IP Hoteles?
IP Hoteles is a hotel solutions company for the Latin American market. We offer our 200-strong hotel members a variety of services which include: revenue management, web design and online booking capabilities, distribution to online travel agencies via our channel manager product and of course GDS distribution. For GDS connectivity, we have partnered with Amadeus LinkHotel.
We have an equal mix of leisure and business hotels, so for the time being, we are focusing our GDS efforts on those properties that are more likely to appeal to the corporate market – due to their favourable location, facilities, star rating etc.
How long have you been a member of Amadeus LinkHotel and what were the main reasons that led you to select Amadeus LinkHotel as your distribution partner?
We activated our first properties via Amadeus LinkHotel about a year ago and now have 25 properties on the GDS. There were a number of reasons which led us to select Amadeus LinkHotel as our distribution partner: firstly, we could see that the Amadeus LinkHotel offering was a perfect match for our hotels,
Amadeus LinkHotel offer was a perfect match for our hotels
which are predominantly 3-4 star,
Amadeus Hotel Insight is almost a year old, so we wanted to interview one of our top users – Nick Thomas, Sales System Support Team Leader at Travelodge UK – to find out what he likes most about the tool and how we can use his direct customer feedback to further develop our online business intelligence tool in the future.
Nick, you are relatively new to your role managing the GDS business for Travelodge. When did you start using Amadeus Hotel Insight to analyse your Amadeus GDS bookings?
Amadeus Hotel Insight makes it easy to understand where our GDS business is coming from, analyse booking patterns and identify new business opportunities.
I moved into the GDS area of Travelodge at the beginning of the year and was introduced to Amadeus Hotel Insight by my Amadeus Account Manager straight away. A key part of my role is to understand where our GDS business is coming from, analyse booking patterns and identify new business opportunities. Amadeus Hotel Insight makes this very easy as I can produce the reports I need quickly and easily using the filters available and even create dashboards showing me specific reports as soon as I log in.
The audience demographic for consumer brands across every market is changing. The millennial generation’s preferred means of socializing, shopping, and travelling are characterized by a greater reliance on technology, a more holistic view of their experiences, and different expectation levels when it comes to customer service.
For hotel bookers, this means that hotel content to match a new demographic’s expectations is vital. In the US alone, millennials will account for more than 50% of the workforce by 2015, and this represents a significant potential spend on things that workers often do – travelling for business or leisure.
Moxy hotels is the new ‘economy lifestyle’ brand from Marriott, geared predominantly towards the millennial customer.
With this in mind, we spoke recently to one of the hotel brands specifically aiming to personalize their offer for this millennial audience. Moxy hotels is the new ‘economy lifestyle’ brand from Marriott, geared predominantly towards the millennial customer. As Marriott already distributes through Amadeus, we’re naturally very excited about adding Moxy’s rooms to our bookable content – and curious to know more.
We caught up with Moxy Vice-President, Ramesh Jackson, to ask how this new hotel brand plans to target millennials, and how it will differentiate itself in today’s
What is revenue management?
Revenue management is about predicting consumer behaviour and optimising room inventory so that it is priced in a way that will maximise revenue. The difficult part for Revenue Managers comes in deciding how to work these things out!
Unsold rooms means lost revenue
Hotel rooms have a sell-by date: at midnight, any unsold rooms become a lost commodity and untapped revenue eats into your fixed costs, driving down profit margins. So which rooms should you sell to whom, when and at what price to achieve maximum profitability for your hotels? A good revenue management solution can help answer these questions.
How can you fill those rooms?
It’s all about being able to predict travel patterns based on an understanding of the market place, a dynamic view of your bookings portfolio and an in-depth knowledge of your customer base.
It’s all about being able to predict travel patterns based on an understanding of the market place, a dynamic view of your bookings portfolio and an in-depth knowledge of your customer base. To help make more precise predictions, Amadeus has developed a Revenue Management System (RMS) which gives hoteliers unique insight into on-the-books business and forecast trends. When combined with historical bookings and
Please tell us a little more about Star Inn Hotels?
Star Inn Hotels was born in 2004 with our first property opening in Regensburg in Bavaria, Germany. We have progressively grown our family of hotels and by the end of June this year, Star Inn Hotels will have 16 properties across Germany, Austria and Hungary. We are predominantly a 3 star brand, although we pride ourselves on offering ‘ four star quality at two star prices’, which explains our excellent retention rate and the fact that our hotels achieve 67% occupancy throughout the year.
Across the Star Inn group, we have a very healthy mix of 60% corporate and 40% leisure, although this of course varies from hotel to hotel, depending on the location of the property. The majority of our corporate business comes through Amadeus LinkHotel, with online travel agencies bringing most of our leisure and weekend guests.
What makes your chain special and unique?
Working for Star Inn is really like being part of a close-knit family and we treat every one of our guests in a unique and special way. To give you an example, we had mattresses especially commissioned by a German company that were rigorously tested and adjusted over