Why Developing Your Distribution Strategy Matters for your Hotel

What's happening to your conversion rate?Hey, hotel folks. Do you hate your channel “partners?” Do you feel like they “force” you to sign agreements you don’t want to?

If so, you’re not alone.

And, that’s a shame.

Because most channel partners (OTA’s, traditional travel agents, group and meeting planners, etc.) are actually good folks trying to help place business in your hotel.

No, seriously.

Now, it’s not to say that every market manager from every OTA treats every hotel like they treat their best friends. But, usually, these folks’ success depends upon having enough inventory in their market to meet a wide array of guest needs.

And that need represents your opportunity to negotiate favorable terms. The challenge, of course, is that many hotels lack a cohesive distribution strategy. Instead of understanding their best customers and taking the steps to diversify the sources of those best customers — in particular, placing an emphasis on those guests delivered via direct channels — hotels often sign myriad agreements and pay the most attention to the channels delivering the most business. Some channel partners recognize this dependence and push for terms that both increase their profit (and, to be fair, what business wouldn’t?), while simultaneously increasing their hotel partners’ dependence on the channel.

So don’t do that.

Of course, it’s easier said than done. But there are ways to break the cycle. And that’s the point of my latest Travel Tuesday post over on Tim Peter Thinks: “How to Take Charge of Your Distribution Strategy.” Give it a read if get a minute.

If you need help developing your hotel’s distribution strategy (or some other part of your digital marketing), give me a call at 201-305-0055.

And if you’re interested in learning more about travel marketing and where it’s going—as well as lessons that apply to a host of other industries—register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” You can get your free copy of the report here.

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of these changes in the marketplace, including:

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Do Guests Search for Travel in Maps? Why They Will Now

Google maps flight search smallAlex Kremer on Tnooz highlighted the addition of flight prices to Google Maps earlier this week. To put it mildly, it’s a really big deal. A game-changer. For reals. I explain why in my Travel Tuesday post, “4 Reasons Why Google Metasearch in Maps Matters (Travel Tuesday)”.

One argument against this enhancement suggests people don’t search for travel on map services at all, so what makes this a big deal? Well, as I note in the post,

“I think it’s certainly true that people don’t search for flights on Google Maps. At least prior to today, why would they?

But once early adopters begin to gain the advantages metasearch has long promised, why wouldn’t savvy travelers search for flights on Google Maps? “

You can read the whole post here.

Interested in learning more about travel marketing and where it’s going — as well as lessons that apply to a host of other industries? Register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World” here.

And you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of these changes, including:

How to Get in Your Customers’ Pocket

Mobile commerce grows upYour customers increasingly browse, shop, and buy their travel via mobile devices. Unfortunately, getting your product in front of customers seems harder than ever. The diversity of choices available means you have to continually find new ways to attract and engage customers. Travel, in particular, faces the additional challenge of representing a “sometimes” purchase for your customers, that is, one that they typically make just a few times a year—if that.

But… it ain’t all bad news. The key word in the paragraph above is “seems.” The diversity of options mobile provides your customers also offers you creative, innovative ways to engage your customers not just once a year, but every day. And that’s the subject of this week’s Travel Tuesday post How to Get in Your Customers’ Pants… Pocket over on Tim Peter Thinks. Check it out if you get the chance.

Interested in more? Register to receive a free copy of my new special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here. You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of mobile, including:

Facebook Hires Head of Travel – Lee McCabe | buuteeq

This isn’t news any longer, but it’s still worth noting that Facebook recently hired former Expedia exec Lee McCabe as its head of travel. As noted during the recent HSMAI Chief Digital Officer Roundtable, Facebook — and other players such as Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon — don’t have a significant presence in the online travel space… yet. But given the size of the online travel space (~ $120B in 2012, roughly 35% of all e-commerce), it’s no wonder Facebook has started to take notice.

Skift offers this insight from McCabe:

“A big part of the role is helping our travel partners reach existing objectives by connecting, engaging, and influencing consumers on the Facebook platform,” McCabe says. “We’re already doing that by identifying the right solutions for travel, such as Custom Audiences, Facebook Exchange and Offers. So far, our partners that have the most clear objectives and focus on core solutions are seeing the most success.”

How big is Facebook in your marketing plans this year? Does their attention to the space cause you to look at them more closely? I’d love to hear what you think.

Tuesday Travel: Weekly Marketing Roundup

Online marketingLooking to improve your hotel’s marketing going into 2013? Here’s a quick round-up of this week’s best hotel marketing and distribution tips and techniques:

Don’t forget to check back here regularly for additional hotel marketing tips and techniques. And take a look at my main blog for additional online marketing and e-commerce news and info.

Mobile strategy tips from HEDNA

Anyone who’s been around the travel industry for long knows about HEDNA, the organization dedicated to easing distribution for hoteliers and distribution channel operators. I was fortunate enough to keynote HEDNA’s spring meeting in Spain last week and can honestly say I learned at least as much as I shared with the audience. So, today’s recapped 5 amazing mobile strategy tips from HEDNA over on the main blog. Check it out.

And, please remember, I’m available to speak at your next event, too. You can read all about how I can help you have a successful conference here.