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:

Booking.com just announced something amazing

The growth of mobile So, I don’t normally cover press releases, but this one’s worth mentioning:Priceline subsidiary Booking.com reported late last week that their mobile booking revenue tripled last year. Which would be impressive, until you consider that it tripled to $3 billion from $1 billion in 2011. That’s billion. With a “b.”

Um… wow.

I gave a talk this morning to a group of travel and hospitality companies about how big mobile’s going to be. And I referenced items like the growth of the millennial market, how to handle the iOS/Android debate, and all that jazz. But, by any standard, those are some impressive results. I’m thinking there might be something to this mobile web business after all.

Interested in more? Sign up for our free newsletter and get more information on how to build your social, local, mobile marketing strategy. And, if you’ve got a minute, you might enjoy some 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.