Control Issues: Taking Back Your Website

By Mike Kistner President, Chief Executive Officer & Chairman of the Board, Pegasus Solutions | May 08, 2011

The hotel industry is continuing its recovery with strong growth in both global hotel revenue and bookings, according to data we’re reporting in Pegasus Solutions’ monthly report, The Pegasus View. Driven by demand and assisted by rate growth, leisure hotel revenue jumped nearly +15% early this year over the same period in 2010. With growth in business and leisure bookings expected through mid-year, it’s more important than ever for hotels to maintain control of their websites in terms of the look (design and branding), the feel (booking process) and availability (mobile and metasearch).

Bookings to-date made online through the alternative distribution systems (ADS) show increases of more than +10% over 2010 through summer. Average daily rate (ADR) in this channel will continue a slow and steady climb, as look-to-book ratios, a product of online consumer comparisons and transaction processing inefficiency, continue to grow by over +40%.

Consumers will travel as much or more in the coming year, while a strong, but slightly smaller majority will also spend as much or more on travel than in 2010. They plan to spend, but spend wisely by shortening trips or aggressively shopping rates. Hotels would do well to examine their websites to ensure they don’t risk losing any of the business or revenue to be had from this discerning shopping audience.

The Look

The website design and online booking process is the experience your hotel sells at its virtual doorstep. Today’s travelers are savvy, shopping more extensively and deeper than ever before. They peruse metasearch sites, online guest reviews, Tweets, Facebook fan pages, and, most importantly, hotel websites before booking, which they’re still not guaranteed to do on your site. And, even if they’re not booking through your brand site, they’re still visiting it during the shopping process and the trip “sharing” process, especially through social media.

The question becomes how your brand and your website is going to intelligently capture online shoppers, and provide value in visiting and booking on your site as opposed to third-party sites. It’s not as simple as selling the plush beds and thread-count, but rather it’s about producing unique online content, distributing it across various online platforms and engaging with perspective, current and past guests.

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Coming up in July 2018...

Hotel Spa: Oasis Unplugged

The driving force in current hotel spa trends is the effort to manage unprecedented levels of stress experienced by their clients. Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by demanding careers and technology overload, people are craving places where they can go to momentarily escape the rigors of their daily lives. As a result, spas are positioning themselves as oases of unplugged human connection, where mindfulness and contemplation activities are becoming increasingly important. One leading hotel spa offers their clients the option to experience their treatments in total silence - no music, no talking, and no advice from the therapist - just pure unadulterated silence. Another leading hotel spa is working with a reputable medical clinic to develop a “digital detox” initiative, in which clients will be encouraged to unplug from their devices and engage in mindfulness activities to alleviate the stresses of excessive technology use. Similarly, other spas are counseling clients to resist allowing technology to monopolize their lives, and to engage in meditation and gratitude exercises in its place. The goal is to provide clients with a warm, inviting and tranquil sanctuary from the outside world, in addition to also providing genuine solutions for better sleep, proper nutrition, stress management and natural self-care. To accomplish this, some spas are incorporating a variety of new approaches - cryotherapy, Himalayan salt therapy and ayurveda treatments are becoming increasingly popular. Other spas are growing their own herbs and performing their treatments in lush outdoor gardens. Some spa therapists are being trained to assess a client's individual movement patterns to determine the most beneficial treatment specifically for them. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.