How to Eyeball the Competition

Hotels Understanding the Traveler's Point of View

By Bhanu Chopra CEO, RateGain | July 02, 2017

The hospitality industry worldwide has witnessed disruptive growth over the last few years. With an explosive influx of all kinds of hotels, both big and small, competition is at an all-time high. However, this is great news for travelers as they are spoiled for choice, with a variety of options to choose from. Combine this leverage for travelers with the internet emerging as a strong search and transaction channel, and with the role of Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) getting stronger each day, hoteliers are now under immense pressure to ensure high visibility across all leading online platforms with an aim to drive a maximum number of bookings.

A recent research indicates that almost 60% travelers make their bookings through OTAs as compared to 27% of bookings are made through the hotel's own websites. There is no doubt that OTAs play an important role in the hospitality ecosystem and how your hotel is priced, ranked and rated on all these platforms, definitely needs to be tracked and monitored closely as part of your hotel's pricing strategy.

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Having said that, a key challenge that most hotels face in this cut-throat competitive era is the ability to define their key competitive set correctly, which they need to monitor closely and factor it in their pricing and distribution strategy to ensure increased bookings and revenue.

"If a traveler is considering booking my hotel, which other hotels apart from mine is he most likely considering?" If you get an answer to this one, you have probably hit the nail right.

Competition monitoring should be a primary element of your hotel's pricing & distribution strategy as the need to react to market changes at a lightning speed is the key to your hotel's success. That being said, the first and foremost step in this direction is to be able to define your hotel's most relevant comp-set. Most hotels today define their comp-set based on traditional factors such as geographic proximity & star rating. This clearly shows that hotels have failed to improvise on this method for long now and are clearly ignoring other important factors such as eyeball competition. So what exactly is eyeball competition? Let us find out in the next section as we discuss the challenges in the current method and introduce you to the concept of eyeball competition:

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Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.