How Do Hotels Fill Those Last Available Rooms?

By Leora Halpern Lanz President, LHL Communications | December 24, 2017

Co-authored by Jovanna Fazzini, Marketing Communications Coordinator, LHL Communications

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 at that eleventh hour?

Contrary to Popular Belief, It's Not All About OTA's

According to Steve Ehrhardt, 2016 Chairman of the IHG Owners Association, and owner/operator of Missouri-based Ehrhardt properties, it is not necessary to utilize OTAs as a long-term booking method in tertiary markets if the hotelier has the right data.

The Langham Boston
XV Beacon (15 Beacon) is a luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Boston
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Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.