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 February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.