How many distribution channels does your hotel have? Once set up, how often do you return to that distribution channel to ensure you are making the most out of it and taking every chance that exists to win more customers? If you’re like most hotel businesses, the answer could well be, not very often. Many will identify a distribution opportunity, such as partnering with an online travel agent, and once set-up, revert to auto-pilot, where the channel is fed inventory but little effort put in to figuring out what other opportunities it could present to drive up bookings.
If you’re guilty of leaving many of your chosen global distribution services to look after themselves to a certain extent without constantly asking how you can get more from each channel, we’re here to help. Read on for five ways that you can use both new and existing distribution channels to take more bookings.
Tip 1: Extract the most vale and data possible from every indirect channel
Regardless of the global distribution services you use, it’s a good bet that you aren’t extracting 100% of their value. An indirect channel such as Expedia offers its accommodation partners a slew of added value to help grow bookings, if you dive deep enough. Look at all available performance indicators and benchmarks available to you from each of your indirect distribution channels – things such as revenue earned, performance versus competitors, the number of bookings going to competitors provide ample data to facilitate better decision making. In turn, having this insight can help to incite needed changes to win more bookings and take business back from competitors.
Tip 2: Pick your distribution channels strategically
When working with global distribution services, you’ll have access to a range of distribution channels. Being strategic about your choices can help you to better reach key segments of your demographic and win more of the right kind of bookings.
If you’re not attracting enough business travellers directly for example, choosing a corporate travel indirect channel is a great way to win more business travel bookings.
Tip 3: Leverage local demand
With powerful OTAs and meta search engines at your fingertips, are your global distribution services leaving local demand underserved? Whatever your hotel niche and location, there will be local distribution channels that you could add to your distribution network to win more bookings. Reaching out to local businesses, business parks, tourist attractions, business networks or government organisations for example could yield a notable influx of new bookings.
Tip 4: Win back business from competitors on indirect channels
Indirect distribution channels can be used as a way to steal a march on competitors. You can use the reports provided within the partner dashboards of indirect channels such as Expedia to trace where business is being lost to competitors. This data is invaluable – you can use it to enhance your value proposition against those competitors winning more bookings. You can also use it to tailor your approach on each distribution channel, allowing you to beat competitors on price, by room rate or another key decision-making factor.
Tip 5: Don’t forget your direct channels
When working with distribution channels, keep in mind that your direct channels will offer the lowest cost per acquisition. Ensuring you invest time, effort and resources into drawing traffic through them as well as your indirect channels will give guests a choice of booking options.