Do you Tingo with Backbid?

May 16, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Tingo and Backbid are both discount channels that work somewhat differently.

Tingo, owned by Trip Advisor, guarantees to refund the difference in rate if the hotel where you booked drops its rate on the same room for that date. Backbid, will take your reservatiosn and try to find a similar hotel with a relatively similar room type that will take yor reservation at a lower price. They then send your reservation to the lowest bidder and cancel your original reservation.

What’s wrong with this picture? In Tingo’s case, Orbitz has tried this promotion for years and still hasn’t taken the world by storm. Most hotels I know have not refunded one check to Orbitz for a customer who found you quoted a lower rate for the same date on a room type like the one they booked.

There is something snarky about Backbid that makes many of us uncomfortable no matter how competitive we are. There is something wrong with ‘stealing’ a reservation from a competitior after it is already booked.

This may be a moot point since niether of these platforms are becoming major players and barely make the list of minor players. In the current economy, hotels are more likely to raise rates as demand increases which renders the business model of these two players ineffective for the most part.

FREE Webinar — Pricing for Summer 2012 – Top Down or Bottom Up?

April 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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We wanted to make all of our readers aware of this Free Webinar scheduled for April 19.

Lead time for leisure is almost at precession levels and “…is a result of several factors, including growing consumer confidence and an economic recovery, said Julie Parodi, senior director of strategic planning for Pegasus and analysis editor of The Pegasus View.(Hotel News Now, 4/9/12)
This is a game changer versus the past several years. In this webinar we will explore:
• How to determine demand patterns from last year
• Comparing lead times from the past quarter and summer 2011
• Forward looking rates and reports of business OTB for the comp set
• Taking the leap – sell from the top down based on demand or from the bottom up?
If you have been holding off completing your pricing strategy for the upcoming 4 months – don’t’! The time to develop a pricing strategy is now! This FREE webinar targeted at independents and boutique hotels will explore guidelines for developing your summer pricing and how to measure the results! The webinar is 45 minutes in duration and will be on April 19 at 11am PST, 10 am MST, 11 am CST and Noon EST. Click here to register for the live program and/or the recording.
http://bit.ly/HnZT6P

Rates Summer 2012 – How to Make Good Rate Decisions

April 5, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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You could just add a percentage increase to last years rates. You could just position your rates against the comp set — not a totally bad strategy but do you know how much of their rate decisions were based on groups you don’t know about. OR you could spend the time to conduct a demand analysis that will give you the info to make good rate decisions.

With demand forecasted to remain strong, the most advantageuos strategy might be to start high and lower rates if demand isn’t materializing shorter term. How to decide which demand periods to start high and go low if necessary?

The first step is a demand analysis of last years demand periods that takes into account booking windows, constrained and unconstrained demand and advance bookings.

Booking windows. Begin tracking how many rooms you have OTB this year versus last year at the same points in time. What is the reservation pace this year versus last year?

Constrained and unconstrained demand. Constrained demand is what you acutally booked. Unconstrained demand takes into account denials due to groups that you may not have on the books this year but displaced buisness last year that caused denials. How many rooms were denied due to rate and room types not being available, etc. This was business that wasn’t booked but tried to book. What was the price point that resulted in rate denials?

Advance bookings. Is your reservation pace for the high demand periods tracking higher than last year? If so by how much and at what rate?

Following a demand analysis you can begin to set a rate strategy for this summer. If you haven’t done this yet — don’t wait any longer! Advance bookings are pacing higher this year!

Why Hotels and DMOs Should Have An Interest in Pinterest

March 11, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I am totally intrigued by Pinterest! This is fridge art on steroids!

That Pinerest now generates more referrals to web sites than Twitter is astounding and it surpassed Google+ ( not suprising), YouTube and LinkedIn. (TechCrunch, 3/8/12)

Pinterest is a social network where people and companies can post images of their world and interesting images from others, on a page. It is invitation only at this time but invites aren’t hard to get when you request them.

Destinations should be salivating over this — especially for summer season leisure. Imagine showcasing the destination with pics that all have embedded links to their members’ sites — attractions, hotels, historic sites and parks. Imagine forwarding the link to the Pinterest page to clients, potential clients and interested groups.

For independent resorts and boutique hotels the allure is irresistible in creating a sense of place and experience. 95% of Pinterest’s members are women and women are the primary decision makers for the family vacation.

And it is totally free — they don’t have ads (yet). How they monetize the site is anyone’s guess but it is a tool that promises to be a great marketing platform for the hospitaltiy industry among others!

Why Hotel Sales Should Care About Google+ and Search

February 6, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Google has flexed its most formidable muscle, Search, to promote and some would say force hotels to have a Business page on Google+. Those companies and organizations that have a Google+ page will be given first preference in Search results. Not only that, there is a real revenue Issue as follows below.

An active Google+ page will be given preference in appearance on Search. The most popular travel Search is ‘hotels (X)’. If a meeeting or travel planner is trying to get an idea of the hotels in a given market, those htoels with an active presence on Google+ will be gieven first preference in the sort on Search.

In addition, the hotel’s links, web sie and interaction with it’s circle will appear. This is very compelling as it allows instant interaction with the hotel and the hotel’s web site. They will have an opportunity to gather information, and send an instant RFP if there is one on the web site — all of that right there in one location – one platform!

Here’s how it works. Next to each entry on the results section of the Search page, there are two arrows. If you don’t have a Google+ page, when you mouse over the arrow it will show the map and the hotel’s Google Places page. If you do have a Google+ page, the arrows will show the hotel’s web site.

What does this mean? The Google Places page if a customer clicks on it will show a widget that asks for dates and will show rate results in a drop down that will have all of the OTAs listed first with the web site link at the very bottom.

The advantageof the Google+ search showing the web site is that the customer can click on the site, interact with it and make a reservation right there using the hotel’s web site booking engine.

25-35% commission on all reservations made using the OTAs on the Google Places page verus 0% commission using the hote web site booking engine? No brainer!

There is a lot more to this development — keep checking back for the latest on the Google+ issue

5 Simple Hotel Sales Resolutions for 2012

December 19, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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We all have things we meant to do, wanted to do but didn’t doin 2011. Here are 5 resolutions for 2012 that are easy to keep:
1. Get supremely organized (my personal resolution!)Will this be the year that you (and me) finally do this?
2. Set goals for your activty so you can achieve your revenue goals. I love Google calendar for this as I can color code every type of activity to ensure everything is done!
3. Develop and implement a social media system to ensure that you are maxmizing opportunities. There are a few on the group Linkedin Strategies – my favorite is 7 Steps to Make LinkedIn work.
4. Prospect like crazy! Set a goal to identify X number of new prospects each week and stick with it!
5. Celebrate success – both yours and that of others! Don’t let pride get in the way of asking others how they do things well in areas you want to improve on. Find a mentor!

Let us know through your comments what resolutions you would add.

The Dilemma of Attracting Corporate Transient for Independent and Boutique Hotels

December 1, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Especially in urban settings, boutique hotels struggle with mid week corporate at this time of year when leisure mid week is non existent.

The large franchises have not only their frequent guest programs but also national accounts that feed many of their hotels at reduced rates. Then there are the large consortia that won’t even issue an RFP to a smaller hotel!

These are usually large companies with a volume of business travel. Faced with trying to steal share from these which entails more effort than the results are worth, what strategies can smaller independent and boutique hotels deploy?

Look at the flip side of the typical source of corporate travel for the franchise hotels.

Unmanaged coporate travel by small and medium sized businesses that book their own travel account for 56% of all corporate travel according to a research study by Forrester and Best Western.

Think about it. These small to meduium sized companies don’t have enough volume to negotiate significant discounts like the big guys. But they like everyone else would like a place where they are appreciated and can get issues addressed.

What about a full court press blitz, eblasts, direct mail, sales calls, reception, for every small to medium sized business in the market. Let them know that ‘their small business is big business to you!’ and you will give them the name and contact info of a live human at the hotel that they can contact if they have an issue!

I worked with a hotel once that had no major demand generators within 3 miles of the hotel — only small to medium sized businesses.

We went afer them. After about six months, we were driving a higher ADR than the comp set, getting roughly the same occupancy levels mid week as the franchises and had a stunning REVPAR!

Also, sign up for Expdia’s VIP program that caters to these unmanagaged business travelers.

(I’ve got to get a grip on the length of my titles!)

The Clients You Want versus The Clients You Get!

May 25, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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If you don’t know what the customers you want look like, market segment, demand periods, rate sensitivity, etc. you will have to keep settling for the inquiries that come in over the phone – even if they are ‘shopping’ you and all the other hotels in your market. You know they are shopping so desperation sets in and you go lower and throw in more value adds to get the business. Why? Because you have no other prospects to work because you don’t know where to look for the clients you want!

It has never been easier to prospect than it is today. The power of Search on search engines and social media bring you a universe of prospects. However none of these will help you unless you can sort through the multitude of prospects to locate the ones that are appropriate for your hotel.

Develop a ‘filter’ based on your current ‘good accounts’ — those that you want more of. What is the DNA of your current good accounts by market segment and/or seasonality?

Where does the booking originate geographically? Who are they demographically in terms of verticals or industry, what is the position of the person that books the business and the people that attend the meeting or function? Last of all, fiscally how rate sensitve are they, how do they pay the bill.

Without a filter to sort through the universe of prospects, your prospecting efforts will be like a scatter shot approach hoping a duck flies through versus a shot gun approach that focuses on a specific target.

If you don’t figure this out, you are doomed to wait by the phone for an inquiry, a bureau lead — kind of like waiting for a date to call!

Recession Lessons To Use Going Into the Recovery

December 10, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Posted in Hotel Sales Training Issues, In the News, Information, Social Media | 5 Comments
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The Recovery is here — so the experts are telling us.  This recovery may be felt in some markets more than others.   After all the dust has settled from the last brutal 18 months – what lessons can we carry into the recovery.

1.  Dropping rate does not create demand.  There have been studies on this by people smarter than I am, Cornell University for one, to the effect that those hotel’s that value add and are smarter about discounting generate more revenue than those hotels that jus follow the lowest rated hotel to the bottom.  

2.  Customers are now trained to expect value. Peter Yesawhich defined value as ‘ something that the customer could not otherwise afford.’  This could be the reason that the luxury segment of the industry is recovering faster than the other segments.    See — it’s not just about rate!

3.  Meetings are back but we lost 15% during the recession and are expected to only increase in this segment by 8% in 2011.   Value add- value add!  Be very careful of dropping rates especially on longer lead business.  

4.  Customers are locating, gathering information and booking hotels on different channels than they were prior to the recession.  How well does your hotel web site appear  on mobile phones, do you have a mobile app, how well is your property placed on Google maps? 

5.   It’s time to reward the warriors — those that have come to work every day and fought the frustrating battle of the last 18 months.   Say Thank You to everyone that stuck around.  While you are at it — pat yourself on the back!

The eBook The Best of Hotel Sales & Revenue Management is here!  The past two years have been among the most difficult in the industry’s history. This 55 page book contains lessons we all learned during the recession and those that will launch us into the recovery. Click below for  more info. 

http://www.carolverret.net/viral/dec10book.php

Social Media as a Sales Tool

November 11, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Socail media’s benefits extend to using as a sales tool for prospecting, qualifying and engaging potential prospects.

Facebook works as a sales tool with the proper Fan buidling Strategy. A Facebook Fan page without Fans is like a PBJ without the jelly. It’s dry and sticky and not very satisfying! Apart from the insertion of the icon and tag Become a Fan on FaceBook, and invitation through FAceBook to all of your exisitng clients and prospects to become a Fan is an effective way to increase your professional Fan base. Only then does Facebook become an effective tool for engaing with clietns and prpspects.

But remember you have to give your Fans a reason to return to your Fan page. Try a scavenger hunt through your links and pictures with a prize for everyone that gets all the answers. Fun, simple and will ensure that your Fans visit all of your Fan page pages.

Qaulitfy accoutns on LInkedIn throughcompany searches. This willalso list a number of emplyees of the company. Find the right contacts and join the groups that they belong to. Be active on the groups. You can invite people into your network if the two of you belong to the same group. they get to know you and you are at the top of thier minds when they are ready to buy!

Just a few tips — we have more to help you maximize your presence on social networks.

Ask us how at carol@socialmediarevmax.com

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