Hotel sector is in turmoil, but not due to the sharing economy
One might assume (if you read only the kowtowing Airbnb-friendly media) that hoteliers are running scared from threat of the sharing economy.
That may be true in some quarters, but there are equally some more earthly matters that are in need of attention.
A focus group carried out with hoteliers at the World Travel Market in London last year by Revinate and SiteMinder found that issues around distribution and the customers were far higher up the list of challenges than the rise of the sharing economy.
At the top of the pile is the guest experience, with “hoteliers admitting they invest too much of their already-limited time and resources into driving one-off transient bookings which lead to high guest acquisition costs”.
Other areas of concern include tech integration and data collection.
SiteMinder managing director Mike Ford says:
“Hoteliers have access to big data that nobody else does – that is, their own guest data.
“What we continue to see, however, is the use of disparate, legacy systems that prevent the real-time automation hoteliers need to do their jobs.
“Often, these technologies also do not meet today’s data security standards and while no technology can guarantee full protection of guest data, using technology that has achieved the industry’s stringent security benchmarks is one way they can be ahead.”
So what are the challenges facing hoteliers?
Of particular note is the apparent nonchalant attitude to SEO and domination of online travel agencies.
See the chart below:
Author of the report, Dr Peter O’Connor, says:
“Most people involved in hotel distribution and online marketing would agree that the whole area is in turmoil right now, with both technology and consumer expectations evolving extremely rapidly.
“At the same time, competition in the online environment continues to become more intense, with the result that hotels need to pay much more attention to how and where they are being sold, as well as invest in the right systems and expertise to ensure they can compete effectively in this highly turbulent environment.”
NB: Hotel tablet image via Shutterstock.
Kevin May is a senior editor and one of the co-founders at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and will be publishing his first book - a biography about electronic band, Depeche Mode - soon.