There is a lot to take in for Sales Directors of Hotels & Resorts as the hotel market has been constantly evolving over the last decade. Gone are the days when you had your wholesalers, GDS, companies and direct bookings. Then came internet with the OTA´s like booking.com who took over from the wholesalers and became the dominant business segment in a lot of independent hotels to a point where some hotels still totally depend on them, just like years ago with GTA.
Now we are in the midst of the mobile revolution, with independent Hotels & Resorts slowly adapting to the new reality. There are now a number of new sites offering from last minute discount deals like Hotel Tonight (hoteltonight.com) to auction room sites like Roombid (roombid.eu) straight to your mobile. All great ideas in theory, but are they here to stay?
Lets take the last minute discount deal apps first. Having worked in the London market, I know what it is like when your Sunday becomes your distress day, you need to react. Contracting with an app like Hotel Tonight makes sense, as it can help you maintain your price points with you competitor set on your online pricing while effectively promoting on a app that at the moment is not monitored on any price comparisons tools or websites. Also at present there is not a lot of other options available apart from your normal online price discounts and promotions you would promote online, so in essence a great route to place promotions without the need to change your pricing strategy.
Then there are auction room night websites. I am yet to be convinced that they can offer a significant revenue stream for hotels purely on the basis that if you know that your Hotel or Resort has a typical distress season like any Spanish coastal resort can attest in January. There are so many more options available to you. Firstly, your pricing is set accordingly to anticipate this period, Secondly Flash sales agencies like Voyage Prive and Secret Escapes can provide visibility to a market place that is looking for that great deal of week. They have a strong market base to sell too and are easy to purchase from your smartphone. If the idea of auction sites is to offer last minute deals, I cannot yet see why a guest would go to an auction when the same deal can be purchased on other sites quicker. What is in it´s favor though is that like Hotel Tonight, it effectively offers you a way to discount your hotel without affecting your online pricing strategy.
There is sure to be many more ideas coming to the market as companies are exploring innovative ways on how to connect with the smartphone user, however these mobile apps or websites have to also understand that the role of a Hotel Sales or Revenue Director is maximize revenue when you have demand and when in your distressed days or periods, work with agencies both online and offline to guarantee visibility and bedroom sales. Hotel Tonight fulfills this requirement, I have my doubts though that companies like Roombid do at present.