Maximise your bookings through better channel management

Person booking holiday on laptop

How understanding booking trends will boost your bottom line

 

You know your hotel’s customer demographic inside out, and you’ve been religiously tracking your own booking history, adjusting rates and planning your longer term revenue strategy. You’re listed with one or more distribution channels; your property is being seen far and wide with competitive rates – but you would still like to see your revenue, and overall bookings, increase further. What more can you do?

In addition to analysing your guest data for engagement purposes and encourage repeat bookings and upsells, as we wrote about last month, you can equally explore booking trends in greater depth, to understand your potential at different times, with different channels, and in different circumstances.

SiteMinder, whom we are proud to work with as our primary distribution partner, not only gives you access to over 450 booking channels; they have a revenue-driving platform helping hoteliers with distribution, real time insights, direct booking systems and guest engagement tools, and have created an annual report designed to inform and boost your hotel’s distribution strategy.

In the words of Dan Freeman, Strategic Account Manager for SiteMinder (EMEA & North America):

“It’s important to understand market trends, including how your competitors are distributing their rooms, and adapt quickly with pricing, rate plans, packages etc. Bear in mind that the SiteMinder revenue-driving platform gives you everything you need to take action with ease.”

Getting to grips with booking trends in your area to out-perform the competition

If you can get to grips with the latest booking data affecting your area, you can prepare your property for the trends your region will encounter, as well as the impact of local pricing, length of stay, average rates, cancellation rates and more – ultimately future-proofing your bookings as well as maximising them.

You’ll be more able to optimise your promotions and policies to help your property out-perform the competition with actionable insights, as well as preparing for periods of high demand.

SiteMinder’s annual report on booking trends, which can be read in full here – is based on the findings of the 215 bookings which are made every minute, and the 115 million bookings every year, generated through the company’s distribution channels.

Global and UK trends

Globally, international travel has accelerated; travellers don’t seem to mind higher prices (but are not extending their stays); and are more comfortable booking ahead – which is also reducing the impact of seasonality.

Here in the UK, the top 10 findings which may affect Rezcontrol customers, are:

  • Due in part to London being a haven for business travel, UK stays were among the shortest in the world in 2023, with 96% of stays being for four nights or less.
  • During the week, Friday stays generated the most revenue for local properties at £219, on average, followed by Saturday.
  • With international arrivals rising to above 50% of all stays, the average booking lead time stretched by four days to 41, marking a 7% increase year-on-year.
  • While Booking.com remains at the top of the tree in terms of most popular channel both here and abroad, across all property sizes, direct bookings are closely behind.
  • The top 4 positions have in fact held steady: Booking.com, Expedia, direct bookings and Hotelbeds were in the same positions in 2022. Hotelbeds has increased its revenue share.
  • Trip.com was a winner this year, climbing 4 spots since 2022. This points towards more leisure travellers, and in the case of Trip.com, particularly from the Asia-Pacific market.
  • Meanwhile Hopper – another channel which appeals to younger travellers – is one to watch if you have a steady customer base coming from the USA, especially with international travel being on the up again since the end of the pandemic.
  • HRS, which brings in business travellers, particularly from the German speaking regions, also gained a place.
  • In terms of channel commission versus performance it’s definitely worth considering a few different options; as hoteliers you will be aware of the relevant commission rates and will have data on how well they work for you. Don’t forget to list with TXGB as well (Tourism Exchange Great Britain), who will allow you to connect to your local tourism board to receive bookings.
  • It is vital to consider varying cancellation rates. You may get more bookings with Booking.Com, for example, but they charge on average 18% cancellation rate, whereas AirBnB charge 15% and have a committed customer base which may bring in more repeat bookings as well, especially if you offer boutique breaks to Gen Z travellers.

Explore your channel options with AirBnB

Hotels can also list more easily on AirBnB than in the past, and they are extremely popular for boutique breaks – so if this is you, and you’re not yet connected to AirBnB, it’s time to consider it. AirBnB has been looking to diversify and offer more value to accommodation providers, including:

  • Lower cancellation rates: average cancellation rate under 15%, making Airbnb a very attractive solution for accommodation providers.
  • Rising traveller segment: Gen Z is more likely to choose AirBnB properties, at 21%.
  • Leisure is the most common reason for travel, but 10% of AirBnB bookings are related to business travel.
  • Direct traffic for incremental bookings: as of Q3 2023, around 90% of traffic to AirBnB was direct or unpaid. Users visiting Airbnb from a search engine have a specific intent, giving accommodation providers access to incremental bookings and a new audience.

With this kind of information, you can really evolve your distribution strategy to optimum effect, as well as using it to inform pricing and ROI projections.

“Hoteliers need to be proactive in connecting to multiple channels”

As Freeman explains: “Hoteliers need to be proactive in connecting to multiple channels, especially as certain Online Travel Agents target particular market segments. SiteMinder allows hoteliers to find the right guest for your hotel, wherever they are booking, alongside the associated costs.”


Don’t forget the ‘Billboard Effect’! Convert ‘lookers’ into ‘direct bookers’

“Your direct bookings will benefit from your property’s exposure on other channels too, as 65% of people who visit a hotel’s OTA listing will then visit that property’s own website. This is known as ‘The Billboard Effect’, and gives you the chance to convert them from ‘lookers’ into ‘direct bookers’!”

He also emphasises the importance of enabling those last minute reservations, saying: “You can increase your direct bookings further by having a ‘last minute’ option on your direct booking engine – matching the rise, since COVID, in last minute bookings via platforms such as LastMinute.com.

“Meanwhile metasearch platforms, such as Google Hotel Ads, TripAdvisor and Trivago, are also proving reliable and high volume booking avenues, with SiteMinder’s Demand Plus feature putting your direct booking engine on these platforms. This allows your direct booking engine to be at the right place, at the right time, at the right rate. It’s therefore vitally important to have a website that is user- (including mobile-) friendly and easy for potential guests to book directly. A call to action is recommended, for example “book direct for the best rates” or “free late check-out when you book direct”.

Finally, depending on your property type and location, SiteMinder also has some specific and lesser-known recommendations which our hotels may like to consider:

Pubs/Inns/Independents

  • Speedybooker: UK based, typically less commission than Booking.com or Expedia.
  • JustHooIt: UK based, bidding model with cheaper commission than major OTAs.
  • 5pm: Based in Scotland, this channel targets Scottish properties.

Full Service

  • Great Little Breaks: great for driving revenue with packages.

Rezcontrol and SiteMinder – for a more streamlined distribution experience

With more information in the full report, including patterns in daily rate changes, seasonality, booking lead times, cancellation rates and costs and more, SiteMinder can therefore really help you plan for maximum revenue – especially in conjunction with our own Rate Matrix and pace reporting, and a revenue management system such as RoomPriceGenie. For more information on SiteMinder, visit their website.

Unlike other PMS providers, Rezcontrol takes pride in carefully choosing and managing relationships with our integration partners – with an end goal of giving our customers a smooth and seamless ride which brings together the best from all of them.

Sign up to our webinar to maximise your bookings!

With so much to learn and to take advantage of through best use of your distribution strategy, Rezcontrol is proud to be co-hosting a webinar with SiteMinder in early July! “Maximise Your Bookings through Expert Channel Management” will take place on Wednesday 3rd July at 11am. Click here to book your place!

Not a customer? Call us on +44 (0)330 223 1456 or email sales@rezcontrol.com – or contact us for a demo.