ÒTry to eliminate all unnecessary third parties in your online distributionÓ - advice from the direct booking best-in-class - Insights

ÒTry to eliminate all unnecessary third parties in your online distributionÓ – advice from the direct booking best-in-class

 width=The Direct Booking Summit series returns in 2018 with its biggest-ever conferences in Amsterdam and Dallas. Summit hosts Triptease will be bringing together top industry talent from Marriott, Best Western, Google and more in order to facilitate two days of full, frank and honest discussion about the state of the Direct Booking Movement in 2018.

To mark the two-month countdown to Direct Booking Summit: Europe, we’re sharing an interview between Triptease and one of Europe’s leading hotel groups: Deutsche Hospitality. Earlier this year, industry association HSMAI recognised Steigenberger (one of DH’s brands) for their stellar direct booking performance in 2017, which saw them double their volume of direct business.

Case studies such as the following are integral to the Direct Booking Summit’s agenda, where each speaker is encouraged to draw on experience and share tangible suggestions with their peers. Join Triptease in Amsterdam in June for more insights into the direct booking best-in-class.

TRIPTEASE: Could you tell us about the ‘Direct Business Drive’ you implemented in 2017? What were your aims, and what were the outcomes?

DH: Driving direct business is an ongoing and constant process in our company. Therefore, all our initiatives and projects aim for decent growth rates in our direct business. It is hard to specify “the one” project which brought us enormously forward. What we did in 2017 is implement certain payment options on our direct channels, we got professional in multivariate [testing], we connected some new metasearches and we released Chatbook – our new conversational booking engine for mobile users.

Our general aim is to increase our direct booking volume 15% each year, and we doubled it in 2017. Our own websites are the second strongest online channel after Booking.com. That’s something that makes me proud.

TRIPTEASE: What would your advice be to other hotels trying to grow their direct business?

DH: First of all, try to eliminate all unnecessary third parties in your online distribution – for example, static wholesalers. Rate parity is a requirement for professional online marketing activities, so avoid partnerships with companies that threaten it.

Secondly, build up knowledge inside your own company. Online marketing and metasearch bidding, for example, are not rocket science – they don’t have to be done by outside agencies.

Thirdly, and most importantly, focus all your activities on customers’ needs – and be open to learning from the distribution channels with more resource than you when it comes to testing.

TRIPTEASE: Why did you decide to develop a voice skill for Amazon’s Alexa? Has it improved customer experience for your guests?

DH: In the beginning, it was more of a personal interest. I use Alexa a lot and my apartment has turned into smart home heaven – you don’t ever need to touch a button for the lights, the sound system, the heating or even the hoover! (My girlfriend doesn’t share my Alexa enthusiasm, unfortunately…)

We met with Amazon quite some time ago, and decided to partner on creating a voice interface that would be relevant for our customers. You can use the ‘skill’ to get advice on which of our hotels are the best fit for your mood and travel expectations. At the end, a personal offer is created and sent to the customer. The skill touches the guest at an early stage in the customer journey and brings an element of gamification to their choice. Guests can be inspired to visit one of our hotels in a very easy way.

TRIPTEASE: What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the hotel industry at the moment?

DH: In my opinion, we’re facing quite the same challenges as we were three years ago. The hotel industry has a very slow learning curve. As a whole, we’re still fighting rate parity issues, though Triptease are really helping with this. OTAs and metasearches have big budgets and therefore far more scope than individual hotels. There are also still technology partners who are deeply integrated in the hotel industry but cannot deliver adequate solutions for our needs. And, overall, we have a growing economy that fills our hotels and increases our rates.

The challenge is to achieve as many things as possible in the bright period where we have budget for fast digitalization and improving our technology. That’s what we’re doing as a company that wants to be best in class.

 

Join us in Amsterdam
Tickets for the Direct Booking Summit: Europe are available via the website at 25% off until June 1st.

For any questions regarding the event or its sister conferences in Dallas and Singapore, email [email protected] today!

 

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