Size does matter: Brand consolidation in hospitality wholesale breeds optimism

"It's complicated" - a hotel may say when asked about its relationship with OTAs and bed banks. Nearly half of all hotel inventory sales online happen through OTAs and wholesalers, and that share is growing, although direct bookings continue to be attractive for hotel brands in search of greater margins. In his recent interview with CNBC, Mark Okerstrom, the CEO of Expedia, highlighted that diversity and size of inventory is a key part of his strategy for the future. "We've built an incredible platform for customers to come and look at all of the properties. We've got 1050 properties in New Yo...
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Customer search behavior: How breadth can benefit hotels

Looking for a phone number in the old days usually meant grappling with a massive telephone directory, which was usually the biggest book in the house. At the very least, you needed to know the name of the person. Commonly used numbers were jotted down in a private telephone book, which represented more information that helped you narrow down the search. Even if you didn't know the whole name, remembering what letter of the alphabet it started with would be greatly helpful. In other words, already possessing some information about what you are looking for in an indexed database will improve th...
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Hotel rooms to order: Modular units for customized service

​What does a traveler need in his/her hotel room? That's a hopelessly vague question! The answer depends on the objective of the trip – personal, business or social – as well as how much of the trip is to be spent in the hotel room, and several other factors. And when a hospitality services provider doesn't know what a customer needs, what can be done to ensure customer satisfaction? How can inventory be managed effectively? Typically, we try to figure it out from historic behavior. That brings us to predictive data analytics, which happens to be a pet favorite approach of mine to many real wo...
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Instant social feedback: Opportunity and challenge in customer service

Once upon a time, there was a fictional hotel CEO who had three big worries: Even happy customers rated the hotels in her chain as "average" or "good", but never "Excellent" or "Outstanding" no matter how hard they triedWhile she knew overall satisfaction levels, she had no visibility into what specific areas of the chain's services pleased the customer and what did notUnhappy customers would very often go ballistic on social media and ruin the reputation of her hotel chain  That 'time' is right now, and that CEO could represent a large number of people in the industry who seek to ga...
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Conversations from the HEDNA European Global Distribution Conference

HEDNA - the Hotel Electronic Distribution Networking Association - describes itself as "the only global forum exclusively dedicated to the advancement of hospitality distribution through strategic collaboration and knowledge sharing". For a quarter of a century, the association has led the way forward in electronic distribution in the hospitality sector, especially through events such as the recently concluded HEDNA European Global Distribution Conference. Today, we catch up with Christine Updegraff, Director – Account Management, Hospitality Business at IBS Software who is a regular attendee ...
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