Your distribution strategy, in many respects, is the key to your reservations success at your hotel.
The more you distribute the rooms and services that you offer at your hotel, the more guests you will attract and the more your hotel will grow.
Developing an effective distribution strategy is critical, and implementing it carefully is an even more important step.
Here are three key steps to creating a successful hotel distribution strategy:
1. Business mix optimisation
Understanding the different traveller segments who book at your property allows you to diversify your business mix and optimise your distribution strategy.
In most cases, travellers can be broken down into two different groups: lower-yield segments and higher-yield segments. Lower-yield segments often derive from wholesalers.
These guests will book your rooms early, but they also have a tendency to book your rooms throughout the entire year. Higher-yield segments are often generated from OTAs and even your own hotel booking engine.
These guests may book their rooms shortly before they arrive, and often pay higher prices for rooms because of their last-minute approach.
They may book just a few days before they arrive, and may have a tendency to book during the peak travel season in your region.
2. Overview of online and offline channels
Your distribution strategy needs to include a diverse range of channels, both online and offline. This allows you to promote your hotel property to the greatest number of guests from around the world.
Online channels to work with include OTAs, your own direct booking engine through your website and social media platforms. Offline channels that you should consider partnering with include voice reservation services as well as wholesalers and tour operators.
With online channels, your hotel marketing campaigns are able to reach every corner of the earth. An increasing number of travellers are relying on online travel sites in order to research prices, opportunities and activities for their upcoming trips.
While online channels are pivotal, offline channels are not obsolete. Offline channels have the ability to attract local residents as well as older travellers who may not be as comfortable working with the Internet.
3. Technology to tie it all together
Developing a pricing strategy and establishing distribution channels is an important part of your overall distribution strategy, but it’s not complete until you invest in the right technology to seamlessly tie all of these components together.
A business solution designed specifically for hotels will allow you to connect with your various distribution channels, update your pricing based on market demands and consumer trends, and maximise your bookings.
You will want to include a direct online booking engine, a channel manager, and a property management system in your hotel technology suite.