Viral Marketing Meets Hospitality Revenue Management in Cornell Roundtable
Key Issue: Can Hotel Revenue Management Maintain Brand Integrity and Also Capture Revenue?
Other discussions focused on the issues relating to the emergence of new media and new media capabilities, including informal promotions through viral marketing. "Accountability is an increasingly important criterion in marketing efforts connected with new media," Pearo pointed out. "Participants agreed that the difficulty of measurement in any new medium should not be an obstacle to experimentation."
As Ashwin Kamlani, CEO of AboutAnywhere.com and a member of the hotel revenue management panel explained, "Social media are the new TV." The group debated the necessity of waiting for "trackability."
Expanding on the theme of what marketers can learn from users' web activities, Anderson explained the evolving roles of hospitality revenue management via online travel agents (OTAs), such as Expedia, Priceline, and Orbitz. "I am studying the value of incremental reservations created by listing on OTAs," Anderson said. "For instance, I have found lifts of 10 to 30 percent in total reservations from listing at Expedia (compared to periods when properties were not listing on Expedia)." Moreover, Tim Gordon, SVP of Hotels at Priceline.com, explained: "We have identified a recent increasing trend that hotels are becoming more favorable towards opaque pricing. We believe that this is driven by the economic situation."
Anderson added that opaque pricing, such as that used by Priceline.com, can be used to segment customers. "This can be done by simultaneously selling services at different prices to distinct customer segments, offering both regular prices and discounted opaque prices." Anderson teamed with Cornell professor and hotel revenue management panelist Rohit Verma to explain how customer value can be assessed using a technique known as discrete choice modeling, in which customers state their preferences for specific bundles of product attributes. "We can gain information on customer preferences by seeing how they react to offers from online travel agents," said Anderson. "Using data from Hotwire.com, for example, we can see how transaction data can be used to understand how customers choose their lodging and travel providers."
For more information about future roundtables at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, please visit http://hotelschool.cornell.edu/research/chr/events/roundtables/.
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About the Center for Hospitality Research
The purpose of the Center for Hospitality Research is to enable and conduct research of significance to the global hospitality and related service industries. CHR also works to improve the connections between academe and industry, continuing the School of Hotel Administration's long-standing tradition of service to the hospitality industry. Founded in 1992, CHR remains the industry's foremost creator and distributor of timely research, all of which is posted at no charge for all to use. In addition to its industry advisory board, CHR convenes several industry roundtables each year for the purpose of identifying new issues affecting the hospitality industry.
Center Members: Accenture • Access Point Financial, Inc. • Barclaycard US • Cvent • Davis & Gilbert LLP • Deloitte & Touche USA LLP • DerbySoft • Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts • Fox Rothschild LLP • Hilton Worldwide • Host Hotels & Resorts • Hyatt Hotels Corporation • IDeaS Revenue Solutions • InterContinental Hotels Group • Jumeirah Group • Marriott International • NTT DATA • Preferred Hotels & Resorts • priceline.com • PwC • The Rainmaker Group • RateGain • ReviewPro • Revinate • Sabre Hospitality Solutions • STR • Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces • Tata Consultancy Services • Wipro EcoEnergy • Wyndham Hotel Group