How distribution & digital marketing will change in the post-COVID
By Henri Roelings, Founder & CEO at Hospitality Net
It's clear now that it will not be business as usual for hotels and there was plenty of discussion on the future of marketing. What does the future look like? Especially now that COVID-19 crisis is driving long-term changes in travel. What will the long-term impact be? What does this mean for brands and their strategies, particularly around personalizing the online experience?
Isabelle Jan, Co-founder and manager of PrivateDeal SA, suggests that "Moving forward, hotels have a unique opportunity to reclaim control over their distribution strategy by adopting the right tactics and tools to improve their direct sales channels."
As the world changes, hoteliers must adapt their distribution and marketing strategies to meet guests where they are. The pandemic is accelerating the importance of digital to all of our lives, changing people's habits and spending for good. Since hotels are part of digital economic ecosystem, transformation and innovation is needed so that business sustainability can take place now and in the future. Tom Coulthurst, Senior Director, Oracle Hospitality, explains, "In an altered marketplace, stop-gap distribution measures aren't enough. A wholesale revamp of strategy should be considered."
As budgets are adjusted, hotel marketers will be investing in marketing services that deliver a clear path to purchase and ROI. Rod Jimenez, Chief Executive Officer at SHR, Sceptre Hospitality Resources, explains that despite "the temptation to lean on high-margin channels, it is imperative hotels rely on the best practices developed over the past two decades and stay true to proven distribution strategies."
Nir Dupler, Chief Revenue Officer, Fornova advises hotels that "actionable, intelligent data that tracks distribution, revenue, and competitor activity" can optimize pricing, positioning, and visibility to secure heads on beds."
At the end of the day, no matter what channels you use to reach guests, it is all about the experience and how you actively engage with them. There will be a lot more demand for personalization in a single experience, where the guest can pick and choose what they want and the path they want to head. "The way forward to AI-driven dynamic personalization in hotel marketing starts with acknowledging our complexity as human beings and finding better ways to listen to the guest," reveals Nate Lane, MBA, CHDM, Vice President of E-Commerce at Pegasus.