How can hotels stand ahead of the curve when demand returns?
— 14 experts shared their view
According to Bloomberg, over 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have already been administered; President Biden said the U.S. expects to vaccinate every adult by mid-May, and 53.7% of Israelis has received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. We are still not out of the woods, but things look brighter than they did just a few months ago. It is likely, therefore, that travel demand will slowly return in 2021, and we're already seeing some destinations with a decent pickup for the summer. With these first signs of hope, it's quite predictable that hotels will fight hard for market share, especially during this unstable year. In this particular situation, how can your hotel stand out from the crowd and stay ahead of the curve?
Revenue Management Expert
Hotels should focus on forward-looking data, value, and customer journey. To stay ahead of the curve, hotels need real-time market demand data. Predictive market intelligence solutions that aggregate data across different sources (OTAs, GDSs, flights, alternative lodging, meta-review sites, etc.) such as Market Insight by OTA Insight or Market Spotlight by TripAdvisor provide valuable future demand data that help hotels to create proactive and effective pricing strategies. Hoteliers should also look for revenue management systems that base forecasts on future data sources (Lybra Assistant RMS).
Successful hotels compete on value, not price. Hotels should sell unique experiences rather than rooms and give guests a wide variety of customisation options. Experiences can be internal and external. For example, look at the guest's arrival process, find ways to make it unique and segment-specific: in-room check-in, cold towel, refreshment drink, shoulder massage in the lobby, etc. Offer cooking class with the chef and movie night at the pool during the stay. Partner with local attractions and create unique experiences for the guests: balloon flights, after-hours access to local attractions, VIP city tours with private guides, exotic car rentals for the stay, meetings with local artists, etc. The key point is that guests have to choose your property to take advantage of these offerings.
The customer journey has been affected by the pandemic. Booking a trip now requires a lot of research - restrictions, travel rules, COVID tests, quarantines, vaccination, etc. Hotels need to identify ways to give future guests all necessary trip information at the right time. It's essential to be proactive and make the planning of the trip and booking process easy for guests. Good service will always be a competitive advantage, and it should start well before the arrival.