The online world is changing, and for an industry that has seen almost unprecedented growth in the last few years, that’s a big issue. It’s not enough that customers are turning more and more to online channels to book hotel stays—hotels need to respond appropriately, keeping several steps ahead of the consumer so they’re not left behind by the industry.
Finding online distribution solutions for hotels is much easier than it used to be, but conversely it’s also become more crucial. A hotel not using pooled inventory with the help of these systems could be waving goodbye to hundreds of pounds in lost bookings. In fact, as the world becomes ever more connected, global distribution services could be the difference between a hotel staying open or closing its doors.
Hoteliers are frequently challenged by three main things, all of which are difficult to avoid in 2017 and will only become harder to stay away from as the year marches on.
1. The constantly changing and evolving landscape online
The experience of hoteliers online is of an industry that is very complex, hyper-competitive and not just when prices are involved, highly dynamic and filled with customers who know exactly what they want even if the hotel doesn’t offer it. When companies offer help, they coach it in specialised terms which can be tough for the hotel workers to understand.
As non-experts, hoteliers say the flurry of online distribution solutions for hotels is dizzying at best and horribly confusing at worst. They may not have the time or knowledge to keep up with the latest developments in the field and could be missing out on alternatives like better global distribution services.
2. The change and rise of online travel agents (OTA)
Hoteliers always want to book more guests directly, but unless they start using online distribution solutions for hotels then they risk being frozen out of the market entirely.
The key is to use these services intelligently, retaining the use of instant booking on their own sites and having a passing knowledge of things like meta search, so that OTAs don’t appear as some mystical arbiter of global distribution services and hotels can do the basics themselves.
3. The evolution of technology
Hoteliers are often buffeted with offers of increased connectivity, cross-device websites and booking systems, but the sophistication that so often is taken for granted amongst makers of software can be confusing or seen as a waste of money by the hoteliers unless it is presented in everyday language.
Another prescient issue is that, although hoteliers want to offer the best to their clients and their potential customers, they are the ones who have to fix a system if it goes wrong. If the system is so advanced that fixing it is a daunting task, hoteliers simply won’t invest. Customers appreciate convenience, but there are not many hotel workers who would trade a slightly more convenient customer experience for a new system that is confusing to use and can easily display the wrong information.