Speaking at WTM London 2017 José Murta, head of hospitality at Trivago, made comments to show his concern for hotels who are falling behind when it comes to adopting online distribution and booking strategies.
He stated one of the most dangerous consequences for hotels if they didn’t evolve to the online marketplace was that they would become too reliant on third parties for bookings.
According to his data, 50% of hotels do not have mobile-optimised websites and booking engines, while up to 70% still use manual processes over property management systems.
At the same time he portends online bookings will easily surpass offline bookings globally by 2025.
He also talked about metasearch, raising the point:
“You know that travellers start their journey on meta and end up in your hotel. Do you want to rely on any third parties or do you want to overcome the obstacles and drive them direct?”
With Murta’s comments in mind, here are some of the dangers for hotels if they haven’t embraced the progressive online world:
You will fall out of touch with your guests
Travellers are notoriously savvy, especially younger generations who have grown up with the Internet and are used to embracing new technology. Researching and making purchases online is nothing new to the modern traveller, and they expect the hotel businesses they interact with to be of a similar mindset.
If you aren’t embracing the latest in online technology the impression you give travellers will be that you’re dated and unsophisticated, reducing the chance they’ll make a booking with you. And since millennials are one of the biggest markets for travel, you don’t want to alienate a major source of revenue.
Your guest reach will be limited
Online distribution is one of the most important and effective methods of distribution for today’s hotelier. Online travel agents such as Expedia or Booking.com are a major resource for attracting travellers to your hotel when they search online. Without connection to these channels, thousands of travellers may never know your hotel even exists, and you’ll have to struggle much harder to capture adequate bookings.
A prominent piece of technology in this space is a channel manager, which allows you to manage all your distribution channels from one place at the same time, instantly editing and updating your room inventory.
Without the visibility and efficiency offered by these resources, your workload will be too high to sustain, especially at larger hotels.
Your direct bookings will be low
A strong online presence requires not only a brand website, but one that is optimised for mobile functionality and search engines. When travellers are searching for accommodation they want as much information as possible, and a reference point they can return to throughout their booking journey.
If you don’t have a functional hotel website, travellers will pass on your hotel because they simply won’t have enough information to inform a final decision. Additionally, even if they are interested in staying at your hotel a lack of website or online booking engine will make it very hard for them to process a reservation. This could mean you suffer a disastrous rate of drop-offs, hurting your bottom line.
Your hotel’s marketing capabilities will be restricted
Some of the most popular ways to reach customers through marketing are now online. For instance, eMarketer estimates that there will be over 215 million digital shoppers in the US by the end of this year, such is the rise of mobile technology.
Video marketing is another huge mover, and the majority of video content is consumed online through social media channels like Facebook. People are 10 times more likely to engage with video content and 76% of social media users say they would share a video if it was entertaining or informative.
Being inactive online will result in a failure to connect with customers in the place they’re most likely to engage with you.
Remember that if you aren’t marketing, online travellers won’t find you and if you don’t have online booking capability, they’ll find another hotel that does.