The governments official figures showed that in the last quarter of 2009 the economy grew by all of 0.01% and hence "officially" the recession has finished. Or has it?
Hotels which I am speaking to certainly do not feel as if the recession has ended, and as many hotels continue to go into administration, it will most likely be many months or even years before the hotel industry consider the recession has ended.
So what can hoteliers do to beat the recession?
Here are a list of things which I will be encouraging my clients to do over the coming months:
1) Review your distribution channels (GDS, WEB and Voice) and learn about where your accommodation business is actually coming from and then plan marketing activity to target similar business. If you are not using GDS as a channel you are most likely not even being considered as a possible venue by corporate agents and travel management companies.
2) Arrange a meeting with your GDS representation company to review the statistics including your ARR, length of stay and lead times. Review your rate plans to make sure these are right for your market.
3) Invest in a revenue management system such as IDEAS - http://www.ideas.com/. This is highly effective software which can help you to maximise your revenue and is effective in independent hotels of most sizes. Revenue management is not just something the corporate hotel groups do - its something all hoteliers should be doing.
4)Make sure that every client that comes to your website knows they can book online and make sure that all your rates and packages are available and in line or better than your competitors. Simple research will highlight dferences with your competitors.
5) Content (images, descriptions, facilities etc) are really important both on the web and in the database systems of the many hotel booking agents and travel management companies. If your property's data is out of date or the images and descriptions are poor an agent is less likely to place a booking with you. A simple way to keep the data up to date is to use the ABC Connections system http://www.abcconnection.com/ which specialises in distributing data to the major UK agents and TMC's including the Hotel Booking Agents Association.
6) Make time to review your customer databases and how these are segmented for marketing purposes. How many customers stay at your hotel but are allowed to leave without you learning about their buying habits and are never contacted by you again? Set up systems to stops this happening.
7) Invest in an effective email marketing system to benefit from cost effective, targetted niche marketing using your revised database.
8) Review your marketing costs and make sure you are getting a good return on investment. Don't simply renew advertising because "we always advertise there", look for new marketing opportunities, particularly online, which can be tracked and the return on investment measured.
10) Highlight the areas of your business where you have fixed operating costs but no revenue. In a lot of hotels, and with conference business really depressed, lunchtimes are are a prime example of this. In this case consider how you can generate revenue which at least pays the fixed costs and bring you in some new customers which may stay with you when good times return.
These are just a few of the areas you can look at which could help your business to beat the recession once and for all.
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