Understanding and utilising an effective mix of distribution channels as well as specific segment targeting could an effective tool in aligning hotel pricing with productive sales and revenue management techniques, so revealed GTA Travel area sourcing manager GCC & Levant Andrew Boocock during a panel discussion at the Third Lodging Outlook seminar organised by STR and the Cornell Hotel Society at Fairmont The Palm.
During the discussion which centred around the impact of increased hotel supply on revenue management practices, Boocock highlighted the importance of a "wholistic approach to distribution", keeping in mind that the business has evolved significantly from the days when distribution relied heavily only on FIT business contracted by sales managers.
"I think what’s really important is that people understand how distribution can work for them," he said, adding: "Historically, distribution was FIT BtoB, we're talking sales managers having a conversation; we’re talking static contracted rates and fighting for allotment. A lot more now is talking to revenue – we’re talking about dynamic rates, ways that we can tap into different segments."
The evolution of revenue management has made it more dynamic, along with the nature of the hotel business, Boocock said.
"What we’ve started to see is a more wholistic approach to distribution," he said. "Tapping into the sales teams and their understanding of the market, and how to align hotel pricing along with the revenue side. That for us is absolutely important an opportunity, that as a hotel, you can pick and choose where you want to go."
He stressed that not all hotels, especially budget non-branded hotels, are necessarily able to adapt value added tactics during tough times, and reminded that a close collaboration between sales and revenue to align pricing with revenue management goals is key.
"Not everyone wants to – or is able to – add value add through meals and spa packages but if there’s a piece of BtoB business from a particular segment that you can get from a particular department, that’s really what you need to be able to do now and be able to share that knowledge through sales and the revenue department."
Boocock continued by saying that increased consolidation in the distribution sector also makes effective segment targeting more important.
"What we’re also seeing in the distribution space is all the consolidation happening today. Part of that is because we’ve seen distribution has changed increase in the way OTAs have moved into the BtoB department," he said.
He concluded: "More and more now, it’s important for us to decide which segments we want to go after."