We are delighted with the feedback we have received during the past months and would like to take this opportunity to thank all our clients and business partners whose continuing involvement and interest shows us that we are on the right track. In so many meetings at recent industry events we found that hoteliers keep pushing for service-orientated solutions – and rightly so.
Our modular hotel management solution remains immensely popular, with modules such as SIHOT.Web supporting hotels to secure more direct bookings.
Have you seen our online tutorials? Have a look at our homepage and stay informed.
Happy reading and do keep your feedback and comments on our newsletters coming.
Jörg P. Berger
Successful start to 2017
We’ve started the year by attending international industry events with great results. From Madrid to Berlin to Amsterdam and Paris – the SIHOT Team was busy touring Europe. We’ve started the year by attending international industry events with great results. From Madrid to Berlin to Amsterdam and Paris – the SIHOT Team was busy touring Europe.
In February, Berlin was the place to be. Here, the inspiring German Hotel Congress took place alongside a well-visited Hotel Expo and the prestigious award ceremony of the “Hotelier of the Year” at the Hotel Intercontinental. Shortly afterwards, the world’s leading Travel Trade Show ITB drew many of our clients and business partners from near and far to Berlin.
Also in February, we were at our first StayWyse show in Amsterdam, which saw leading hostels from around the world attend and discuss how fast this area of hospitality is growing internationally together with the change in attitude towards hostels and the services that they now provide.
In April we were at the Annual IHTF Summit at Disneyland Paris. This show invites hoteliers and suppliers to discuss where technology is going and how it benefits everyone involved.
Overall, we found hoteliers are looking for innovative and client-orientated solutions. In particular, much interest was generated over SIHOT.WEB which supports the hotel in its efforts to secure direct bookings through their own website. We are very pleased with the results of above shows and is currently busy scheduling further talks with prospective clients.
Distribution – OTA vs. Direct Bookings
Online Travel Agencies – Blessing or Curse?
The generation of Online Travel Agencies (OTA) started 20 years ago with Booking.com and Expedia! Long underestimated, the hospitality industry nowadays struggles with the fallout. Trying to balance OTA-bookings and direct bookings can be very difficult.
OTA bookings create costs – extremely high costs in many cases. But how do hoteliers break free of them? The answer is simple: they don’t! However, it is vital to increase the percentage of direct bookings, i.e. to encourage guests to book directly through the hotel’s own website.
OTA’s are a vital part of the world of distribution. Phocuswright, an independent travel industry research company, estimates that in Europe, online bookings will reach 52% by the end of 2017 – which is even more than in North America, where still less than half of all bookings are made online. A recently published Phocuswright analysis maintains that “while the travel industry pays close attention to channel differences and competitive dynamics, travellers care primarily about finding a great place to stay, regardless of the type(s) of travel website they shop on.” OTAs, therefore, are in direct competition with private accommodation services, hotel suppliers and metasearch sites. Travellers in the Asia Pacific region are also increasingly using online channels to plan and book their trips, with online bookings growing four times faster than the overall market.
While OTAs are firmly embedded with the travel industry, hotels take issue with their high commission demands and rate parity policies. However, big OTAs spend several billion dollars annually on advertising, generating massive exposure. The resulting “billboard effect” can even lead to direct bookings with potential guests visiting a listed property’s website for more information. It is also worth considering that many OTAs cover international markets, attracting tourists from around the world, whose secondary spending can make up, at least in part, for the commission costs.
OTAs will continue to increase their share in the booking market. It is, therefore, vital for hoteliers to work with them and at the same time to become more creative and try to encourage guests to book direct as much as possible.
To do so, fine-tuned and attractive content management clearly is king, with a powerful internet booking engine (IBE) on the hotel’s website. The website is of immense importance, as this is where a guest decides whether to book or not. Up-to-date content, intuitive navigation and attractive pictures keep potential guests interested and encourage them to make a reservation and – most of all – to book directly. While some hotels add a little extra for guests, such as a welcome drink, others offer a wider variety of rates and packages to choose from. Bearing in mind that most OTAs list one rate only, this is often an added incentive to book directly.
Once the guest hits “book now”, the IBE must follow suit. Too often, cumbersome navigation and endless data entry lead guests to break-up the booking process. A few logical steps, attractively packaged in the hotel’s CI and a responsive design (for PC and mobile devices) should make booking swift and easy.
The fast way to direct bookings:
SIHOT.WEB – Click and Go!
Encourage guests to book direct!
Are you already working with SIHOT.PMS and do you want to actively generate direct bookings through your website without charge? SIHOT.WEB is the ideal, fully-integrated tool for your property. This highly developed, ultra-modern solution can easily become your own online reservation platform.
This SIHOT module has direct access to current rates and availability in SIHOT.PMS. Guests are shown attractive offers and are given the choice of suitable rooms. Special offers and individual services enhance the booking experience before completing the easy booking process. The bookings are directly fed into the PMS, without requiring any manual input either to enter the reservation or to adjust the hotel’s availability.
Using SIHOT.WEB will generate more direct bookings and provide a tool for analytical transparency. The booking mask can be designed completely in your CI, continuing the customer journey in the look & feel of your homepage. Naturally, SIHOT.WEB comes with a responsive design that ensures that guests can comfortably book from their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Apart from normal, straightforward room reservations, you can offer special online-packages to your guests. These may be subject to restrictions and conditions, such as limited booking periods and pre-payment. Before guests finish their booking – and start the pre-payment process, if required – you may want them to go through a number of extra options, such as breakfast, spa treatments and excursions. Also, guests can redeem voucher or enter discount or promotion codes before finishing the booking. Direct payments via Saferpay or credit card are conducted in a secure SSL-environment.Guests automatically receive an individual confirmation of their booking, complete with an invoice if applicable. They may also change or cancel their reservation should you wish to provide this option.
Generate more online reservations – commission-free – with SIHOT.WEB!