Let’s face it… if you’re an expert on current hotel e-distribution technology you have reached a coveted space where mere mortals dream of existing. The main contributing factor to this is that change and advancement in hospitality technology are measured month to month, not year to year. All you have to do is attend your next local hospitality trade show to understand what I am talking about. Everything you heard at last year’s show is now old news.
Not to worry though! You don’t have to be a computer nerd to be successful in today’s race to put heads in beds. You aren’t going to have to close down your hotel because customers can’t unlock your room doors with their smart phones. You will still be able to meet your goals even though a website visitor can’t use virtual reality glasses to tour your property on your website. It’s OK to have a real human being at your front desk as opposed to a check-in kiosk. Those things are coming… but sometimes it is a good idea to focus on the basics first. There are certain basic ‘best practices’ you can follow to ensure that you maximise your revenue opportunity in the amazing e-distribution world we live in today.
To me defining the basics is as follows:
Step 1: Make sure you have a great product to sell (that one is up to you… nothing I can do help)
Step 2: Make sure you have a system in place that allows you to easily push and manage rates/inventories to your website, to the GDS and to your OTA channels
Step 3: When your guests arrive, make sure you are delivering on your promises and encouraging all your guests to book direct on your website the next time they visit
I am going to focus on step 2 because without it you have less opportunity to deliver on steps 1 and 3. It is vitally important that you have complete, simple control over all your distribution channels. Many hoteliers see that as the need to engage in partnering with a strong CRS partner who can help them do that. That is great, but they often leave out one very important step. An ideal distribution set up is run from your PMS – not from your CRS. Make sure you partner with a credible CRS company that is able to interface to your PMS. Your PMS is the most important system you have at the hotel because it controls everything. Why not have it control your e-distribution as well? A proper interface between your PMS and your CRS gives you one single point of record for reporting, for inventory management and 100% ensures rate parity across all your distribution channels.
So start thinking about those smart phone door locks…. but don’t lose sight of the very basic practices you can employ to take you one step closer to being an expert in e-distribution technology.