Positioning for International Growth: Strategies for Hoteliers to Attract Guests from Global Markets
By James Filsinger Chief Executive Officer, EZYield | April 22, 2012
The hotel business is operating in a challenging time, as the impact of wider global economic uncertainties influence travel for both business and leisure. Hoteliers have to adjust to scenarios where guests are earning less and this is leading to shorter – or even delayed – vacations. Those who are travelling demand value for their money and a hassle-free experience.
If hoteliers want growth, they can no longer rest on their laurels and depend on traditional established customer bases. They must look to expand into new markets. Broadening international customer bases is one way to do this, and it can be easier than some think. Harnessing technology is one way to work smarter, not harder, in order to attract a new global customer base and keep them coming back.
A good starting place is to understand exactly who your customers are and which nations are currently the sources of most of your international business. Through thorough analysis, hoteliers will be able to find exactly where current bookings are coming from and the trends in visitors from various nations. Once you know who your current customers are, you can determine how to best grow these niches, as well as identify new regions to target.
Extend your reach
The rise in online booking portals and the popularity of online travel agencies (OTAs) presents hoteliers with greater opportunities to expand their customer reach around the globe. Any hotelier looking to expand internationally should investigate the benefits of increasing the breadth of their OTA relationships, to target new regions and attract new customers.
But widening channels also presents challenges. For hoteliers who still manage their online channels manually, expanding the number of OTAs a hotel appears on is wrought with potential headaches. These manual operators are essentially handicapping themselves against competitors who have embraced channel management systems. These systems ensure all channels are simultaneously updated and managed. Without the right tools and techniques to maximize bookings across all available platforms, hoteliers risk a fate of continually playing catch-up with competitors who embrace this technology and are easily operating across multiple channels.