No matter whether you run an inn or a large hotel, online distribution is crucial for your business. Without web presence you will be almost invisible to the world. There’s no need to tell you this will lead to fewer guests and decreased revenue. However, even if you have a web strategy, you may make five common online distribution mistakes that will cause you harm. Here’s how you can successfully avoid them:
Staying away from OTA partnerships
Although many property owners hesitate to work with OTAs, you shouldn’t be one of them. True, you will have to spend a lot of money on their services, but it is not wasted. OTAs can help you gain excellent online visibility you can’t achieve on your own. Do not forget that OTAs have enormous know-how and extensive budgets to make you visible and the fact that people actually prefer to book through them. The best strategy here is to work with OTAs to enhance your online presence, while trying to increase your direct bookings and save money.
Relying on OTAs too much
You shouldn’t go to the other extreme and rely on OTAs too much. When you have just opened your first property, it makes sense to limit yourself to working with one or two agencies only. However, the long-term effect will be negative. Your overall online presence is diminished reducing your options to negotiate a better commission. Furthermore, what happens if an OTA imposes unfavorable conditions or declares bankruptcy? These are the reasons why you shouldn’t depend on just a few OTAs only.
Managing online inventory by hand
It is very tempting to manage your online inventory manually, especially if your property is small. But this is another important mistake you may make. The problem with this approach is that it requires too much time that you can otherwise spend on actually increasing your revenue. The manual handling of inventory can also lead to many mistakes. And that’s not all, your booking agents do not see your actual inventory in real time and risk ending up selling a room that has been already sold. You know what follows next - unhappy guests, damaged reputation, etc. A good PMS is essential here.
Your website is neglected
This happens when you exclusively rely on OTAs. Being sure that online travel agencies will take care of your online bookings, you may stop paying attention to your website leading to obsolete or incorrect information and old pictures on it. This is never a good thing, since research shows that a significant percentage of online bookers visit the property’s website before reserving a room. Moreover, your long-term strategy should be to keep improving your website to secure more direct bookings. This means that its content has to be regularly updated to attract more guests.
User comments are unimportant
Visitor feedback is of great importance revealing what guests think of you for real. No matter what customer’s responses are, you should try to take the time to personally answer all of them and this is especially true for negative feedback. You will inevitably get it but it is always a good idea to respond positively to each unfavorable review. If you don’t, it will only focus more attention on the negative feedback and what’s even worse - it will send a message that you don’t care. Instead, you can turn the defect into effect by apologizing and saying you have already taken necessary measures for this to not happen again. This will show you care and learn from your mistakes.
Online visibility is perhaps the most important asset every hotel has. But you have to take it seriously and keep developing it all the time. By avoiding these five common online distribution mistakes you will be better represented on the Internet than ever before and you will gain an advantage over your opponents. Why not do it then?
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About Clock Software
Clock Software is a global provider of cloud-based property management systems (PMS), integrated online distribution, online & kiosk hotel self check-in solutions and mobile & in-room guest engagement systems with customers in more than 65 countries.