A panel of experts attempted to cast some light on the road ahead in a HSMAI's webinar titled “Keeping Up with Trends.” Their insights during touched on a variety of topics, ranging from pricing, distribution and mobile.
“2013 is going to be the year to focus on rates,” Ash Kapur, VP of revenue management and distribution for Starwood Capital Group said, adding Starwood Capital is forecasting revenue-per-available-room gains across its portfolio “mostly driven by rate.”
Search-engine optimization and pay per click will continue to be top of mind for marketers. The same goes for channel-mix optimization, which will be crucial in hoteliers’ ability to drive rates. In general, hotel companies will shift even more of their focus to digital platforms. Traditional media, such as print, no longer will be given importance.
OTAs are gaining: Starwood Capital noted strong year-over-year increases in bookings driven through the likes of Expedia and Booking.com. Expedia seems to be gaining share in major European gateways, while Booking.com is making headway in many tertiary markets in North America. Orbitz and Travelocity, on the other hand, are becoming less relevant.
Google Hotel Finder is going to become more and more relevant. Still in beta testing, the experiment has yet to generate high volumes - although Starwood thinks that eventually will change.
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