Back to the Future: How Outdated Processes Damage Hotel Business
News does not always travel fast. Back in 2016, I used a booking site to reserve accommodation for my vacation. During the process, I spotted a renovation notice. It said, “There will be some renovations of the Beach Restaurant in June.” That news would have normally discouraged me from proceeding with a booking, but I was diligent enough to spot that the renovations remark was no longer valid. It was referring to something that happened in 2014.
The booking site clearly had outdated information. I couldn’t help but wonder how many people were put off from booking a room at this hotel because of that one old sentence. How many potential clients did this hotel miss out on! Many people, in their haste, might have failed to spot “2014” next to the renovations remark. One can only imagine how much this small error cost the hotel.
It’s a problem that permeates the industry. It happens because most hotels have limited control over their information distribution. They send out updates to wholesalers, but whatever is sent out takes some time to filter through to the thousands of booking sites on which hotels depend. If booking sites don’t have updated information about your property, you could end with an increase in customer complaints or worst, fewer customer bookings.
Most hotel managers do not even realize that their listings are showing outdated information. Back in 2016, the hotel manager I spoke to was shocked to learn about the two-year-old remark on the booking site’s listing. He had emailed all his resellers to let them know that the renovations were complete. Clearly, that system failed.
There are numerous reasons why this system fails. But they can be categorized into two primary issues.
Firstly, having to email every reseller once you have news or information updates, is not the most efficient way to communicate data to clients and prospects. That method could be a huge drain on time and resources, depending how many resellers you have on the list. Then, there is the massive potential for errors. What if you send the wrong email to a reseller? What if one of them fails to receive the message?
Secondly, you are trusting that someone else’s processes are stringent enough to facilitate smooth distribution of your updated information. Bear in mind, that the travel agents deal with 30–40 wholesalers at a time. They, in turn, are connected to hundreds of aggregators. The information updates you send out must travel through various operators and translated into numerous formats so as to be compatible with different partners. With such a convoluted process, it is clear to see how hotels can end up having a two-year-old renovations remark against its listings.
Currently, most hotels do not have much control over their information distribution. For many, it is simply a case of keeping fingers crossed that third party websites display the correct information. There is a better way to do things, though. A way to take back control, save countless hours, and make sure that booking site data about your property is always up to date.
The solution is Hotel Data Cloud (HDC). This platform empowers you to send out real-time information and news to booking partners with just a few clicks. Is your swimming pool closed for maintenance? Want to let everyone know about your free shuttle service for the exhibition next week? No problem. You control the information easily, and it is updated across all booking partners instantly. No waiting around with fingers crossed for someone else to take care of this important task.
One of the primary customer complaints from hotel guests are that information found online does not match what they find on arrival at the hotel. HDC helps cut down on customer complaints, by giving you the power to ensure that information published about your property represents an accurate indication of what they can expect when they arrive.
These days customers are created long before they ever physically see your property. Information found online will be the primary determinant of whether a person chooses your hotel over a competitor. This is too important to leave to the whims of third-party travel agencies and digital aggregators.
With HDC, the hotel manager from my 2016 vacation could have avoided sending out multiple emails in a failed attempt to update information about the hotel. He could have simply refreshed that information from one dashboard and have the data synchronized across the web instantly. Now isn’t that a futuristic idea.