SiteMinder predicts 2012 online hotel trends

Hoteliers need to look to integrated channel management solutions to help gain an upper hand in what has become a complex and “cut throat” online distribution marketplace.

The call came from online distributor SiteMinder as it forecast that 2012 would see a focus on the integration of hotels’ online distribution with their Property Management Systems (PMS) and Revenue Management Systems (RMS). This would make their online reach faster, simpler and more powerful.

SiteMinder expects many accommodation providers to switch their channel management strategy from ‘legacy’ manual channel management systems of yesterday to technologies capable of providing fully automated, two-way, seamless integration between online booking channels and their PMS, CRS or RMS systems.

Sales and marketing general manager David Williams said: “As integrated channel management solutions become mainstream this year, hotels will benefit from broader distribution reach and streamlined automated business processes that, together, result in higher revenues, lower costs of acquisition and a healthier bottom line.

“2012 will also see an emergence and recognition of new, exciting and easily accessible distribution options such as social media sites, mobile and group buying consumer sites like Groupon to keep them ahead of their competitors.

“2012 is all about accessing new selling opportunities, focusing on effective revenue management strategy and maximising business efficiency through the full automation of the distribution process so staff can focus on adding value to the business rather than on the manual processing of data.”

He described the online landscape for hoteliers as being a “complex” arena where increased competition would prompt a record number of properties to fully automate their distribution.

“A year ago, just 15% of SiteMinder’s hotel clients had their channel management systems with us fully integrated and automated, with the remaining still manually re-keying online booking reservation emails. Today, 35% of our hotels are fully automated with us and by the end of 2012, that rate will jump to 45% as hotels strive to cut costs and streamline their business processes,” said Williams.

“For technology vendors in the online travel segment, 2012 will be a year of rapid adaptation in this dynamic, ever-changing market. Online travel is arguably the fastest moving and most dynamic area of the travel space.”

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