With travel demand returning to pre-pandemic levels in most geographies, there has been a major shift in customer booking behavior and online hotel distribution trends.
In a recent conversation with Mr. Andrew Morsi, Founding Chairman, eRevMax – RateTigerwe discussed the key trends RateTiger has witnessed as a hotel technology provider over the past two years, the accelerating adoption of technology, the role of intermediaries and the way forward for hotels in the post-pandemic world.
1. What are the main trends you see in terms of reviving travel demand?
The Covid 19 pandemic has been a black swan event for the global hospitality industry. Although the recovery varies by region, travel demand is increasing. While the recovery in North America started earlier, Europe is also showing a strong rebound given the summer season. International travel is improving and starting to approach pre-pandemic levels in some areas.
The pandemic and the long period of confinement/restrictions have had a profound impact on the behavior of customers and their priorities have changed. The recovery is being driven by pent-up travel demand, but health and safety remains a concern for travellers. Customers have new expectations and preferences. There is a distinct change in the spending pattern. Local and national travel is on the rise. Understanding and reinventing the guest experience would be crucial for the recovery of the hospitality industry.
2. The pandemic has had a severe impact on all sectors. How has this impacted travel technology service providers like RateTiger?
2020 has been a year of rude awakening and a lot of learning. It shook the whole industry and many businesses closed, some temporarily and some permanently. Truth be told, the first few months were one of the hardest times for us.
Businesses like ours that rely solely on hospitality were hit very hard when everything shut down and hotel bookings dropped to around 5%. We provide online channel management, connectivity and business intelligence solutions to hotels worldwide and operate on a subscription and booking fee model. As most hotels had to close temporarily during the lockdown phase, we were badly affected as revenue streams dried up very quickly.
Each organization has had to rethink various aspects of its business to find efficiencies and new revenue opportunities. The biggest challenge for us was to discover the delicate balance between reducing costs, generating revenue and maintaining the customer experience. We had to unlearn and relearn!
We had to learn new skills and reinvent our sales and marketing efforts as well as product orientation. The way the whole team has risen to the occasion is something I’m extremely proud of. The members of our team have had to go through crisis situations, both personally and professionally. For many of us, adapting to work-from-home processes was a huge challenge. However, the teams did not let this affect our commitment to customers. I believe the pace and agility with which we responded made us stronger as an organization and that will be a legacy of this pandemic.
3. Various industries have witnessed the acceleration in technology adoption due to Covid. What impact have you seen in the context of the hospitality industry?
“Exponential technology” is the term often used by technology experts. The hospitality industry has embraced technology – hotel managers typically use 8-10 technology tools to manage day-to-day operations. The real change is accelerating technology adoption. Hotels must find a solution to optimize their profits, maintain strict disinfection and safety protocols while keeping the guest experience in mind.
Digital technology like smart capabilities and contactless service have become the buzzword. As hotels invest in smart technology, the immediate concern is to boost occupancy and increase revenue. From our experience so far, we have seen a surge in demand for online connectivity and booking engine solutions.
4. The hospitality industry continues to seek ways to reduce its reliance on intermediaries for distribution. How will channel managers like RateTiger facilitate this?
For years, hotels have been trying to reduce their reliance on intermediaries. However, we must keep in mind that online distribution channels are a technological powerhouse that provide wider exposure and reach for even smaller hotels. Hotels need a solution that can streamline their distribution mix, while providing access to critical information for decision making.
Rate Shopping pioneer and Channel Manager for hotels, RateTiger is the first to launch a platform-based solution. We have created an integrated interface that allows ARI updates, booking management and monitoring of budget, pace, competitor rates, channel performance, promotions, update errors, among various others KPIs that hotels need to monitor daily. RateTiger allows hoteliers to have a 360 degree view and full control over their online activity, all from a single dashboard.
5. What do you think are the key technology investments a hotel should make in the post-pandemic world?
Hotels need to improve their operational agility and financial resilience for the recovery. I would recommend that hotels invest in technology to streamline hotel operations, revenue management, reservations, housekeeping, in ways that improve efficiency and reduce human error.
All the while, they must keep in mind the need to understand changing customer preferences and behavior. An integrated solution that can offer customer insights based on data mining can be of great help.
RateTiger by eRevMax is a market leader in hotel technology and provides Channel Manager, Rate Shopper, Booking Engine, Website Design, Digital Marketing services as well as GDS and Metasearch Distribution solutions to large hotel chains and resorts, groups medium-sized as well as self-employed. boutique properties worldwide.
RateTiger connects to over 450 channel and technology partners. It has deep two-way integration with distribution channels as well as major PMS, RMS, CRS, Booking Engine and other hotel technology systems for a seamless online distribution experience. Data security and privacy is a key aspect for RateTiger – it is ISO and PCI certified as well as GDPR compliant. RateTiger is known for its stable solutions with 99.9% product uptime and provides 24/7 multilingual customer support to hotels around the world to help them achieve their revenue generation goals.
For more details, please visit www.ratetiger.com or contact us at [email protected].