The right accommodations at the right price: every traveler is after the same thing. Travelers have their go-to solutions for booking—Expedia, Priceline, VRBO, direct, and so on—because these solutions have been designed to serve specific audiences. Some travelers want to feel that they’re getting the very best deal, while some want to ensure the very best service, some want luxury accommodations, and some want to work directly with the owner. Travelers have individual needs. And yet so often the accommodations industry treats booking channels as though they are one in the same, opening up all inventories and waiting hopefully to see what sticks.
While a broad mix initially may help when crafting a strategy, the goal should be to optimize this mix. Fully understanding what products work on which channels means delivering the perfect accommodations to the proper traveler. This is not a science, but rather it is the implementation of a strategy that will help deliver exactly what the traveler is looking for, whether that’s price, product type, or even location.
Andrew Harper and Virtuoso have a far different audience than Hostelworld and Ibis Budget Hotels. Distribution channels are no different, just more nuanced perhaps. For instance, American Express may be better suited to more spacious, higher-end accommodations than Priceline, where mid-range properties make more sense.
Once an understanding of the ideal channel-product mix is reached, yield management strategies can be laid out to best reflect the desired audiences based on historical booking and predictive data/analytics. Every bit of this effort ultimately maximizes profitability by having the right rate for the right room for the right traveler.