The Direct Booking Summit: 4 insights for APAC hoteliers
Hundreds of APAC hoteliers gathered in Siam Kempinski, Bangkok for the Direct Booking Summit on March 14th-15th, 2023. The 2-day event was packed with knowledge presented by industry experts, such as Google, OTA Insight, and IDEAS.
As the platinum sponsor, Revinate was at the summit and facilitated lively discussions about first-party data, direct booking strategy, how to accelerate demand and more as we spent time with our hotel technology partners.
Are you a hotelier who missed the Direct Booking Summit? We have you covered. Here are 4 key takeaways from the event.
What you will see here:
- Positive outlook for 2023
- First-party data is key to drive revenue
- Direct booking vs OTAs
Positive outlook for 2023
This section features data and opinion from OTA Insight Business Development Manager Thailand, Pimpawee Nopakitgymjorn’s presentation,“The state of the industry 2023”.
APAC has a bright future ahead. 3 months into 2023, growth can be seen across the region.
Traveler confidence has increased, and the numbers are supporting it. Year-over-year flight searches have increased by 90% in APAC and ADRs are back to positive numbers as of December 2022 compared to 2019 in hotspots such as Bangkok, Seoul, Singapore, Shanghai, Sydney, and Tokyo. Hoteliers can now seize the opportunity.
As a hotelier preparing to welcome guests back, remember things have changed. Travel and booking behavior has changed, and you need to adapt. It’s time to go beyond encouraging guests to make bookings, but also get the most value out of their stay. In order to do that, you need to get to know them. Use guest data to build the relationship. Take the time to get to know your guests so you can send tailored messages.
First-party data is key to drive revenue
This section features data and opinion from Minor International Compliance and Data Protection Director, Yulia Askhadulina and Minor Hotels Assistant Director of Digital Performance, Luis Carvalho’s presentation, “Five point plan to getting and using first-party data.
It’s time to start prioritizing first-party data. Apple, Google and Mozilla are amongst the companies that are saying goodbye to third-party cookies. 137 out of 194 countries have set data protection laws.
Consumers are getting more conscious about how companies collect, store, and use their data. A study discovered that 63% of consumers expect getting personalized offers, but 65% of APAC consumers think most companies are not transparent enough about how their data is being used. It’s incredibly important to build trust and relationships with your guests. By shifting to first-party data from third-party data, you will have access to reliable data. More importantly though, you will be able to tell guests confidently that their data is being responsibly handled and will remain confidential. There are no other third parties involved.
The value of clean guest data is priceless. If you are new to first-party data, Askhadulina and Carvalho shared the following best practices for data collection:
- Only collect relevant data that you can use.
- Include an opt-out or an unsubscribe option and make sure they are visible. Remember to delete or anonymize data that are associated with the unsubscribers.
- Consent is key. Make sure you have it for cookies, marketing messages, and UGC.
- Have a clear and accessible privacy statement and policy.
- When using their data to send your personalized offers, be respectful.
Do you want to learn more about how you can get started with data collection? Take a look at our “How to start data collection and email capture” guide.
This section features data and opinion from Duetto Director of Hospitality Solutions APAC, Jeong Pyon’s presentation, “Customer micro-segmentation: The key to direct profit growth”.
Data is an underappreciated asset. Once you start tapping into your guest data, you will be able to create micro-segmentations and understand your guests better. A great example of this practice is Netflix. The movies and series recommended on the Netflix platform are similar to what users have watched. Users consequently feel understood and are more likely to engage with the platform.
You can replicate this success at your property.
Take a look at your guest data and start segmenting them. Don’t be intimidated by the lower quantity of audience once they are set. The audience is very specific and you can tailor the offers accordingly. With this accuracy, you will get a chance of higher conversion rates which lead to more revenue.
Direct bookings vs OTAs
This section features data and opinion from Chroma Hospitality VP of E-Commerce and Revenue Management, Sunish Sadasivan’s presentation, “What happens when you shut down OTAs: Key learnings for managing partnerships” and GCP Hospitality VP of Commercial Strategy, Michael Balanger and Triptease General Manager APAC, Dan Mourad’s presentation, “What you stand to lose from OTAs if Direct Booking is not your priority in 2023”
If you can lower the cost through driving direct bookings, why rely on others? 70% of bookings in APAC are driven by OTAs, but hotels tend to overlook the many hidden associated costs.
And what happens if you take OTAs out of the equation?
Sadasivan conducted an experiment where he hibernated their main online revenue generator, an OTA, for 30 days. He discovered that at first, online bookings lost 65% of business. By the end of the experiment though, their own website generated 63% of business back. Interestingly, their own website only contributed to 40% of the online revenue prior to the experiment. Give time and let your website shine on its own, or on top of the OTAs with the billboard effect.
Give your guests a reason to book directly. Take a step back and review your direct booking strategy, understand each OTA and wholesalers. Especially with the latter, it is important to prevent rate leakage.
A strong year for travel
Open your doors, because the guests are coming! We hope this post is helpful to prepare yourself for the recovery wave in 2023. We were happy to see many of the hospitality professionals reconnecting with their passion for the industry in person.
If you’re looking for more resources to refresh your marketing strategy, visit our resource center or watch our webinars.