Prestige hotel in the city center of Chisinau, the Republic of Moldova, first addressed TravelLine in November 2020. Its inventory was ten rooms, including hotel rooms and apartments.
The hotel got the most bookings from Booking.com — 12-16 reservations per month. Clients did not book directly. The rest were walk-in guests. Hotel managers kept track of bookings in a Microsoft Excel file and sent it to the hotel owner who lived abroad.
The number of bookings was not enough to reach full occupancy in the 10-room hotel. The business was not profitable and hard to manage from afar. The owner was considering selling it.
TravelLine offered level 3 comprehensive income management. The goal was to optimize hotel operation, promote it and increase the revenue. TravelLine’s manager developed the business plan, consisting of 4 steps:
The hotel already got listed on three online distribution channels like Booking.com, Expedia, and Airbnb. Only one of them brought in reservations.
The hotel’s personal manager analyzed the listings and revealed several issues that affected how appealing they looked and how they were ranked.
To promote the “Prestige” listing on OTAs, we have mapped the plan, consisting of 4 steps:
- Changing property type
- Taking new photos
- Updating information
- Connecting to channels with ChannelManager
Changing property type
75% of Google users never go further than the first page of search results. The same is likely to happen on online distribution channels. The lower a hotel is ranked, the less are the chances users will see the listing.
On Booking.com, 300 Chisinau properties qualify as apartments. “Prestige” was ranked on the 6-8th page among apartments. As it hosts in both apartments and hotel rooms, it could be competing with fewer properties than ordinary apartments do.
For this purpose, we contacted representatives of Booking.com to change the hotel’s property type to apart-hotel. There are seven apart-hotels in Chisinau, and “Prestige” is ranked the first among them.
Taking new photos
One of the reasons why the listings on online distribution channels did not attract enough guests was the photos. They were of the tilted horizon, poor quality, and color adjustment.
The hotel has invested in a professional hotel shoot. The photographer captured every room, bathroom, hotel exterior, and view from a window.
As the manager received upd ated pictures, we decided there is room for improvement. We hired a color correction artist to edit them. New photos replaced outdated ones on online sales channels and the hotel website.
As the hotel was connected to multiple channels but got reservations only through Booking.com, we looked deeper. On Expedia and Airbnb, we upd ated room descriptions and set availability. This led to an increase in sales. Without any other effort that month the hotel got six bookings from Expedia and two from Airbnb. The sales grew despite the pandemic.
Connecting to channels with ChannelManager
Channel Managers ensure up-to-date information on hotel rates and availability. OTAs rank properties connected to Channel Managers higher. The hotel started using TravelLine ChannelManager.
All the measures taken have affected the sales. During the last year, “Prestige” apart-hotel experience a spike in bookings. The reservations through Booking.com have grown gradually from 16 to 152 bookings a month.
Hotel managers kept track of bookings in a Microsoft Excel file. When walk-in guests stayed there, they did not keep a record of them. The hotel owner could not see real-time statistics on income and occupancy as he lived abroad.
When the hotel started using TravelLine WebPMS, it has become easier for the owner to estimate sales and forecast income online in the TravelLine Extranet mobile app.
When the hotel’s occupancy has started to grow, we have introduced dynamic pricing to make the most of it. To do this, “Prestige” started using TravelLine RateShopper and TravelLine PriceOptimizer.
In TravelLine RateShopper we have collected the database of the hotel’s competitors. For better rate matching a competitor list should consist of properties of the same property type, star rating, and proximity to main tourist attractions.
In February 2021, the “Prestige” hotel got an unusually great number of bookings for November 2021, as well as other TravelLine hotel-partners who had set availability in advance. We started to search if there are any events in Chisinau at that time but did not manage to.
It turned out that in February, they cast lots for the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup, and one of the games was supposed to take place in Chisinau. Football fans started to book accommodation long beforehand while the rates were still low. As soon as we found out the reason, “Prestige” raised the rates for the period of high demand to sell the rest of the rooms at a profitable price.
Chisinau hotels that had not se t availability lost a chance to increase the occupancy. Those that had not applied dynamic pricing could have benefited from the sudden spike in demand. TravelLine PriceOptimizer solves both problems and saves time and effort by analyzing the market and suggesting price changes.
Evgeniy Kuzminykh, director of the international business development department TravelLine
65% of Tripadvisor users agree that they are more likely to book a hotel that responds to traveler reviews. 85% of guests say that a thoughtful response to a bad review will improve their impression of a hotel.
That is why in addition to encouraging guests to leave reviews online, “Prestige” started to respond to them. Hotel managers did a short training on responding to reviews in a way that would benefit the business. Read our article to improve your responses.
The increased revenue allows the hotel owner to enlarge the property by adding two more rooms to it.
Partnering TravelLine saves time and money. Hotel managers often do not have expertise in online sales. It is expensive to hire a person to do the job. They can fall sick or resign at the worst possible time. What TravelLine has to offer is cheaper, even though you deal with a team of professionals. Even if a manager goes on vacation, they quickly find a substitute instead of making you wait for two weeks.
Alexey, the owner of the “Prestige” hotel
Currently, “Prestige” apart-hotel in cooperation with TravelLine is working on increasing direct sales. Direct bookings are more profitable because OTA’s commission is way higher than the one of TravelLine Booking Engine. If a hotel drives more bookings to the website, it starts to earn more.
What we have done:
- Developed a hotel website and se t up TravelLine Booking Engine;
- Designed a flyer that would motivate those who booked on OTA to book directly next time;
- Got the hotel listed on Google Free Booking Links and launched paid campaign on Google Hotel Ads.
Currently, the number of direct bookings takes up 10% of all.