Working with hotels for almost two decades now has given me so much insight on what they encounter on a daily basis. From menial to revenue impacting problems, from operational to systems concerns, and from controllable and totally out of their hands issues. Throughout the years I have observed that the following are the top 5 challenges hotels face and are still currently facing:
Challenge #1: Website not optimized
I have analyzed a lot of hotel websites in the course of my career. I came to the conclusion that a lot of hotels think that having a hotel website is adequate for them to get direct bookings. But if you look more closely, it is sad to realize that their website is not optimized. Not having a proper promotions page, not rewarding guests booking on their website, no analytics attached, or not promoting the number one product on the promotions page are just some of the most common things they neglect to focus on or highlight on their website.
Challenge #2: Dismissing online reputation
Nowadays, it is impossible to dismiss the overwhelming power and influence of social media. For this reason, it baffles me why hotels are not moving a finger to improve their online reputation. There are hotels that do not see the need to track what guests are saying online about their products and services. They are not very keen on how guests are perceiving their products and services with the rate offers that they are promoting in the market. They do not even wonder how guests are comparing them to their competitors.
Challenge #3: Not investing in people
Assigning people that are not properly equipped to designations that entail huge revenue management responsibilities is another sad reality with hotels these days. Due to cost cutting, a lot of hotels are not able to afford proper packages. They would rather promote people from within, which should not be an issue, unless they are given responsibilities way beyond their comprehension and current capabilities. Hotels expect these people to learn on their own and try to keep up with expected hotel standards. Hotels do not understand that this can result to revenue damaging impacts.
Challenge #4: Not focusing on costs
What hotels tend to not comprehend these days is that selling is not just about revenue. A lot of hotels are still not applying an effective revenue management culture. They believe that every piece of business is worth it, that every room night counts. Most of the time hotels are inclined to accept whatever business comes their way. They often disregard the fact that receiving these transactions entail cost. There are even situations wherein with the amount of cost attached (be it monetarily or strategically) to a specific deal the revenue might not be worth it at all.
Challenge #5: No proper data and analysis
With the huge amount of data that hotels get on a daily basis, it is humanly impossible to be able to apply any proper analysis without the help of an effective business intelligence tool. Hotels are starting to grasp the need to understand their data but they tend to get business intelligence tools that are not quite user friendly. Some of the hotels that do have proper BI tools are not able to do analyses, since their data is not properly structured. Having no proper market segment in place, confusing booking sources, or no proper secondary bookings sources, are just a few of the items that are causing the issues.
There are a number of ways to deal with these challenges but more important is to recognize that you do have these problems. Hotels have the tendency of dismissing and rejecting the idea that they have these issues thinking that they do not have any severe effect on the overall hotel operation.
The truth of the matter is, they do, and most of it is revenue impacting.