Hotel Online  Special Report

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Lexington Services Boosts Internet Bookings and
Revenue for Clients through Targeted Promotions,
and Hands-On Channel Management

Operators Talk about Online Incentive Strategies, Team with Revenue Management Professionals to Leverage Corporate Travel Increases

June 13, 2004 - Travelers are back on planes and in cars taking vacations and doing business.  But in the past three years both corporate and leisure travelers have evolved in their booking habits and changed practices for the hotel industry.  This year travelers are placing their confidence in the Internet and booking a growing number of airline and hotel reservations online.  The accelerating growth of the Internet society makes it a necessity that hotels develop a multi-channel Internet marketing and sales strategy to promote themselves, keep third-party booking site inventory current, and maintain competitive rates across the Web.  Unfortunately, most properties do not have the expertise or staff to create a channel market plan, let alone monitor their rates and inventory on the array of channels offering their rooms, and this costs them money.

Operators Use Promotions, Tap Revenue Managers to Increase Internet Reservations

A growing number of independent and chain properties wanting to increase their reservation productivity through Internet and other booking sources are turning to channel sales providers to tame the complex process of promoting their properties online.  Operators are using services ranging from the latest website booking-engines, to comprehensive Internet marketing and promotional campaigns to boost productivity.  “We know how to use the Internet,” said Ubaldo Fierros, Corporate Revenue Manager of Brisas Hotels and Resorts.  “But our business property in Mexico City was having flat reservation growth because of the complicated rate and city codes required by many travel websites.  To correct this we began working more closely with our Revenue Manager from the channel sales company we use at all six of our properties, Lexington Services.”  Channel Revenue Managers are experienced online hotel marketing professionals that specialize in developing sales strategies tailored for individual properties and chains. The strategies suggested by Lexington’s Revenue Manager for Brisas included travel agency promotions and new corporate rates for its city properties that improved revenue and raised occupancies almost at once.  “Lexington loaded updated corporate rates for two of our properties and negotiated new travel agency commissions that increased Internet and TA production, and this helped improved our ADR immediately,” said Fierros. “Reservation productivity from Orbitz, Expedia and other sites is growing fast thanks to the work of our property teams and our Revenue Manager at Lexington.” 

Converting Headlines to The Bottomline
 

The Huntington Country Inn in the heart of Long Island, New York is a favorite of corporate travelers who prefer the quiet, well appointed property as home base while in the area on business.  The General Manager, Guy Reed, saw that while industry publications were full of stories about the growing trend in Internet reservations, his property was not having the same experience.  His response was to contact his online channel company and ask them for suggestions on how to change things.  “I explained our performance concerns to our Revenue Manager at Lexington Services,” explained Guy Reed, Huntington 

Huntington Country Inn
Country Inn’s general manager.  “After working with us a few days and doing research on our channel strategies and rate placements she was able to spot several ways to improve performance.  One of the first tactics she used was to email special promotional rate offers to all the travel agents in our database.  She checked our inventory at the sites where our rooms were offered then created an incentive marketing program on Sabre by offering preferred rates for a limited time to drive occupancy.”  The results: the 62-room independent Huntington Country Inn property has seen a $4,000 to $6,000 improvement in the past three months.  And now the hotel’s general manager has asked Lexington Services’ Revenue Manager to train his managers on how to sell more effectively over the Internet and GDSes.  As Reed said, “Her industry experience made a real difference to our bottom line.”
 
Low Season Tune Up Doubles Reservations 

Last year the 208-room La Posada Hotel/Suites in Laredo, Texas, suffered from the same dilemma as many properties, the low-season blues. Summer is the low season in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, and even though the tough drilling crews and oil and gas executives who frequent the hotel are used to the heat, business can turn soft in the long summer months.  Heriberto Aguilar, La Posada Hotel/Suites’ reservation manager knew he could do more to improve occupancy during the summer so he contacted the property’s Revenue Manager.  “I asked for help with our low season numbers, and put him to work,” 


La Posada Hotel/Suites
said Aguilar.  “Our channel sales partner is Lexington Services, and the first thing their Revenue Manager assigned to our hotel did was run a survey of our current availability across all the sites offering our rooms.  He recommended that we discuss creating a summer promotion for La Posada that offered double commissions to travel agents who sent business to our property during the summer months.”  The results were impressive.  With the summer season in full swing, now half of all La Posada reservations are being generated by travel agents. “This is saying plenty,” noted Aguilar.  “Receiving five out of every ten reservations from travel agents is a big change because we also book a large number of reservations from our website and from call-ins to our reservation agents.  Our Lexington Revenue Manager works hands-on with our staff and this makes a big difference in our occupancy and reservation production.  They focus on our hotel’s performance and that keeps more guests booking our rooms.”

About VIP Investment Corp and Lexington Services

VIP Investment Corp. acquired Lexington Services in November of 2003 through a wholly owned subsidiary.  Lexington Services (www.lexres.com) is a channel marketing organization that drives revenue for hoteliers through a multi-channel reservation sales center, the adoption of leading-edge technology, and partnerships with clients to provide ongoing education.  VIP Investment Corporation (www.vipintcorp.com), which also owns VIP International Corporation of Calgary Canada, is the industry's second largest provider of reservation sales services to hotels, car rental companies and airlines with more than 5,000 clients worldwide.  The privately held Calgary, Alberta-based firm pursues a mission of being "The number one producer of bookings and profitability per client."  VIP accomplishes this through mastering the electronic channel marketing environment, developing and implementing strategies for each client's unique position, and educating customers about how to optimize participation in the changing electronic marketplace.  The service provides a central distribution point to every viable Internet Web booking site, and to all of the major global distribution systems including Sabre, Galileo, Pegasus, WorldRes, Amadeus, and Worldspan. VIP Investment Corp. is headquartered in Calgary, Canada with a USA subsidiary headquarters in Dallas, Texas and significant development office presence in Denver, Colorado, London, United Kingdom, Hong Kong and other cities located around the world.

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Contact:

VIP International
Rick Shaum
Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing
VIP International Corp.
(719) 487-0789
rshaum@vipintcorp.com
www.vipintcorp.com



 
Also See Lexington Services Introduces First-To-Market Hotel Website Package Booking Engine / June 2004
VIP Adds Website Services and Merchant Express to Drive Property Bookings, Maximize Rates / May 2004
336 New Properties Chose VIP International to Drive Channel Reservation Sales in First Quarter of 2004 / April 2004
Franchisees on the De-flagging Fence: A Gamble Or A Golden Goose? Former Franchisees Talk Specifics About Channel Loyalty and How They Leverage VIP International Channel Marketing to Succeed as Independents / March 2004
Lexington Services Launches Galileo's Next-Generation Seamless Solution, Inside Shopper™; Gains Access to Real-Time Rates and Availability / March 2004
Midscale Franchisor Hands Franchisees 22% Increase in Internet Bookings; Country Hearth Inn Fuels 22% Growth in 2003 with New Internet Booking Technology, Branding Strategy for Franchisees; Projects 28% Growth in 2004 / February 2004
Study: Room Rates 6.5% Higher For Reservations Booked From Hotel Sites - VIP International Launches Website Services to Drive Traffic to Property Sites / December 2003
An Affiliate of VIP International, Reaches Definitive Agreement to Acquire Lexington Services / November 2003
VIP International Boosts Hotel Reservation Services, Selects Voxify to Reduce Costs for Clients, Enhance Call Center Efficiency / October 2003
#1 Provider of Car Rental Software Teams with VIP International to Fuel Independents’ Reservation Volume / October 2003
Business Travelers, Consumers Grab Lower Rental Car Rates, Book Online from Independent Agency Site / September 2003
E-Z Rent A Car Perfects Internet Strategy to Boost Reservations 20% in 2003 / September 2003
WorldRes Agreement Gives VIP International Hotels Second ‘Low-Fee’ Merchant Model Program / Aug 2003
Top Channel Marketing Provider VIP International Taps Industry Veteran to Power Marketing Efforts, Funnel 158% Growth  / Aug 2003
VIP International Cements Reputation as Leading GDS and Channel Marketing Provider for Asia Pacific / Aug 2003
Hotel Owner/Operators Disclose Secrets of Web Booking Success / June 2003
Dave Crawford Appointed Director of Airline and Auto Rental Business Development for VIP International / June 2003
Hotel Company Sharpens Channel Management for 22% Increase in Average Length of Stay for GDS Bookings, 14% Jump in ADR / June 2003
Interstate Hotels, Candlewood Suites, Regal Hotels, Canadian North Airlines Shift Call Center Responsibility to VIP: Interstate To Pass Along 8% to 10% Savings to Properties; Regal Hotels up 26% / May 2003
Zero Transaction Fees: Independent Hotels, Chains Profit from Landmark Agreement; Manage Discounted Rooms Through Central Res Systems at No Cost / May 2003
Interstate Hotels & Resorts Signs Five-Year Agreement with VIP International to Outsource Call Center; Expects to Pass Along 8 Percent to 10 Percent Savings, Increased Revenue to Hotels / April 2003
Hong Kong’s Largest Hotel Operator Sees Reservation Numbers Jump 26 Percent In First 10 Months of 2002, Increases Global Presence with New Reservation Sales Provider / February 2003
Canadian North Chooses Calgary-based VIP International to Provide Voice Reservation and Support services / January 2003
Midwestern Chain Targets Value-Conscious Senior Market; Picks New Channel Marketing Provider to Power Goal of 100% Increase in Bookings / January 2003
Midwestern Management Firm Gains 69% Increase in GDS Reservations YTD at 12 ‘Enhanced Limited-Service’ Properties / Dec 2002
Texas-Based Hotel Chain Captures 104% More GDS Reservations YTD, Speeds Ahead of Economy / Dec 2002
Four Star Calgary Hotel Reports 42% Increase in Bookings During Initial Period With New Channel Marketing Provider / Nov 2002

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