Hotel Online  Special Report

Sceptre Hotels Increase E-Bookings
By More Than 130 Percent
Hotels partnering with the Denver-based channel-management
specialists achieved significant increases in same store,
online bookings per available room from 2002 to 2003

DENVER, COLO. — April 7, 2004 — Sceptre, a global reservations distribution and channel management/advisory services company for the independent hotel/resort and vacation ownership markets, reports a 23 percent average increase in overall online bookings from the global distribution systems, third-party distributors and the hotels’ own web-sites, and a 132 percent increase in bookings per available room for same store hotels in its portfolio from 2002 to 2003.

According to the PhoCusWright Consumer Travel Trends Survey Sixth Edition, a new report released last month that examines online travel shopping and purchasing behaviors, more than 35 million Americans purchased travel online in 2003, five million more than in 2002.  PhoCusWright projects that hotel Internet gross bookings will reach $11.8 million this year, representing 16 percent of all hotel revenue booked online. By next year, PhoCusWright projects online travel to reach more than $15.2 million—or 20 percent of all hotel revenue booked online. 

“What these findings substantiate is that Sceptre client hotels are already way ahead of industry averages for online hotel bookings,” said Mark Ozawa, Sceptre VP. “Our internal audits—that track average rates, length of stay and revenue generated through the various channels—show that Sceptre’s strategic channel management and advisory service is making a big difference for our customers. We understand how the various channels work and how consumers are shopping. Together with our customers, we strategize on ways to best position their hotels to get the results they are looking for.”

Proof Is In The Property

The Groton Inn, an independent property with 113 guestrooms comprised mainly of suites and apartments, announced that since it made the switch to Sceptre a year ago, the property has outperformed its competition for occupancy and RevPAR.

“In our market, which is heavily saturated with branded hotels and which caters to business travelers visiting the New London/Groton and Mystic areas of Connecticut, occupancy across the board is down about 7 percent,” said Nancie Keenan, Groton Inn General Manager. “Our occupancy, however, is up 7 percent, and we attribute that increase to the channel-management services and e-distribution support provided to us by Sceptre. Over the past year, Sceptre has developed, implemented and maintained an overall electronic-distribution strategy that has us not only competing head-to-head with the bigger franchised properties in our area, but beating them in occupancy and RevPAR. It’s almost like reaping the benefits of being associated with a franchise without having to pay the fees.”

Keenan said Sceptre tends to yield a higher average daily rate for its hotels, compared with competitors. In addition, RevPAR has increased by 60 percent since partnering with Sceptre, and overall property revenues have increased by about $400,000 – although several factors contributed to the revenue increase, she said.

William Howell, chairman of Boutique Hotel Management Group LLC, hails Sceptre’s channel management/advisory strategy as its secret to success.

“To be successful in any business today, you need reliable business partners,” Howell said. 

“When BHG began the process of looking for an e-distribution partner, we knew we needed more than just technology. What we wanted was seamless GDS connectivity, Internet travel site connections, bookings and call center representation. What we needed was greater visibility in the marketplace and improved inventory management. What we found was a partner that consults and advises on rates, which Web sites or channels to pursue, and generally on ‘revenue management’. We commend our management team for selecting a partner who will help drive more top-line revenue for BHG, and for the owners of the hotels we manage.”

Education plays an important role

Another key factor that leads to the success of Sceptre hotels is the company’s dedication to continuing education. On April 28-29, Sceptre will hold its 2nd Annual Client Training Seminar “Channeling Customers” at the Hyatt Regency Tech Center in Denver. The continuing education event enables Sceptre clients to network with industry experts and Sceptre team leaders to identify new market opportunities; learn how to increase rate and yield through revenue management, pricing strategies, parity, Web rate strategies and packaging; and how to maximize Consortia opportunities. Other topics to be discussed include:  e-distribution, rate optimization, new online opportunities, Web site successes, net rate wars and market analysis.

“Before hotels can achieve and maintain their projected occupancy levels, and before they can implement the right channel management strategies, with the right prices and the right on-line presence, they need to know what ‘Channel Management’ is and how the entire ‘Electronic-Distribution’ process works,” Ozawa said. "What may sound rudimentary to some managers is very confusing to others. Consultation and continuing education is needed from business partners like Sceptre if hoteliers are to be successful today.” 

About Sceptre
Since 1987, Sceptre has helped chains, management companies and independent hotels and resorts increase their sales and profits through GDS representation, private-label voice reservations and consulting services. Sceptre provides electronic distribution power and expertise previously reserved for branded or franchised hotels, with state-of-the-art reservations technology and a strong commitment to customer service and support. Sceptre is one of the key business units of SWAN Inc., a multi-service company focused on the hospitality industry. Other hospitality services of SWAN include Richfield (hotel management), Shield (insurance and risk management) and Source (procurement of operating supplies and FF&E). Swan Inc. is headquartered in Denver with approximately 1,000 employees. The company's shareholders include City e-Solutions Limited (CES) listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels plc, a U.K.-based company listed on the London Stock Exchange, operating 91 hotels worldwide.


Connie Rheams
Managing Director

Barb Worcester, President

Also See: Sceptre’s Destination Resort and Vacation Ownership Portfolio Grows / September 2003
Sceptre Strengthens Positioning; Hires Connie Rheams To Lead Effort / September 2003
Resort Market Taps Sceptre For Its Proven Reservations Reach / April 2003
Sceptre Partners With Blizzard Internet To Strengthen Client Web Sites, Online Traffic / March 2003
Switch To Sceptre Has Hoteliers Reaping Revenue Rewards / Nov 2002
Switch to Sceptre Sees Soar in Reservations Bookings for Santa Fe Accommodations / July 2002
Mark Ozawa Named Vice President - SOLVE; Will Lead SWAN’s Application Service Provider Network / June 2001

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