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Audit Your Revenue Channels

This article is from the Summer 2010 issue of Hospitality Upgrade magazine.To view more articles covering technology for the hospitality industry please visit the Hospitality Upgrade Web site or to request a free publication please call (678) 802-5307 or e-mail.
By Cindy Estis Green
June 2010

click to view magazine version of this article

Digging out from the recession of 2009–it requires a systematic review of your segments and channels. Now is a good time to take stock and evaluate every revenue opportunity as though you are opening your hotel for the first time.

It can take five years for a hotel to regain the rate lost from discounting during a recession. That was certainly the case in 1991 and 2001.The faster the management team breaks out of the recession mindset, the better. It is almost time to start work on the 2011 marketing plan and wasn’t that the year the pundits told us business volume would be back? They say there is now a light at the end of the tunnel. While the industry succumbed to intense rate pressures and stole business from each other with reckless abandon, the consumers continued to expand their use of online resources for travel shopping, purchases and to have conversations about their experiences. And those experiences included a lot of deals. If the industry plans to shift consumers away from the deal mentality, it will take some planning to move to a more profitable business mix. An audit of each major revenue stream and the levers that turn them on can reveal new opportunities.

Revenue comes in the form of market segments that are named for the customer’s trip purpose.  Typical market segment categories in hotels are corporate transient, leisure transient, meetings, conventions, wholesaler/tours and long term contracts. The customers are influenced by content in information and media channels, and their bookings come through reservation channels. The recession didn’t slow the explosive growth of the media and booking channels.  If you want to affect your volume and your rate, you can examine your business mix by segment and/or by channel. Be where your customers are; in order to do that you have to make sure you have compelling messages to attract, inform and engage and tools to facilitate booking (in reservation channels).

Every customer group is now online checking you out on the aggregated online travel agency sites, on the so-called non-transactional sites such as Trip Advisor, meta-search, social media, travel guides (many of which have booking links) and of course, the major search engines are a powerful driver of traffic to all online destinations.

What kind of traffic do you want? Preferably the kind that converts to definite business at good rates. High traffic volume is not the objective-it’s the old quality vs. quantity argument. You want qualified prospects coming to your Website and your call center that are inclined to book. Since almost seven in every 10 travelers conduct at least one step of their shopping/purchase process online1, this needs to be a high priority. There has to be a distinctive plan for each major guest category that a hotel pursues: corporate, leisure and group/meetings. It is a great time to take a fresh look.

Revenue Channel Audit
There are a few methods that are common to all customer segments and they need to be evaluated with each customer type in mind.

This is an excerpt from the Summer 2010 edition of Hospitality Upgrade. To read the method Cindy suggests above please visit

About the Author:
Cindy Estis Green is the managing partner of The Estis Group, a marketing consultancy and recently launched a new Website showcasing innovation and best practices in sales and marketing,


Geneva Rinehart 
Managing Editor 
Hospitality Upgrade Magazine 
and the Hospitality website

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