Remember the days of those bulky rates sheets? Contracting fixed rates for the entire year, planning & announcing promotions months in advance & distributing rates via fax! Technology empowered us & transformed the way we do business forever. However, the explosion in channels to market & intermediaries has driven us to attempt distributing everywhere, to everyone & all at once. The How, What, When, Where that guided distribution, is lost in the rush to be omnipresent.
Today we search, acquire, consume & share information at the speed of thought. It should be no surprise then, that in the age of the millennials, the shotgun approach to hotel distribution channels has limited returns & can be an increasingly expensive exercise. Infact a distribution drive to be omnipresent, has it consequences and can significantly erode yield & impact customer engagement. In a consumer driven market distribution is no longer about reach, its positioning that is at a premium today. The true power of distribution is in the ability positioning your product at the right time, price, market & customer.
Often that choice of distribution channels & partners is independent of the target customer segment or market. Mostly driven by a pure need to play catch up with the competition, loosing sight of the target customer who is the focal point of the hotel distribution landscape. Is there a silver bullet to effective distribution? Is the solution in revenue management, value based selling, an intelligent mix of social & digital marketing, investing in growing the direct sales channel or using BIG data to take informed decisions. If you feel that you need to do all of that and more, well you are not alone. This is the common point at which, we attempt at spreading our finite resources across, infinite priorities, overlooking whom we are trying to reach.
Instead of trying to reach everyone, everywhere, the choice of distribution channels & partners need to reflect the will to actively engage your target customer. Define your customer & apply the customer filter to your distribution strategy & channels to market.
- Who is your target customer?
- How do they shop?
- Where do they shop?
- What inspires or triggers their purchase decision?
- How do they prefer to pay?
Apply a targeted distribution strategy to, engage & inspire customers. Be selective, choose your distribution channels & partners carefully, they will ensure your success. Remember technology is an enabler, there to simplify your operations not overwhelm. Pick the right technology partner that allows you the right flexibility & support to effectively manage your distribution channels. Effective channel management starts with your customer in the driving seat.