Updated: Dec 14, 2019
Is the current booking method harming small hospitality businesses?
It's easy to understand why hospitality business owners engage with the major travel agencies for marketing, booking and selling rooms off the Internet, the current method has evolved over many years and is established and accepted for promoting the current trend, all inclusive package holidays!
In the main the method obviously has its merits and is an easy option mass market booking system that offers a high booking success rate but is it the right way forward for small properties -B&B's, boutique hotels, vacation rentals- owners in 2020 and does the system pose a hidden threat to these organisations?
If a S.W.O.T analysis,( Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) were to be applied to the current method of obtaining bookings some alarming facts may be identified placing the current method under question! for example.
Commission rates are set at scale, can be extremely high and carry conditions that take control of a business, it controls cash flows, retains guest data, therefore potentially it could pose an underlying threat to the future development and viability to the small hospitality business owner.
The cold fact is a hospitality business stands alone in an overcrowded system passively waiting for someone to come along and click on an image to book a holiday, from an individual marketing perspective there's nothing pro-active or secure about this method.
The question is, are owners of small hospitality outlets concerned, if so, what can they do about it and where can they find a solution to alleviate some of the concerns they may already be feeling about their current booking system and the way it controls their business for holiday bookings?
What is Wix Hotels and What does it do?
Developed and promoted by Wix Hotels is an all-in-one online Booking System that will revolutionise a hospitality business. It gives small properties -B&B's, boutique hotels, vacation rentals- control of booking and reservations management. Guests can make reservations - directly off an owners website without linking and leaving to book through a third party and here's the good news owners get to retain 100% of the revenue earnings.
Initial booking fees go directly into owners bank accounts resulting in improved cash-flows, no more credit arrangements or waiting endless days for payments. It also alleviates the current uncertainty surrounding the travel industry at the moment and gives owners more control over their business and its future!
The overriding benefit of Wix bookings is it gives back to owners control of their business, they will no longer wonder where the next booking materialises or wait endless days for payments, it even gathers much needed valuable consumer data allowing owners marketing efforts to be pro-active.
With overall consumer data in the hands of the owners building customer relationships becomes a reality, owners can inform clients directly of developments, special offers, current news and much more.
What challenges does Wix hotels present?
Wix hotels may not be suitable for every small hospitality outlet, because it depends on the owners attitude, booking demands and whether or not they can embrace change and learn about how the benefits Wix hotels booking and management system adds value to their business.
There is also the question of transition from the current method to the Wix dynamic method, well there's good news here as well, its called channel manager powered by HotelRunner (attracts a commission).
All owners booking channels are synced, meaning you can integrate in parallel your current system effortlessly and manage all bookings through Wix Hotels online channel manager, they sync all reservations from over 80 booking channels in one seamless transition, it even imports reservations from Airbnb, Homeaway & Google calendars.
The challenge is to build on your current system while developing the Wix hotels system over a season to then go it alone, at the very least owners will have gained consumer data to action for the following season.
What does all this mean for the owners?
In general people like routine, may not actively research for applications on the market that enhance visibility, efficiency and profitability of a business.
What hospitality owners should be asking themselves is why some of the biggest high street names are finding market conditions very tough, why there'e going into liquidation and what are the fundamental causes.
According to a recent survey by AdColony's, commissioned by mobile marketeer smartphones are the most popular device for shopping online, consumers search for a product then shop around for the best deals.
Results suggest that merchants and brands need to have their mobile strategies in place to appeal to holiday shoppers who rely heavily on their smartphones to make online purchases or for assistance in stores.
Insight conclusions from the survey suggest small business hospitality owners should address the situation now or face the inevitable negative impact on their business!
Looking forward owners must wise up and spend some quality time developing their own online presence, smartphone strategy, engage, communicate and delight their customers and give some serious thought to the scenarios that could impact upon the future of the business.
If owners continue to stay under the control of the major travel agencies, who not only control bookings (your business) cash flows, (whether you trade or not) owners future and to top it all they even hold all owners customer information as well they may face a bleak future!
There are more moving parts to starting and running a business than owning a website and slapping a “grand opening” banner on the front page. One very important aspect is the communication between the owners brand and the consumer, its difficult to do that working through a third part (Travel Agents).
Brand awareness is stronger than ever so owners must give their business a boost establish the brand and put customers first, keep attitude in check and stay empathetic with customers, it will serve them well!
What steps can owners take?
It would wise for owners to evaluate their current position, i.e. the companies online presence (SEO) against primary competitors, this is easily undertaken by carrying out an online presence audit.
From the data gathered owners will be able to make informed decisions about areas that require attention for improvement which in turn will assist with web design, mobile strategy and in creating a high performing website over time.
In conjunction, owners should take a hard look at the way they currently run their business and if necessary redefine the process with an up to date business model, also define their ideal customer, be selective in which market they can serve effectively and set business purposes that are achievable, sustainable and realistic.
The main overriding message is "owners should start taking control of their business and its future"
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing is the act of using social media platformssto promote a brand or product, build an audience, generate leads, and increase sales and website traffic.
A great place for inspiration is reading the Wix blog post on social media marketing small business, you'll get some great tips & tricks to get you started its both informative and intuitive.
Concentrate initially on the primary channel to get you started with search engines like Google my business, its free to register online and a Business Profile on Google My Business helps reach out and engage across Google Search and Maps.
Once registered make a big effort and start working on your SEO, (search engine optimisation) high ranking does not happen over night it takes time and a lot of patience! but keep going until you get it right.
Experiment, experiment, experiment with your search phases, test them out on the Internet and see what results appear, look for your competitors search phases then tailor yours to get results.
When you are satisfied with your media strategy get your site indexed with all the major search engines to make sure your site is viewed online.
Do some basic research on all free media channels, facebook, twitter, Instagram etc, open free business accounts then decide which one best fits your business, not all will give you the best results so choose carefully and lastly make sure your media marketing efforts are accessible to all users.
Author Mike Fox.......
Wix, Userway, michaeljfoxwebdesign, mobilemarketeer