Neil Salerno, uno dei maggiori esperti internazionali di Revenue Management e Web Marketing Turistico, svela in un’intervista esclusiva con Booking Blog, i punti chiave del successo per l’hotel nel ventunesimo secolo.
Con dichiarazioni estremamente forti e concise, Salerno condanna le pratiche di Revenue che non tengono conto della gestione del budget e del profitto, riconferma il ruolo centrale del sito ufficiale come strumento principe per il marketing dell’hotel, proclama TripAdvisor come miglior canale di vendita dei nostri tempi e stronca il successo di Facebook e Twitter, dichiarandoli a suo parere “incompatibili” con il mondo dell’ospitalità.
Di seguito troverai l’intera intervista in lingua originale, oppure scarica il PDF dell’intervista in italiano : buon lettura!
- Do you think European Hospitality is actually already recovering? When do you think it will actually do, if not now?
Yes, I believe that the recovery is underway. This situation will continue to improve through 2010. The early leaders are those hoteliers who continued a high level of marketing even when it was difficult.
- In your opinion, what revenue management strategies have actually produced best results in this period of economic crisis? Do you think they could be still effective in this moment or hoteliers should develop new ones?
I believe that those hoteliers who managed their expense management will be head and shoulders ahead of those who only concentrated on building revenue alone.. I am all in favor of renaming “revenue management” to “profit management”.
- Could you tell us more about the shift from “revenue” to “profit management”?
For a long time, I have believed that the term revenue management was inadequate to proper describe the true purpose of the function. The original term “yield” management was much more descriptive of the true goal, which is the adjustment of rates and inventory to produce a greater yield of “profit” to be gained by increasing bottom-line dollars (Euros) from current demand. If hoteliers would keep their focus on the end goal (profit), they might better understand the revenue management function.
- Prices and stars are not enough to diversify your property from other hotels. What advices would you give hoteliers to create the right USP and actually distinguish their hotels form competitors?
I believe that this has not changed in many years; emphasizing destination and service creates perceived value. Value sells rooms, not price.
- Recently hoteliers keep on criticizing TripAdvisor and other reviews web sites because they are really skeptical about the authenticity of online reviews. Do you consider web sites like TripAdvisor as a resource or a threat for the hotels?
TripAdvisor is the best sales tool our industry has ever seen. Too many hoteliers have yet to learn how to use it to sell the third-party endorsements derived from review sites. The only hoteliers who fear review sites are those who have poor operations and service and don’t know how to improve them.
- Many Hoteliers this year are going to invest their online budget mainly on social media marketing and mobile marketing. What is your opinion about these choices?
I believe that the only beneficial social media sites are those which concentrate on travel, like TripAdvisor. Facebook users may now have an opportunity to obtain some benefit with further development of their “like” link strategy. Frankly, I don’t know of even “one” hotel that has actually benefitted from Facebook or Twitter. These social media are not compatible for the hospitality industry. Marketing one’s proprietary website will be the key to success.
- How much is important the direct online channel and what conversion rate should a hotelier aim to through the official website?
I believe that a hotel’s proprietary website will continue to be the one necessary marketing tool. I look for a conversion rate of 5 to 10 percent or more of site visitors.
- What strategies or actions (structural and marketing ones) would you recommend to hoteliers to make their websites more efficient?
I firmly believe that a hotel website needs to serve two masters (search & sales). I see too many hotel sites which are designed for neither. Hoteliers who have turned to technical designers (instead of hotel marketers) to design their websites tend to receive a site which might be visually attractive, but totally dysfunctional from a marketing standpoint. The designer must understand “how and why people choose a hotel”.
- What do you consider the most important elements of the website (structure and contents) to pay attention to, in order to obtain the conversion rate you have suggested?
Search-friendly design, properly written sales text which is keyword rich, and a properly developed rate structure.