During the first part of this post
we presented a feature realized to apply alternative sales strategies and attract reservations from those offline sales channels who don’t contemplate any sort of technological integration. This interesting opportunity is available thanks to a specific section found in Icnea’s PMS Channel Manager which allows property managers to create and configure offline channel profiles that link to a main online portal based on iFrame technology. Basically, any offline sales channel who affiliate will have access to the portal to finalize reservations for their own clients. Unfortunately, this strategy is not exempt from commissions, however these are usually lower than the ones classic online OTAs charge therefore, in our opinion, is a strategy that deserves at least to be evaluated.
What type of affiliates should a property manager look for?
There are numerous companies that work with travelers of all kinds, so the choice is wide, and the market offers various opportunities. Each partnership somehow corresponds to a specific guest profile so, depending on the company the partnership is closed with, variables such as age, length of stay and budget may vary. So, reached this point, a property manager would first need to decide what system to apply, we identified two:
A) Create one single universal portal where all partners can access their database and see only the properties that were agreed on to be sold via that channel.
B) Create theme portals to keep funneling profiles which theoretically ease marketing activities aiming to capture new strategic partners and have more detailed information concerning the different markets. In this case the property manager might want to create 1 or more portals each specialized in one area among:
- Leisure – Closing partnerships with traditional travel agencies would be the first logical preference as their client profile best matches with the main client target property managers usually go after. Partnerships can be made with both local and national incoming travel agencies.
- Business – Travelers who need accommodation do not necessarily arrive at their destination to enjoy vacations. On the contrary, they often do it for business reasons. Many companies, especially bigger ones in terms of employees, need to send their workers abroad to close deals, provide technical assistance, complete trainings etc, and usually for a limited amount of time so this may be an interesting option to explore. Employees who work with pharmaceutical products, construction, journalists and sales teams are usually the ones who travel the most.
- Education – A large portion of travel is also made by people who move for educational purposes. Their average length of stay may be a bit longer compared to leisure or business travel, however it may still help during low seasons or difficult times in general, like the ones we are living now. If a property manager wants to expand its horizons and include this type of guest profile their first targets may be universities who welcome researchers to give their contribution during a class or an entire research, language schools who manage an appealing number of students and master schools.
- Sport & events – Another reason for travelling is for sport competitions and events in general, and this may be at every level depending on the event: local, national, international, or intercontinental. Also, many events take place during a specific period of the year and for a limited amount of time hence its guest profile matches well with property managers who prefer working with short stays. If a property manager wants to go after the public attending these events the first option, travel agencies, may be more fit but if the target is who performs, athlete or artist that is, then the partner profile moves more onto sports clubs (soccer, basket, tennis, racing, athletics etc) and event committees that organize and manage events such as music concerts, photography exhibitions, cinematic events, fairs and congresses, etc.
Both formats presented above are valid and may return significant revenue remained asleep until then. So, as we saw, this entire strategy is not rigid at all and may be structured in different ways thanks to our technology, it all depends on the plan behind it.
In conclusion, we believe this opportunity to be quite interesting because it should definitely increase yearly revenue in general by obtaining more visibility with both professionals, resulting in attracting more partners who want to join, and travelers, resulting in more reservations. In the meantime, as traditional partnerships tend to charge less commissions than online OTAs, this strategy significantly reduces costs per reservation and helps becoming less dependent on classic online OTAs.