On the theme of “CHRD Major Players of Tourism”, the UMIH held at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes its 61th National Congress. In addition to expressing their anxieties before the crisis, delegates tackled some key issues, especially concerning online reservation and e-reputation.
Booking sites online or Online Travel Agencies (OTA) have democratized online booking and, by offering a new visibility for hotels on the Internet, have become indispensable partners for most hotels. Unfortunately, if the basic amount of the charged commission is between 15 and 25% of the room rate, it can reach nearly 30%.
There is currently a hardening of contractual relations, imposed unilaterally, when the hotelkeeper finally no longer has his say, and finds himself as a provider of “web supermarkets.” Roland Heguy, Confederal President UMIH, declared: “It is time to rebalance relations with the online reservation centrasl for a win-win partnership.”
Online booking services must understand that if they are necessary partners, it is essential to rebalance trade relations. The UMIH called to show a united opposition front of the hotel industry against excessive commissions of online booking centrals and calls for a fair amount of commission through a balanced dialogue between partners.
In addition, stakeholders of the Conference on OTA advised hoteliers to develop their own promotion/booking website for their hotels. After the Interface Technologies study, if OTA provide 59% of reservations, hotel websites bring in nearly 39%. It thus makes sense to oppose a personal marketing to the dictatorship of booking services.
For this purpose, it is necessary that the hotel website boats the following:
– Provide online availability until the last room to rent,
– Submit photos to all offers,
– Describe offers in French, of course, but also at least in English,
– Set up promotional rates,
– Follow the evolution of Internet offerings by setting up tracking tags.
Guest reviews on Tripadvisor, Booking, or La Fourchette, are consulted by three quarters of web users looking for a resort or a restaurant. This is the largest field of reviews on the Internet and 91% of respondents think the notice is the most important in their buying decision-making. Even if 78 % of users think that opinions are wrong, e -reputation has become a major issue for the hotel industries.
This focus on the reviews gave rise to abuses such as fake reviews, fake consumer or notice blackmail. However, if recourse to legal action is possible, it is better to respond to the notices, either good and bad, and to highlight the positive points. Rather than using a standard answer, responses must be customized. The hoteliers and restaurateurs who meet their review see their turnover climb and gain ranking on Google.
Again, to gain visibility on the Internet, the solution of owner website is advanced: Google references as a priority owner’s site before an ad on La Fourchette or Trip Advisor. Turn-key solutions with booking module exist, as proposed by 1001menus.com. UMIH is implementing partnership with TableOnline, Inside360 (establishments virtual visits) or SmartBox and seeks to create a tool like La Fourchette that “will give advantages rather than percentages.”
Member UMIH have three main advantages: the number, the human contact in a crucial area: eating, drinking, sleeping, and are master their information. To them to enhance human contact, show that they are professionals and have their customers understand they can not choose a place without an element of risk and depend on the opinion of others is to deprive oneself the unexpected that makes the spice of life.
In addition, the dematerialization of meal voucher offers solutions of visibility on the web. Resto Flash (partner with UMIH) has been designed as the start as an ecosystem built around lunchtime, with a host of related services offered to employees as well as to restaurateurs.
As for Cheque Dejeuner, it incorporated a unique QR Code in its stickers leading to the restaurant web site adress on a mobile, created with a few clicks an address.