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The Beautiful World of Distribution: What Do Hotels Want and What Do They Really Need?

Annika Van Bracht
Product Manager Hotel Strategy and Solutions, HGBU Product Strategy

The world of distribution is beautiful, rich and diverse with countless options to explore.

But there in also lies the challenge: With a plethora of emerging hotel technologies, channels and trends, it is difficult for hoteliers to determine if what they want aligns with what they really need to maximize revenue.

That’s why at Oracle Hospitality, we’re working hard to help you clarify the distinction.

A few years ago, I was asked to present distribution solutions to colleagues unfamiliar with the topic. I was thrilled to participate and sent an invitation with the subject line: “The Beautiful World of Distribution.” But after my initial excitement, I wondered how I would explain the complex topic to my audience in a way they could truly understand and visualize it. I did the best I could that day, providing an overview of various distribution solutions and highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.

Today, my interest in hotel distribution remains as strong as ever, and discussing it still is equal parts fascinating and daunting because it continues to morph constantly. It’s essential for hoteliers to be able to determine which problem can be solved by which solution. We understand that needs vary by property, but all hotel properties have the same goal: to sell their properties in the best possible way.

To help hoteliers with that task, our distribution product strategy team is spearheading a market research initiative for distribution solutions. In the past three months, we have conducted multiple interviews with hotel executives using Oracle as well as other solutions. Our main goal: better understand your pain points as it pertains to distribution. (We are looking for more interview partners. If interested, please feel free to contact us via oraclehosp_ww@oracle.com)

In parallel, we’ve partnered with University of South Carolina researchers to examine personalized demand models to meet customers’ needs and maximize hotel revenue. One option is the concept of ‘choice modeling’ and the actual demand for certain hotel room type features. This approach clusters guests with similar characteristics by: guest attributes such as customer loyalty and origin; travel attributes, which can be price or number of guests; or external factors in the form of holidays or weather. This approach also takes into consideration guests who do not complete a booking for reasons such as lack of interest or price. That’s important, because any evaluation ignoring such non-complete bookings is biased and creates inaccurate estimates. Ultimately, hoteliers need to be able to assess demand, define the probability that a cluster of guests will likely book rooms with specific room features – and price them correctly.

Do you want to learn more? Let’s work together and explore this beautiful world of hotel distribution.

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