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GHO sees positive change in consumer booking patterns

Hoteliers need to adapt pricing strategies as consumers favour booking early 

Consumers are changing the way they book holidays according to Great Hotels Organisation (GHO: http://www.ghorg.com), the London-based hotel sales and marketing alliance. Travellers are shifting away from last minute hotel bookings in preference of longer advance booking lead times.

Research conducted by GHO found that in January 2010, 20% of hotel bookings made on GHO’s consumer website (http://www.ghotw.com) were booked less than two weeks before departure, a sharp drop in comparison to the same period last year, where 66% of hotel bookings were booked less than two weeks before departure, showing a shift in booking trends in favour of early booking discounts.

Last year, because of the unstable economic outlook and unsettling job prospects, travellers favoured last minute booking deals. However, as the economy slowly starts to emerge from recession, consumers are looking to travel in more cost effective ways, fuelling a rise in early bookings as this is when savings can be made.

In order to maximise revenue and profit hoteliers need to ensure they adjust their pricing strategies and costs according to booking trends. “If booking lead time is increasing, hoteliers need to ensure they have plenty of early booking discounts with the right restrictions in place. An early booking offer can be used to build occupancy and can also have a minimum length stay imposed to justify the discounted rates” explains Vanesha Ramsamy, strategic revenue manager at GHO, “The value-conscious consumer is searching for the best deals around and hoteliers should be aware of the rise in price comparison and consumer review websites where consumers can compare and contrast a large number of hotels. Sharpen your hotel’s online strategy and focus on building brand loyalty by keeping rate parity across all your channels.”

Rita Castro, E-Business & Sales Executive at Palacio Estoril Hotel & Golf, a Great Hotels of the World member, comments,“Early reservations have increased and we expect a greater demand this year. A strategy for early booking discounts needs to be applied by most hoteliers in order to show guests the advantages they may take from these rates and avoid the constant search for last minute discounts. Nowadays guests are highly informed so there’s no point offering “fake” discounts, by increasing rates during early booking periods and then applying a huge discount. Guests will always search per rate and not per discount.”

As the economy pulls itself out of recession, the success of a hotel is determined by effective crisis management and the flexibility to adopt short-term strategies and improvements. Hotels need to emerge from a recession with their reputation intact. Some hotels may even see themselves in a stronger position having secured new and loyal clients found through a change in pricing strategy.

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For press enquiries please contact:

Brooke Jester - Marketing and PR Manager, Great Hotels Organisation

Note to editors:

Great Hotels Organisation (GHO) is part of Big Worldwide, a global, privately owned travel, technology and media company headquartered in London. Great Hotels Organisation’s family of brands include Great Hotels of the World (http://www.ghotw.com), Special Hotels of the World (http://www.shotw.com) and Metro Hotels. GHO provides a range of products, services and innovative technology solutions for over 1,500 hotels worldwide including trade shows, e-marketing, business travel consortia sales, meeting and incentive sales, public relations, Meeting Forums and a private label GDS chain code (GW). evolution is a complete reservation platform that allows hotels to effectively manage multi-channel distribution.

Membership of GHO is by invitation only and hotels must meet strict criteria before being accepted. By acknowledging that each hotel has a different set of marketing requirements, GHO allows its member hotels to choose from a comprehensive collection of sales and marketing initiatives in order to build their own ‘à la carte’ membership programme tailored to meet their individual objectives. By doing this, members are able to choose and purchase only the services they require, thus ensuring that membership fees are focused on their specific requirements.

Further information on Great Hotels Organisation can be found at http://www.ghorg.com/.

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