Hoteliers have been fighting the “battle of the bookings” against competitors and online travel agencies (OTAs), for some time. To lay siege to the OTA brand equity fortress, hotels are arming themselves with stronger direct channel strategies and technologies to increase direct bookings. A direct channel strategy brings big advantages to hotels such as deeper customer insights, greater opportunities to build a loyal customer base, and lower distribution costs — all to deliver a guest-centric experience that strengthens the bottom line. THE HOTEL GRAND CHANCELLOR BRAND In Australia and New Zealand, 10 four-star hotels are marketed under the renowned Hotel Grand Chancellor brand. The hotels have well-appointed accommodations as well as extensive conference and event facilities, with five venues that can account for over 400 people. The Australian properties are located in holiday hot-spots such as Palm Cove, and in the cities of Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, Launceston and Townsville. In New Zealand hotels are located in the Central Business Districts of Wellington and Auckland. Hotel Grand Chancellor is a brand of Grand Hotels International, which owns and operates centrally-located hotels in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, and China. BUSINESS CHALLENGES CONFRONTING HOTEL GRAND CHANCELLOR IN AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND Hotel Grand Chancellor was looking to grow its business, but faced two major challenges, often observed by hoteliers:
  • Increasing occupancy via the direct channel
  • Shifting bookings from indirect channels
Hotel Grand Chancellor had been using the same booking engine provider for the last 8 years. While initially successful, the revenue team had outgrown their technology and did not believe they were well-equipped to drive more bookings through their hotel website. They needed new, innovative technology solutions to support rising demands from travellers, provide real-time updates and gain useful insights from guest data. From the guest’s perspective, Hotel Grand Chancellor’s booking engine was cumbersome and difficult to use. Potential guests became frustrated with the process and abandoned their shopping when the booking path required countless steps or was simply not user friendly. From the hotel’s point of view, revenue agents needed autonomy to update rates in a timely manner and make other content updates without having to go through their vendor. As a result, Hotel Grand Chancellor increasingly relied on OTAs to fulfil their modern technology needs, and to adjust rates quickly. But this came at a price – they increased acquisition costs, lost their connection with the guest and, in some cases, even lost shoppers to nearby, competing properties. MAKING THE SWITCH TO SABRE HOSPITALITY SOLUTIONS After analysing their existing technology landscape and understanding their strategic objectives, Sabre Hospitality Solutions worked in close partnership with Hotel Grand Chancellor to implement an integrated solution using the SynXis® Enterprise Platform, incorporating SynXis Booking Engine, Sabre Global Distribution System (GDS) and Consortia. NEW DIRECT BOOKING SOLUTION OFFERS AN ENHANCED, FRICTIONLESS USER EXPERIENCE To convert more web browsers into online bookings and to deliver an improved guest experience, Hotel Grand Chancellor upgraded their existing booking engine to SynXis Booking Engine, providing them with a highly flexible and scalable booking platform. With the implementation of the SynXis Booking Engine, Hotel Grand Chancellor saw a significant growth in direct bookings, partly due to a responsive, streamlined booking tool that supported their overall distribution strategy. The SynXis Booking Engine lead to an overall 12% increase YoY in room nights across the entire chain of ten hotels. This represents a 9% increase in revenue for 2017. Implementation was fast, providing a speed-to-market advantage in a highly competitive marketplace. IMPROVED HOTEL VISIBILITY TO BUSINESS TRAVELLERS Sabre Global Distribution System (GDS) Expanding market visibility was a priority to Hotel Grand Chancellor. The SynXis Central Reservations GDS solution provided access to the world’s largest GDS providers, and the ability to reach travellers who may not otherwise have discovered their properties. This was particularly true of business travellers, who frequently book accommodation for their professional travel through the GDS. Sabre Consortia Moreover, Hotel Grand Chancellor participated in Sabre Consortia, an organization of independent travel agents, agencies and TMCs globally, which provided each participating hotel with greater access to business travellers to help drive growth in ADR, occupancy and incremental sales. Most importantly, the team experienced zero down time, greater reliability and real-time, two-way connectivity, reducing data parity issues across systems. DRIVE MORE DIRECT BOOKINGS Support your direct channel strategy with SynXis Booking Engine. The platform is built to convert — delivering a 10% average uptick in conversions and booking 18 million room nights and $4.6 billion in room sales. Combined with Sabre’s other innovative tools and services, leverage our industry expertise can help grow your business. Contact Sabre to learn how to increase conversions for your hotel or chain.