The Disruptors: Battles for Europe’s hoteliers

Several issues face today’s hoteliers in Europe. While not all these topics are new, the nuances to which each has evolved and the implications to the hotel industry are significant. 

Rising channel costs: Increasing cost is a significant pain point for many companies. While a debate exists about how to accurately calculate the cost of customer acquisition, hotel companies that operate with a decentralized management structure need to ensure that their managers understand the short- and long-term implications of being too dependent on channels for all of their guests.

Technology: Consumers want to search and book on any device. They expect us to anticipate their needs and provide a personalized experience though all the “big” data we have captured on them, and they expect ample bandwidth during their stay for all of their devices. The ability to anticipate and meet customer expectations today requires a strategic focus and investment from the top of any hotel organization.

Brand value: There continues to be a blurring between booking brands and stay brands. This pushes all hotel companies to better focus on the customer experience regardless of the channel through which the customer arrived. The marketing challenge is to influence the decision process.

Pricing relative to loyalty: The European hotel industry may be facing a pivotal moment with the recent passage of a French law that cancels rate parity in contracts between hotels and online travel agencies. As other countries follow, companies will have to make independent decisions about how to manage the relationship between price and customer loyalty.

Allocation of talent: The new chief marketing officer is one similar to a “five-legged sheep.” One must must have the legacy skills of sales, marketing and revenue management but also the savvy of a consumer behaviorist to understand how to leverage big data and technology to create customer loyalty.

Education of the industry: There is a need to have an educational focus for associates at all levels of an organization. Education is vital to stay abreast of the quickly changing landscape and industry trends.

To read more Disruptors, check out the January/February issue of HOTELS.


Contributed by Bob Gilbert, HSMAI, McLean, Virginia