September 02, 2014

How a successful sustainable hotel strategy can lead to more direct bookings


A truly committed sustainability path can provide hotels with wider economical results, as the Vienna's boutique hotel Stadthalle proves. The hotel goes beyond the usual Corporate Social Responsibility practices and thereby generates 65% in direct bookings from its own website and direct phone reservations to the hotel.

A truly committed sustainability path can provide hotels with wider economical results. Ultimately, this is what sustainability should aim for balancing the triple bottom line: environmental results, social results and economic results.

The decision about whether going or not going green, in the case of Michaela Reitterer, owner of the hotel Stadthalle wasn't just a strategic debate but a firm decision based on her own personal values.

While the average rate per night in Vienna in 2013 was 64,80€ for 3-star hotels, Stadthalle had an average daily room rate of 92,36€, compared to 80,14€ for 4-star hotels and 152,91€ for 5 star hotels. In spite of the increasing competition with more properties and rooms in the city during the last years (+7 percent), occupancy rates were still higher at hotel Stadthalle than the average. Boutique hotel Stadthalle accomplished a 74,90 percent occupancy rate in 2013, while the average occupancy rate in Vienna the same year was 71,62 percent (69,68 percent -3 star; 72,43 percent -4 star; 72,95 percent -5 star).

What is even more interesting is the hotel lesser dependency on distribution channels. Recognized brands, not to mention independent hotels, are struggling to reduce hotel dependency on online travel agencies and other distribution channels. Hotels rooms are for sale in a dynamic and volatile distribution landscape and the power of online distribution channels is continually growing. Mainstream debate focus on online marketing, revenue management strategies and social media actions as a way of counterbalancing OTAs, tour operators and other distribution channels dependency. For many hoteliers getting 25 percent in direct bookings can be considered almost utopian. Nevertheless, Stadthalle generated 65 percent in direct bookings from its own website and direct phone reservations to the hotel. The other 35 percent came from different distribution channels (15 percent through OTAs and 20 percent through tour operators and other travel agencies). "Account Managers of online travel agencies do not believe us when we tell them our percentage of direct bookings" says Monika Haas, Sales and Marketing Manager.

Get the full story at Hospitality.Net

Read also "Cornell study: Sustainability certification boosts hotel performance" and "Hyatt unveils new 2020 environmental sustainability strategy" at Hyatt