If there is an upside to the growing number of OTAs on the market, it’s that there is an incredible wealth of data now available for hotel revenue managers to make better pricing decisions. However, many hotel CRS systems don’t make this data easily available to them. Consider the following tools that could give a revenue manager more fine-tuned control over online distribution: - Geographic pricing capabilities. Expedia is rumored to be launching a feature in which hotels can now list offers for rooms based on geographic region. Thus, a hotel in New York can specially target California travelers with a special offer that is not available elsewhere in the U.S. If Expedia can do this, so can a hotel CRS system. - Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) automation. Why should we leave it up to the consumer to notify the hotel when a better rate is found on an OTA? With APIs and other technology available, hotels can reverse the tables and notify the customer when better rates are found elsewhere. With each availability search, an automated BRG program on a CRS would pull current prices from the major OTAs and display them alongside the hotel’s best rate—if prices are out of parity, the hotel site could instantly match the rate and offer a discount or extra night right then and there. - Rate shopping prevention. There is nothing to be gained from making it easy for OTAs to rate shop hotel sites—these tactics are meant to force compliance with hotels’ promise of rate parity, while OTAs themselves flagrantly violate their own side of the bargain. Hotels can and should make it difficult for rate shopping robots to crawl a hotel site—with the right software programs in place, CRS systems can identify these robots (usually by IP addresses) and return “no availability” errors or higher prices. - Future demand data. Hotels should be able to take advantage of search data from both OTAs and their own booking engine—by tracking and analyzing all availability searches, a hotel CRS should be able to clearly and easily map out a future demand forecast, which would give revenue managers a huge edge in pricing rooms by date and geography to maximize revenue. Get the full story at Travel Tripper