Hotel Content distribution – When travelers plan for their upcoming holiday, they window shop at online websites to find a hotel that matches their tastes and preferences. During the window shopping, the tech-savvy traveler expects all details about the hotel, such as hotel room amenities, hotel images, check-in check-out, pet policy, pool hours. These hotel details are known as hotel content. Sometimes, these questions go unanswered, impacting the traveler’s booking experience. Are you able to relate to this?
Unfortunately, the hotel content is not as simple as it must be. Why does this happen? This is because the hotel content is not up-to-date or inaccurate, and the main reason for this setback is the complex hotel distribution.
One of the biggest challenges travel brands faces is hotel content distribution. Before I get into the critical aspects of hotel content distribution, let me elaborate more on how hotel distribution works.
Whether you are a hotel, resort, or any type of accommodation provider, you can distribute your property through various channels and manage your hotel inventory from a single point. Some of the distributors in the hotel distribution channel are Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), metasearch, Global Distribution Systems (GDS), suppliers, tour operators, bed banks, and wholesalers. Due to various players in the distribution channel, the hotel content quality deteriorates, impacting your guest booking experience.
Challenges of Hotel Content Distribution
According to our research, up to 6 resellers are involved in content distribution. This leads to various challenges such as data inconsistency, data unavailability, infrequent data, data loss, stale data. These challenges impact
- Brand reputation is at stake
- Bad customer experience
- Data loss
Five Strategies for Hotel Content Distribution
1. Multi-channel distribution strategy
- One of the best practices to simplify hotel content distribution is the multi-channel distribution approach. It is essential to diversify your hotel content, which would improve your customer base, give better control over your brand, and grow in untapped markets.
Some of the well-known means in the multi-channel approach are:
- Sending high volume data through files, either Excel or Comma-Separated Value (CSV), and distributing through automation.
- The travel industry is more open to sharing data with each other. OTAs or TMCs that receive hotel data from multiple sources can utilize Application Programming Interface (API) for hotel content distribution. Through APIs, OTAs or TMCs can integrate and consume real-time hotel data and deliver valuable and accurate information for customers.
- Content Distribution Network (CDN) is another best way to deliver content. A CDN is made up of network servers in locations around the globe. CDNs transfer content closer to the user to reduce latency, deliver content faster and improve user experience. In fact, you can even cache content on a CDN to provide hotel data content to end-users much quicker.
Traditionally, travel businesses downloaded and stored a large volume of hotel data in databases; let’s call this an offline process. The problem with the offline process is there are chances for stale content. Ideally, when a travel business opts for an offline process, they might miss the latest additions of hotel properties and have outdated content on their platform. This can result in booking errors and a bad customer experience.
Hence, I suggest practicing an online process where all the hotel content is directly available online. Through the online process, the hassle of downloading torrential data gets reduced, and businesses can directly access hotel content from their sources. Due to this, integration efforts are minimized, data consumption is real-time, and accessibility is easy.
3. Incremental content update
Another factor in reducing hotel content distribution complexity is opting for incremental content updates. Even though leading hotel suppliers have begun incremental content updates, the travel industry still relies on full content. But, with full content, there is a good chance of missing out on the latest data that can impact your business easily.
Let’s say, for example, a supplier shares a hotel content database with their client, say an OTA. After providing access to the complete database, the supplier must regularly provide incremental updates so that the OTA’s platform is up to date with the latest hotel information.
This incremental update is currently missing from the travel industry but practicing this religiously can enhance the hotel content distribution.
4. Technology solutions
Technology and IT solutions are the backbones of the travel and hospitality industry. With technology, the complexity of hotel data distribution can definitely wind down. At Vervotech, we ensure to distribute our hotel content with utmost accuracy and speed. How do we do that? We follow some of the best technical aspects such as:
- Caching to retrieve the data fast for fast retrieval of data leads to faster content distribution
- Indexing the data to speed up search queries
- Compression of content for faster transfer
Data security plays a vital role in this era of hacking and breaches. Content distributors must protect their digital data from unauthorized access. Since data security is a complex process, there are two steps that are essential for any content distributors.
Step 1: Content segregation
Content segregation is an important step in security. Firstly, a content distributor or hotel supplier must identify the types of content they have and then meticulously categorize them so that their customers get only what they subscribed for.
Step 2: Access control
Once the content is segregated, the distributor must now focus on authorization and access control. Content access should be controlled with multiple authorization levels.
For example, when a distributor signs a new client, they must ensure the client can access only the subscribed content. Without authorization, hotel content data will remain vulnerable to data breaches and unauthorized access, which is the last thing your business wants.
In this digital age, the travel industry has been a late adopter of innovation and technology, especially compared to other industries. Since hotel content plays an important role in the guest booking experience and the distribution channel is super complex, it is important that the industry works towards reducing the complexity by embracing technology and focusing on delivering a stellar guest experience.