Testimonial - Case Study IC Hotels
Mr Fuat Ersoy, business development and marketing sales director
IC Hotels has spent the past five years developing its online marketing strategy reducing overall commission levels to just 3% and achieving more than 18% of bookings from direct marketing campaigns.
The group invested heavily in revenue management technology to boost distribution while leveraging more opportunities for gaining direct business to improve profits. This level of commitment has expanded the customer market achieving a revenue growth of more than 1500%; a feat any hotel would be proud of.
IC Hotels needed to boost sales and needs to see where future bookings are coming from. Where to start?
First the group reviewed its existing systems and the technology to help hotels improve the management of multiple channels and direct bookings. Most important for the brand, that Mr Fuat Ersoy, manages was the simplification of technology products that fully integrated with the existing systems.
Next IC Hotels wanted to increase direct bookings, as well as the customer database; and this meant utilising third parties as a means to attract and secure customers.
Cost was an important aspect IC Hotels needed to control across all its properties; having witnessed so many hotel costs spiral out of control it was important to reduce commission and distribution costs.
Occupancy levels needed to be improved to help bolster revenue opportunities across the group, and finally, but not of least importance in this digital world; the group needed to develop a multi-channel online booking, revenue and marketing strategy.
IC Hotels implemented BookLogic's Smart Booking Engine connected to the channel manager, in order to have flexibility in its channels. Each property can now change channels easily and quickly, while optimising rates and update availability simultaneously to improve revenue performance.
"We increased our ADR and RevPAR values up until the close of 2015.Our rates grew approximately 15% in 2013, 19.5% in 2014, and has continued to grow by 5% in the last year."
Having direct access to all channels the group is giving them the chance to review the performance of its sales network, and how they were behaving in order to help improve their performance.
"Statistically this is very important for us. We have the time to create special arrangements with local agencies we work with, so we can monitor the guests more easily, they can also send us sales very simply."
To stay ahead of the market, IC Hotels uses important competitor rate data, by BookLogic; each hotel marked against a competitive set of five hotels provides all the details (daily/weekly/monthly/annual room including hot sales etc) to allow the individual properties to review performance and opportunities more closely.
'We review competitor rates in order to maintain our competitiveness and remain ahead in the market. This ensures we do not our price ourselves in any given market on every channel."
IC Hotels asked BookLogic to develop its rate shopper and compare manager system into its CRS System so that better pricing decisions could be made while adding rates. The current system provides the team with instantaneous information through graphs and statistics for both the property view and competitor rate view in the same screen.
To take this one step further the BookLogic team is now developing the rate shopping system for the Russian and Ukranian operators package rates (hotel+flight) from their websites on top of the hotel only rates of B2Bs and OTAs. Once combined with additional data reports for market specific charter flights into the dynamic packaging engine IC Hotels can book its own negotiated rates of charter flights thorough BookLogic technology.
Opportunities from marketing
With the growing focus for internet bookings and having its own booking engine IC Hotels has been table to take advantage of selling super luxury villas and travel lodges online. Previously the hotel chain was only selling to the German and Dutch markets in Spring and Autumn, and Russia in the Summer, and with investment in online visibility and branding the hotel is booking throughout the year, for up to 25 days, with guests from new locations including UK, Africa and Middle East countries.
IC Hotels constantly monitors its sales partners to improve conversion and product offering. Working with BookLogic the Mr Ersoy's teams receives regular reports to assess the productivity by contract; this has enabled the brand to develop a loyalty programme:
"The loyalty program provides transparency with our partners, as well as making it easier and quicker for partners to confirm and process bookings. BookLogic created a loyalty program at a time when most hotels were struggling to develop one."
The group didn't just rely on technology to draw increased revenues, but also IC Hotels improved its SEO, PPC and online marketing visibility and performance across all channels to bring direct bookings and bring business throughout the year from across new traveller markets.
"Within five years, IC Hotels increased the direct email customer booking business from 7% in 2010 to over 18% in 2015. In addition commission costs fell to only 3%; by managing direct sales and marketing more effectively."
Selecting a partner
"It's important that a service and technology provider that understands the hotels' needs, and finds the right path to optimise all our sales channels to drive direct bookings as well as improve revenue. We are now able to focus on the most profitable partners, as well as investing in marketing that is driving more direct bookings. This has helped us develop the long-term view for a more sustainable yet flexible revenue management strategy."
BookLogic provides the full suite of revenue management and marketing services to IC Hotels to work with one team to optimise its position in the market while ensuring reservations and occupancy levels are continually improved
BookLogic's direct connections with the wider travel industry and OTAs, and GDS means that IC Hotels is able to take advantage of improving visibility and commission rates to reduce costs.