The success of Hotel Grand Chancellor
Hoteliers have been fighting the “battle of the bookings” against competitors and online travel agencies (OTAs), for some time. To lay siege to the OTA brand equity fortress, hotels are arming themselves with stronger direct channel strategies and technologies to increase direct bookings. A direct channel strategy brings big advantages to hotels such as deeper customer insights, greater opportunities to build a loyal customer base, and lower distribution costs — all to deliver a guest-centric experience that strengthens the bottom line.
“We started the process just looking for a Booking Engine solution to increase direct bookings. Instead of another vendor, what we found was a trusted business partner with the industry expertise, understanding and integrated solutions to help us achieve our business objectives well into the future.”
Hazel Rigler // Director of Marketing and eCommerce
Hotel Grand Chancellor, Australia and New Zealand
The Hotel Grand Chancellor brand
In Australia and New Zealand, 10 four-star hotels are marketed under the renowned Hotel Grand Chancellor brand. The hotels have well-appointed accommodations as well as extensive conference and event facilities, with five venues that can account for over 400 people. The Australian properties are located in holiday hot-spots such as Palm Cove, and in the cities of Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, Launceston and Townsville. In New Zealand hotels are located in the Central Business Districts of Wellington and Auckland. Hotel Grand Chancellor is a brand of Grand Hotels International, which owns and operates centrally-located hotels in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, and China.
Business challenges confronting Hotel Grand Chancellor in Australia and New Zealand
Hotel Grand Chancellor was looking to grow its business, but faced two major challenges, often observed by hoteliers:
- Increasing occupancy via the direct channel
- Shifting bookings from indirect channels
Hotel Grand Chancellor had been using the same booking engine provider for the last 8 years. While initially successful, the revenue team had outgrown their technology and did not believe they were well-equipped to drive more bookings through their hotel website. They needed new, innovative technology solutions to propel them towards new heights of success.
From the guest’s perspective, Hotel Grand Chancellor’s booking engine was cumbersome and difficult to use. Potential guests became frustrated with the process and abandoned their shopping when the booking path required countless steps or was hard to navigate.
From the hotel’s point of view, revenue agents needed autonomy to update rates in a timely manner and make other content updates without having to go through their vendor.
As a result, Hotel Grand Chancellor increasingly relied on OTAs to fulfill their modern technology needs, and to adjust rates quickly. But this came at a price – they increased acquisition costs, lost their connection with the guest and, in some cases, even lost shoppers to nearby, competing properties.
Making the switch to Sabre Hospitality Solutions
To convert more web browsers into online bookings and to deliver an improved guest experience, Hotel Grand Chancellor upgraded their existing booking engine to SynXis Booking Engine, providing them with a highly flexible and scalable booking platform. Several features had a significant impact on their direct channel conversions:
- Quick Pricing Updates: The ability to offer promotional codes unique to each guest or campaign allowed the team to execute their distribution strategy in a few minutes compared to several hours.
- Self-Customization: The designer tool enabled users to quickly build and edit the booking engine in real-time, to meet branding needs.
- Streamlined Booking Path: A frictionless booking experience expedited the entire booking process.
- Modern, Responsive User Interface (UI): An intuitive and mobile-friendly design delivered a consistent look and feel across all device types.
With the implementation of the SynXis Booking Engine, Hotel Grand Chancellor saw a significant growth in direct bookings, partly due to a responsive, streamlined booking tool that supported their overall distribution strategy.
The SynXis Booking Engine lead to an overall 13.8% increase YoY in room nights across the entire chain of ten hotels, with revenues totaling over $3 million. This represents a 12% increase for 2017. Implementation was fast, providing a speed-to-market advantage in a highly competitive marketplace.
Improved hotel visibility to business travelers
Sabre Global Distribution System (GDS)
Expanding market visibility was a priority to Hotel Grand Chancellor. The SynXis Central Reservations GDS solution provided access to the world’s largest GDS providers, and the ability to reach travelers who may not otherwise have discovered their properties. This was particularly true of business travelers, who frequently book accommodation for their professional travel through the GDS.
Moreover, Hotel Grand Chancellor participated in Sabre Consortia, an organization of independent travel agents, agencies and TMCs globally, which provided each participating hotel with greater access to business travelers to help drive growth in ADR, occupancy and incremental sales.
Most importantly, the team experienced zero down time, greater reliability and real-time, two-way connectivity, reducing data parity issues across systems.
Are you ready to drive more direct bookings?
If you’re looking to support your direct channel strategy, SynXis Booking Engine is built to convert — delivering a 10% average uptick in conversions and booking 18 million room nights and $4.6 billion in room sales. Combined with our other tools and services, our industry expertise can help grow your business.
Contact us to learn how we can increase conversions for your hotel or chain.