How Automation Saves Hotels Time and Money
Automating content distribution saves time and money for hotels, no matter your scale—from independent hotels, smaller soft brands, to multi-national chains. When we say “content distribution automation” we mean using technology to centrally gather all the marketing text, photos, videos, and virtual tours for one hotel property, and then automatically delivering it to your direct channels, online travel agents, gated corporate booking software, GDSs, and so on.
It sounds like a simple task: send your content to travel channels. If you’re not in charge of this task, we challenge you to ask the person in your organization who keeps channels up to date with so-called static content (photos, descriptive text, amenity information, and so on) how easy it really is.
How much time does it take them? Are you missing channels? Are there channels your rates appear on but not your photos? Have any channels changed or updated their best practices? Do you have a secure way to send photos to the press, to internal teams, to anyone who asks? And most importantly: what work could that person (or team!) be doing with that time instead?
If you don’t want to ask your team, we’ve put together some of the major ways that manually uploading and distributing media hurt your brand and cost you money.
Inefficiency & time lost
There are a number of ways that manually uploading content to every channel takes up valuable time and resources. First and foremost, there is the time it takes to log into the back end or extranet of every revenue-generating channel (direct and indirect) to upload media.
And then there are the channels that don’t have a back end for you to log into. These channels require you to reach out to their support teams or your account manager and then email or otherwise share your photos and information.
Smaller channels typically source your rates and availability via bed banks or switches, which offer those channels the lowest rate paired with whatever descriptive content they may have. If you’re not automating your media distribution, you’re letting channels decide how to sell your accommodations.
Our distribution software lets you upload media once to our platform, and then distribute it everywhere. We have distribution reports that tell you how long it will take for your updates to be delivered to key channels. Our best-in-class support team has an established relationship with channels, so we can handle any issues on your behalf.
Human error & turnover
Uploading media for travel channels is more complicated than selecting photos, clicking upload and walking away. There is no software out there yet that allows channels to see your photo and reliably determine the subject of the photo (a lobby, the pool, a specific room type). To maximize revenue potential and protect your brand, you need to attach a category to each and every photo, on each and every channel.
In practice, what that means is that every time you upload a new batch of photos to a single channel, you must accurately categorize and tag each photo, and match room codes to room types so the channel can match those photos to a room rate. Multiply that work across every channel we talked about above, and you’ve got a recipe for human error and small mistakes.
Those mistakes cost you bookings. Channels use categories, tags and room codes to help you stand out and provide a personalized experience for travel shoppers. You can’t show a pool photo to someone searching for a hotel with a pool if the category hasn’t been properly applied to the relevant photo.
In addition to human error, there’s also the sad truth that hotels and brands inevitably face staff turnover. In that turnover, login information to channels can easily get lost. The only way to recover accounts is to reach out and wait for a response from the channel.
Centralizing visual content into one source of truth makes it easy to retain control. Using an automated platform like Content Manager eliminates the need for manual tasks, reducing errors. Update one easy-to-use image repository and know that content and information is being reliably distributed on your behalf.
Maintaining content scores
You can solve all of these problems by automating content distribution. But you must take a holistic approach: a solution that makes it easy to both distribute and manage digital content. Reliable, accurate distribution keeps your content scores high – and high content scores boost conversion.
Some of the ways we use technology to help hoteliers maintain high content scores:
- In-app reports with a visual overview of the freshness and quality of your media, which makes it easy to see opportunities to increase your content score
- Our direct integration with channels via media feeds and API connections (depending on channel requirements)
- Experience and ongoing conversations with channels give us a direct line into what media they want to receive and how that media increases conversion
- Verification services to proactively monitor and facilitate content updates across dozens of key channels
How automation impacts your hotel
We’ve covered some of the high level ways automation directly impacts hotels’ bottom line – but we also know every organization is different. We have flexible solutions that solve content delivery problems across direct and indirect revenue streams. There’s a lot of technology going on behind the scenes to get distribution automation right. Reach out to our team to learn more about how we do it.