With summer in full swing, hotels worldwide are in a race to remain competitive to drive more direct bookings in an online world dominated by online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Expedia and Booking.com.
Many are looking into the adoption of the latest in technology as a way of getting ahead of the curve and finding solutions that help them acquire more guests.
Serving as the champion for hotels, Hotelchamp is a fast-growing startup making waves in the industry by offering hotels smart technology for driving more direct bookings to their websites. By enhancing guest engagement and delivering a personalised booking experience, Hotelchamp assists hotels in boosting revenue and build stronger and better relationships with their customers.
The company was founded in Amsterdam in 2015 by Kasper Middelkoop and Kristian Valk, who both recognised the emerging need to assist hotels in improving the online guest experience. After analysing the booking process against a number of would-be vacation goers, Valk and Middelkoop came together to build a platform that would enable greater personalisation during the booking experience to increase the likelihood that a customer would convert.
When planning their stay, guests often visit a hotel’s website for information, but are typically driven to book via an online travel agency (OTA) as opposed to directly booking on a hotel’s website. To help improve this issue for the industry, Hotelchamp offers a solution for hotels to convince guests to book direct by offering a personalised experience on the hotel website.
Hotelchamp has already succeeded in signing up over 1,000 major hotels from more than 35 countries, including Millennium Hotel Group, Meininger Hotel Group, Palazzo Versace, Apex Hotels and Sandton Hotels. The company also has clients in the United States, Australia, Middle East and Asia, all served by a team of specialists with over 50 employees.
With the rise of large booking sites, a third party now often stands between the hotel and its guests. “A lot of times hotels don’t know who they’re hosting until the guest walks through the door. That makes it hard to optimise services,” says Hotelchamp CEO Kristian Valk. ‘It’s also a disadvantage for guests, because booking sites see them as just another number and the service these sites provide is generic. If guests have a direct relationship with the hotel, it enables hotels to better cater to the guests’ specific wishes.’
Hotelchamp works using a SaaS model, with an average fee of around 300 euros a month. “Our customers are earning back three to five times these costs,” says Valk. “We always offer a fixed price for greater transparency. Our end-goal is to focus on being independent from OTAs, increasing their profitability and improving their guest relations. Whether it’s offering a free breakfast or a 10% discount on specific room types, our conversion specialists are helping customers uncover the best strategy through a combination of persuasion methods and personalisation, increasing their overall direct bookings.”
The smart technology company offers a sophisticated direct booking platform with a suite of conversion tools to incentivise online customers, while promoting a more sustainable future in which hotels have more control are less dependent on third parties. Their intelligent personalisation technologies and machine learning methodologies are reinforced with extensive data on customer behaviour.
With the recent rise in artificial intelligence and machine learning, industries – the travel and hospitality space being no exception – have an opportunity to embrace the latest in technology as a way of advancing their business goals. As OTAs continue to remain a challenge for many hotels, researching and adopting new methods for augmenting direct bookings allow hoteliers to take back customers from likes of Booking.com and provide them with a better customer service.
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