Just as the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is starting to transform our lives with interconnectivity between devices, so HolTech is transforming the way that customers research and book holiday accommodation, meaning that holiday property owners and managers must embrace this new behaviour to survive and thrive in the future.
‘HolTech’ and its Impact on Holiday Lettings
Tourism is one of the UK’s largest industries. According to the latest figures, in 2019 UK tourism contributed £213 billion to the UK’s GDP and directly employed 1.72 million people via 175,000 VAT-registered accommodation businesses.
As a result it is also a highly competitive sector. Along with the growth of globalisation and the increased availability of low-cost foreign holidays, modern tourism businesses face a great deal of pressure trying to stand out in an overcrowded marketplace.
The typical customer journey is changing, too, with the convenience provided by the digital revolution having only increased demand for better services and experiences at a cost-effective price. Only a few decades ago, planning a holiday might have entailed a visit to a local travel agent or visitor centre, trust of word-of-mouth, or even a printed guidebook. Fast forward to 2020 and travellers can research where to stay, read online reviews and book their own accommodation without even needing to leave the sofa.
It’s clear, then, that accommodation providers need to adapt to a new way of doing things if they want to succeed in today’s marketplace. The rise of online bookings has presented real challenges, but also real opportunities for new revenue streams, and it’s important for businesses to take full advantage of these in order to thrive.
However, it is becoming increasingly hard for park operators and property owners to choose where to promote their properties as the sheer breadth of distribution channels increases. There is a plethora of options available in the market, including channel managers, online booking agents, and even booking platforms through social media. It is therefore increasingly important to be able to focus on the solutions that not only complement existing business models but also provide opportunity for revenue growth.
Traditional methods of reservations management require property allocation in order to promote availability with a third-party distributor, but this is an outdated system which prevents owners from exploiting other potential revenue streams with the allocated properties. The challenge therefore for many holiday lettings companies is finding a distribution channel which delivers a significant number of bookings with a minimised risk profile.
Michael Paul Holidays has developed a disruptive technology and business model that provides clients with the ability to completely control their pricing and availability without the need for allocation. Since entering the market, Michael Paul Holidays has already started to have a positive influence on how owners approach their reservations management, providing a fairer and risk-free approach to advertising availability.
Removing the need to allocate availability not only erases the risk of lost revenue, but also provides opportunities to reach more potential customers through other distribution channels. Real-time connectivity also offers indirect benefits, including the use of dynamic pricing, which can be employed to respond to changes in consumer demand, and reduced overhead costs due to the use of automated booking systems.
However, it is important to note that technology on its own will rarely prove a panacea to poor booking performance. The key is to viewing technology as a tool rather than an answer, which is why we are still committed to providing tailored support and guidance to our clients.
“The channel or agency has to take the hard work out of the marketing and booking process for the holidaymaker and the property owner alike,” says Michael Paul, founder of Michael Paul Holidays, “otherwise they are simply not earning their commission.
“If the channel hasn’t adopted the technology to allow them to deliver a real service in real time, they won’t be around much longer.”
The experience of holiday park operators, marketers and tourism business managers still has an important place in supporting owners in achieving their business objectives. Combining this deep knowledge of the holiday lettings industry with the benefits of online channel management provides the added strategic direction needed to remain competitive in the marketplace.