We live in a world where all our technology devices play a major role in our daily life. Whether we are in front of a desktop, using a tablet or on a smartphone, we're receiving a deluge of content all the time. Content comes in the form of images and text, is frequently user-generated, and in the hotel industry often includes hotel rates. With so many sources, trying to keep all of these different types of content comparable and tangible can be difficult. Throw into the mix the many diverse platforms we use and the complexity intensifies.
In a New York Times article published this summer titled Airbnb Tries to Behave More Like a Hotel, the journalist describes how Airbnb now urges its hosts to post images that look more like hotel pictures. The article goes on to say that travelers are looking for more of a hotel stay environment. Therefore, hosts should make their spaces look and feel more like the settings you'd see at a hotel. This strategy has several inherent problems as only some guests want to book a space that is "hotel-like" while others want what is truly authentic. Airbnb is still struggling with this conundrum, and it will likely continue to be something that affects their business model.
When it comes to the hotel industry, we have been distributing and selling rooms online and offline for decades. We too have a challenge like the Airbnb issue - but not quite as dramatic. The hotel booking process has friction points due to the lack of consistency with the delivery of content and rates. Consistency is often applied to the design and look and feel of a website, microsite or mobile experience. However, it goes far beyond these elements. There are so many hotel distribution channels that presenting standardized content within your own brand.com channels can be nullifies when interpreted by the online distribution channels. These channels are recognized for having varying limitations regarding images, textual content and even room types and rates that are exposed to potential guests.
The challenge is to get more content to more platforms in a shorter time with the same resources while ensuring content remains consistent across delivery devices. Today's consumers are demanding more from their hotel shopping experience, so hoteliers need to drive attention to the details and attributes that distinguish their property from the competition. The best way to do this is to showcase these differences with compelling text and image content that inspires the guest to book their stay.
To create that all-important seamless omnichannel experience at every touch point, we agree that hoteliers and brands, along with online distribution channels, need to provide a purchase path that is intuitive. And it needs to deliver integrated content across all channels that enable guests to make the right choice based on their unique needs. However, a true omnichannel offering takes significant time and effort, as well as the right strategy and technology. The first steps consist of defining and adopting industry-wide best practices on every level and every platform.
HEDNA, The Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association Content Working Group is tackling these matters head on, and we are making significant progress Creating consistency of content delivered via different sales channels will be an ongoing effort. However, having a dedicated group of like-minded thought leaders addressing these challenges invariably helps the entire industry.
If you would like to know more about the HEDNA Content Working Group, just click on this link. The more people and companies that get involved, the sooner we will all be able to reap the rewards of content consistency.