For Caribbean Islands Travel, life before it installed a channel management solution was cumbersome. To load inventory, its team had to open two sessions – one to check inventory and the other to load it.
“We wasted a lot of time”, said Luis Medina, manager of Caribbean Islands Travel, a Florida-based company that handles reservations for Royal Resorts in Cancún and the Riviera Maya, Mexico. Royal Resorts has six beachfront resorts and offers villa, suite and room accommodation.
Further, it also had to keep in mind that every channel worked with different systems, procedures and limitations.
In November 2010, it installed RateTiger to expand the services it provided for Royal Resorts.
“We felt it was necessary so that we could have more control and provide rapid response when managing many channels. When we started to work with more than three channels, we found we were spending a lot time making rate or inventory modifications.
“Ñow if we change rates and inventory, it only takes a few minutes on any channel.”
Today, his team loads inventory and rates at the same time for all channels. “An agent would spend around three hours updating just one important distribution channel for the six Royal Resorts in Cancún and the Riviera Maya, now the time invested is less than one hour for all channels for all properties. We soon confirmed that it was an awesome tool that truly was allowing us to become more efficient and competitive in the current global media.”
The team has also seen an increase in bookings and revenues “because there is always inventory going into our channels and we can modify rates more responsively, this means the revenue increases as well.”
“We started working with our first OTA in December 2009, and if we compare January, February and March 2010 with the same months in 2011, the online reservations we handle for Royal Resorts have increased by more than 300%, on average.”
In the current dynamic market, Medina said the company needs to be more responsive to market conditions regarding rate setting and promotions. It also has to be more responsive to trip reviews and social media.
“Royal Resorts has a Customer Satisfaction survey called In Search of Excellence which guests are encouraged to answer prior to check out or fill out online when they are back home. The results are carefully monitored and areas of opportunity identified. Steps are taken to improve service and enhance the vacation experience of guests.
“TripAdvisor and Expedia reviews are analyzed and shared with resort staff. Negative reviews are immediately addressed; investigations are carried out and Management contacts guests directly or via a published response.”
Royal Resorts is active on Facebook and Twitter and has a blog called www.royalresortsnews.com with a question and answer section where guests and potential guests can post queries, give comments or voice an opinion.
“My staff offers support by answering specific reservations and inventory questions for Royal Resorts. Special offers are promoted through social media, particularly Facebook,” said Medina.
He noted that the online channel had tremendous potential for sales and “if we work efficiently with the channels, keeping inventory and parity, we will sell more and see the Royal Resorts properties achieve even better occupancy percentages”.
“We have seen good comments from guests on the channels. Furthermore, representatives of the channels we work with have praised our handling of inventory supplies, and we never hear complaints regarding rate disparity.”