Independent Hoteliers:

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1 June 001 Independent Hteliers: ebusiness Levels the Playing Field By Max Starkv and Jasn Price Hteliers experienced phenmenal grwth with htel ccupancy rates ver the past several years, but this is may be histry. Accrding t Smith Travel Research, U.S. htel ccupancy was 9.9% year t date thrugh April, a significant drp frm the average ccupancy rate f 6.7% reached in 000 (PricewaterhuseCpers). Reprts frm the field d nt lk gd. Occupancy rates wrsened fr 19 f the tp metr areas, with significant drps reprted in New Yrk, Chicag, Detrit and New Orleans. The sftened ecnmy is frcing Hteliers t think abut ways t deal with lwer ccupancy rates and shrinking RevPARs in the upcming years. H e B S d i g i t a l, I n c. A d d r e s s : 6 W 8 t h S t. 8 t h F l r, N e w Y r k, N Y P h n e : F a x : E - m a i l : s a l e h e b s d i g i t a l. c m W e b : w w w. h e b s d i g i t a l. c m

2 Can independent htels deal successfully with tday's challenges and emerge as winners frm the present ecnmic dwnturn? Will independent htels lse mre grund t the majr brands wh have enugh marketing muscle t feed a third wrld natin? Our wn research has determined that by emplying a rbust ebusiness strategy and by using technlgy t level the playing field in marketing and edistributin, any ldging cmpany r independent htel can successfully cmpete with the majr brands amidst this sftened ecnmy. Hspitality is nt all abut rms and F&B. edistributin and eprcurement must becme the fcus f attentin f hteliers if they want t sften the effects f a natinal ecnmic dwnturn. Cst-effective nline distributin is what increases ccupancy rates, imprves the bttm line and gives htels sustainable cmpetitive advantage. Develping a lng-term ebusiness strategy is the main key t gaining cmpetitive edge nt nly ver yur peers, but ver many majr brand htels. This strategy requires the htelier t embrace edistributin. It necessitates turning the htel website int a /7 sales frce thus reducing distributin, sales and labr csts. It calls fr a real-time bking engine n htel website fr nline reservatins f transient rack rates, crprate and prmtinal rates, grup inventry, packages and special accunts, in additin t htel and rm descriptin, hence a grwing pprtunity t generate cash and increase ccupancy. It demands the htelier t react instantly t the changing market cnditins by dynamically adjusting pricing and availability f inventry. " Hteliers must take actin and develp rbust ebusiness strategies t have staying pwer and cmpete" T maximize revenue pprtunities, ebusiness enabled hteliers ffer real-time bking fr a variety f cmplementary services n their website: theater r musical events, spas, city turs, limusine, air, car rental and ther prducts natural t a traveler s experience. Accepting travel agency bkings, prmtinal cdes, grup and special accunt reservatins by preferred custmers like crpratins, assciatins, and clubs is an imprtant functinality that nt nly generates additinal revenues but saves staff time and cuts sales and marketing csts. Hw well is yur website wrking fr yu? The attached Htelier Website Check List can tell yu where yu stand. Hteliers must devte renewed attentin t lng-term ebusiness strategies and nline technlgy applicatins t have staying pwer and cmpete successfully in this Internet-fcused new wrld. Web buyers spent $1 millin n htel reservatins in April f this year alne. And yet, less than 0% f htels ffer nline reservatins n their websites and less than 1% ffer reservatins fr grups, special accunts, crprate preferred rates, cnventin husing. Accrding t Frrester Research, nline htel sales are expected t grw t $.7 billin in 00. Jupiter Cmmunicatins frecasts that nline travel bkings will tp $0 billin in 001 and are expected t grw ten-fld ver the next five years. Many sphisticated cnsumers are already shying away frm htels nt current with the Internet times. Hteliers can level the playing field by embracing new web-enabling technlgies. A best first step is t develp yur ebusiness strategy. Yu t can start leveling the playing field. Fr questins r cmments, please write t Max Starkv at Evaluate yur website! HeBS

3 ur website D yu have: Htel descriptin Rm descriptin Yes N Images f htel and rms List f amenities Map f surrunding and lcatin Descriptin f entertainment and restaurants in vicinity Dyu prmte yur website? Is yur website fund n all majr search engines? Is yur website featured in the lcal prtals and directries? D yu feature yur website n fliers, leaflets, and brchures? D yu refer t yur website n the htel autmated phne system? Online Bkings D yu ffer reservatins (respnse within -8 hurs)? D yu ffer a /7 real-time bking engine n yur website? If yu have a /7 bking engine, des it ffer bkings fr: Rack rates 10 Special packages Prmtinal rates Crprate rates Special Accunts D yu pay travel agent cmmissins Can any f the fllwing services be bked in real time n yur website Theater shws Day Spas Sprting events Museums HeBS

4 Restaurants Sightseeing Turs Airprt transfers Limusines Car rental Airlines D yu have an nline stre? Htel Gifts T-shirts Flwers/Fruit Basket Memrabilia Hw t read yur scre: 7 pints and abve: Yu are utilizing yur website prperly and prbably generating increasing revenues. Nw it s time t enhance yur ebusiness Strategy and mve ahead with fine-tuning website functinality. t 7 pints: Yur website is being underutilized and yu are missing n significant pprtunities. Yu can generate additinal revenues with a few mdificatins. Belw pints: Yur future cmpetitiveness is at stake and yu are behind yur peers. Yu shuld embrace a mre aggressive ebusiness strategy and mve tward the web fr lw cst, highly efficient marketing and distributin. Max Starkv is Chief ebusiness Strategist, Travel and Hspitality, Hspitality ebusiness Strategies in New Yrk City. Mr. Starkv has an extensive ebusiness experience. He c-funded and served as CEO and Directr f tw ebusiness cmpanies: Whale Media, Inc. (BB travel technlgy infrastructure prvider t the hspitality, crprate travel and cnventin and meetings markets) and Travelbreak.cm, Inc. (BC nline travel marketplace). Under his leadership Whale Media wn the prestigius 001 Micrsft RAD Award fr its ASP technlgy fr the hspitality industry. Max has 17 years experience in pineering and building successful travel businesses and ebusiness strategies fr natinal and multinatinal leisure and hspitality cmpanies. He has written numerus reprts, industry research, and articles including: "If I were Barry Diller" (cmmentary n USA Netwrks' acquisitin f Expedia), "Independent Hteliers: ebusiness Levels the Playing Field"(c-authr with Jasn Price ), "If I were a Partner at Crsspint Ventures" (investment pprtunities in the travel industry), "If I were Henry R. Silverman" (cmmentary n the Cendant-Galile deal), "Twelve Inexpensive Ways t Prmte yur Website". "Independent Hteliers: Hw t Level the Playing Field Amidst Sftened Ecnmy"(c-authr with Jasn Price). Max has an MBA degree, Beta Gamma Sigma Hnrs, frm Frdham University in New Yrk and an MS in Ecnmics degree. Yu can cntact Max at HeBS

5 Jasn Price served as VP f Business Develpment at Whale Media, Inc. and Travelbreak.cm, Inc. in New Yrk City. He has participated in many research prjects in edistributin and eprcurement. Jasn has an MBA degree frm Frdham University in New Yrk HeBS

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