HeBS Digital Best Practice Articles

Recognized by HOTELS Magazine Successful eMarketing Blog

I Told You So: How the Flash Sale Bubble Popped

Back in early 2011, in an interview article "Another look at flash sales sites," for HOTELS Magazine's successful eMarketing Blog, I argued social buying and flash sales sites such as Groupon Getaways with Expedia, Living Social, SniqueAway.com, BloomSpot, etc. were a recessionary phenomenon, and not a new, emerging distribution channel that was here to stay.

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Can TripAdvisor Transform Itself From an Industry Foe to an Industry Friend?

Since its inception back in February 2000, TripAdvisor has become the world's largest travel site with over 50 million users, including 16 million mobile users. There is no doubt TripAdvisor was one of the pioneers of user-generated content. The website re-invented customer reviews in the hospitality space and inserted itself in the "last mile" of traveler's hotel stay planning and booking process. Obviously, a force to be reckoned with.

By Max Starkov

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Are the New “Anti-OTA” Sites Ready to Take the Spotlight?

What would it take for the new “anti-OTA” players like RoomKey.com to become viable industry players? There are three main challenges new travel consumer sites have to overcome in order to secure sustainability and become real players in the industry.

By Max Starkov

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The Pitfalls of Last-Minute Sales in Hospitality

Last-minute sales in hospitality at lower discounted rates are not sustainable in hospitality as this approach jeopardizes all other distribution channels (hotel mobile site, hotel traditional website, GDS, phone reservations, even OTA distribution).

By Max Starkov

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The Google Hotel Finder: A Game Changing Event, a “Greed is Good” Defining Moment, or a Natural Move to Serve Better Search Results?

The Google Hotel Finder is a logical extension to the Google’s Hotel Price Ads cost-per-click (CPC) advertising program, introduced in Q3 2010. Therefore the introduction of Google Hotel Finder is not a “revolutionary” and “game-changing” event as some industry commentators claim. 

By Max Starkov

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The OTA Billboard Effect or the Lazy Man’s Approach to Hotel Distribution

Hoteliers need to shift away from the OTA distribution, also known as hoteliers’ lazy man’s approach, and invest in a robust direct online channel strategy accompanied by adequate marketing funds in order to take advantage of the Internet channel. 

By Max Starkov

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It's Official: The Dumbest Hotel Distribution Idea!

Back in 2010, in the height of the Flash Sales craze when HeBS Digital believed the industry had reached the very bottom of the “pseudo-innovative distribution idea pit,” another even more damaging and far dumber distribution idea began to take hold: an auction site called Off & Away.

By Max Starkov

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Can Hoteliers Take Back the Initiative from the Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)?

Since 2008, OTAs have increased their market share in hotel distribution by nearly 45%. This is a serious setback for the hospitality industry. In the midst of improving economic climate and rising travel demand, can hoteliers reverse this negative trend and take back control of the online distribution channel?

By Max Starkov

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Another Look at Flash Sales Sites

Max Starkov and Adam Kirby debate as to whether Flash Sales should play a role in hotel distribution. 

By Max Starkov and Adam Kirby

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End of the OTA merchant model – this time for real

Over the next five years the OTA Merchant Model as we know it will disappear. It will be transformed into a “Commission Override Model” where OTA commissions will be tied to booking volumes in the form of commission overrides above the standard travel agency commission that exists at the time.

By Max Starkov

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The Very Bad News in the Online Distribution Channel in Hospitality

Hoteliers can drastically reduce reliance on the OTA channel by embracing the Direct Online Channel and carefully employing ROI-centric initiatives including website redesign, website optimization and SEO, SEM, email marketing, online media and sponsorships, mobile marketing and proven social media initiatives. 

By Max Starkov

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The vanity website – the only incremental revenue driver

The property website is the backbone of the hotel multi-channel marketing mix and the main “engagement tool” with today’s hyper-interactive travel consumer. Today’s hotel website has become the main revenue driver that carries the burden and responsibility of generating the bulk of bookings for the property. 

By Max Starkov

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Establish metrics, achievable goals for successful emarketing

In this uncertain economic environment, focusing on marketing initiatives with proven ROIs is the hotelier's most prudent marketing strategy. The Internet is by far the largest and most important marketing and distribution channel in hospitality. 

By Max Starkov

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