WIHP ROI first quarter 2010



First quarter 2010 is a serious recovery for the Paris’ hotels. We’re back to 2008 ranges in ADR and more importantly we are way over 2008 in turnover.

There are several factors that are making that change, for one, at WIHP we overhauled our hotel marketing strategies. In 2009 at WIHP we launched a series of new products such as:
Social Media marketing, new pay-per-click systems that helped all hotels get qualified visits cheaper and a much more thorough SEO team that not only thinks in terms of “site placement and visits” but who think in turn-over and ADR. We also launched print advertising which is getting even more response and works great. With that we designed a new generation of sites that convert much more than anything we have ever done before. The result is great.

Doing the same old is just not going to work any more. It takes a much broader concept and a full understanding of hotel needs to deliver bookings through online marketing campaigns. And that includes ensuring a hotel is properly located on various OTAs, helping our customers configure their OTAs and distribution channels and more.

At WIHP our teams come from the hotel industry, have been hotel directors and managers and that is what makes us different. Combining all aspects of online marketing under one roof gives us the strength needed to really assist our customers to boost their revenues.

The ROI for our customer in the first quarter 2010 was 1940%, April 2010 moved up further with 2217% and it’s getting better every month.

We’re very happy about this as it’s a win-win for our customers and us. They are investing more in their online marketing and it’s returning even more results.

French hotels sue Expedia

The french hotel’s union Synhorcat filed a suit against Expedia, Hotels.com and Tripadvisor on the 15th April. The main points of the suit are:

1. When clicking on a hotel’s photo in Tripadvisor the browser is immediately directed to Expedia whether the hotel has signed with Expedia or not. The hoteliers argue that it should link directly to the official website of the hotel.

2. Expedia sometimes promotes wild discounts such as 75% off without agreement from the hoteliers. And if there is no availability on a hotel. Expedia will still promote the hotel but direct the browser to another hotel thus using the hotel’s popularity to sell other properties.

3. Hotels.com seemingly dissuades users to book directly at the hotel’s website.

These are some of the main points I could understand from the article (see the original article in french here: http://www.zdnet.fr/actualites/internet/0,39020774,39750958,00.htm).

If this case will win or not is uncertain however a few points are clear. Expedia’s model of taking 25% of a hotel’s revenues isn’t appreciated much longer and despite their size, more and more hoteliers aren’t willing to give that type of money to a third party.

Secondly, Tripadvisor will need to open up and become a fully fledged social media. The fact that it is owned by Expedia isn’t going to do Expedia a favour anymore as it may just soon be faced with an anti-trust problem. It is only logical that Tripadvisor favours hotel’s official website. There was a step in that direction this year with the sale to hoteliers of a link to the official website.

Thirdly and most impotantly, websites like Expedia, Booking.com and others all the third party booking systems have a limited future unless they really start to help hoteliers. At the end of the day all they are doing it offer information to the internet users, but charging a huge price for it. Shouldn’t the information be free? Google seems to be making an entry into the field with rates noted on the Google Maps.

Expedia already makes no money on flight tickets… so their only real solution now is going to be to work out a way to give some real added value to hoteliers.

When I built WIHP there was one thing that I knew I had to do from day one and that was HELP hotel’s increase their profits. It has worked wonders so far making us the incontestable leaders in the Paris market. Let’s see how this pans out.

Cracking the WIHP with MICE

The MICE Report, a magazine for the MICE industry (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) has an article about WIHP that Cliff James wrote. I thought you may find it interesting and it gives a great overview on what we do and how we do it.

Vincent Ramelli, interview - The MICE Report

Vincent Ramelli, interview - The MICE Report

Cracking the WIHP

With independent hotels currently being charged an average 20% commission on reservations made through online booking agencies, hoteliers are seeking new ways to recoup their revenue. A commission-free solution is now at hand, as the marketing specialist company WIHP provides comprehensive strategies to help hotels increase their direct income. Cliff James talks to WIHP’s General Manager, Vincent Ramelli, about a commission-free future for hoteliers.
Vincent Ramelli understands the nuances of the hotel industry. As the owner of two successful boutique hotels, he has firsthand knowledge of the vagaries of the hospitality trade – in particular, the often exorbitant fees charged by online travel agencies for internet bookings.
However, the route he took to becoming an hotelier included substantial careers in marketing and web promotion. In retrospect, it seems inevitable that Vincent’s areas of expertise would coalesce in the 2009 launch of WIHP (World Independent Hotel Promotion) – a groundbreaking marketing organisation that enhances revenues for hotels with no extra cost to hotel guests.
“Back in the 1990s, I worked for a telecom company and saw how the internet was going to be the future sales channel for travel,” he explains. “I co-founded a company called 1001webpromotions and we began doing websites. With my own hotels, I quickly discovered the importance of having a great online marketing strategy and so I created WIHP to combine hotel management and hotel marketing into one structure that could offer a complete array of services to hotels.”
More than proposing a mere marketing plan, WIHP takes a holistic approach in analysing all aspects of a hotel’s profile and uses pioneering techniques to scrutinize a huge range of information. Vincent explains that their first step when working with a hotel is to gather feedback from hotel guests on websites such as Tripadvisor. “We’ll see what they like and dislike, and this gives us an idea of where the added value is for a hotel and what needs to be remedied. Sometimes hotel owners have a fixed idea of how to promote their hotel. But while the hotel image must be respected, the marketing strategy must be aimed at the potential customers, not the owners.”
This radical approach to devising an effective marketing strategy is augmented by WIHP’s programme of hotel staff training workshops, bespoke website design, and the launch in 2009 of a commission-free online distribution channel, Lookotel.com, which drives internet traffic and direct sales to the hotel’s own website – thereby bypassing the excessive charges of the OTAs.
Having refined a proprietary analytics system that constantly assesses the efficiency of a hotel’s website, the marketing specialists at WIHP know when a website is not producing sales and will work on the issue until a solution is identified.
“What we offer isn’t a website; it’s bookings,” says Vincent, drawing upon his substantial experience in web promotion. “If there are no results, we review our actions and adjust them until they work – and that’s the way with all our products. Having been on the receiving side, we know what hotels need.
“A site is more attractive with special offers and packages. The site also has to be made attractive by the use of real photos and video. Our objective is the same as the hotelier: ensuring the guest arrives directly on the hotel’s website and reserves directly with the hotel.”
As a hotel owner himself, Vincent’s own experiences have informed the quality of service provided by WIHP. He reveals that the company’s vision is to assist other hoteliers market their properties and take their share of the pie in direct bookings, whether that be through website enhancement, search engine optimization, payper-click advertising, offline marketing or through the lookotel.com distribution channel.
Based upon the company’s impressive growth within its first year, WIHP’s specialist approach is proving immensely popular, with more than 350 independent boutique and luxury hotels in various countries already benefiting from the service. In Paris alone, WIHP makes more than 15,000 commission-free bookings for celebrated venues such as Hotel de l’Abbaye, Hotel Ares Eiffel and The Five Hotel.
Vincent Ramelli maintains that hotels are opting for this specialist marketing service because it bears greater return on investment than the alternative. “WIHP provides a bespoke website for around €9000, depending on the options that the hotelier wants to add,” he explains. “Membership of lookotel.com starts at €50 a month, and our marketing management and social marketing campaigns begin at €1500 per month.
“On the other hand, the average commission for regular OTAs is 20% of the revenue brought to the hotel – a huge dent in the monthly budget. We aren’t out of the recession yet so saving 20% on commissions is a big saving. I have two hotels myself, so I know the difference this can make in a budget.”