Channel Management Strategies

How can you make your channel management strategy work for you? How can you make a difference just by maximizing all your sales channels?

Here's some interesting things to know:

1. Do you know that Nike does NOT sell any of its items, especially shoes, in Wal-Mart?

2. Before Target closed many of its shops, the company's main strategy is to sell CDs that contain Target-only bonus tracks.

3. Best Buy has an exclusive promotion, where they sell concert DVDs that would not be available anywhere else until 90 days after.

The things mentioned above are great examples of smart channel management strategies in the retail world. These strategies can be applied to internet marketing as well.

The term Channel Management is defined as suppliers who cooperatively develops sales, product, promotion and production strategies that will optimize sales in a particular distribution channel. It is done in such a way that it benefit, uniquely, that particular channel. It is a win-win situation for both the supplier and retailer.

Tips on How to Improve Customer Interactions with Channel Management

A great strategy can help transform high technology manufacturers into retail players. This is done by launching and managing eCommerce and similar Web shops.

You should be able to develop a channel strategy that zeros in on sales, customer service and delivery for a communications and logistics company.

There should be enhanced touchpoints between government customer and the people it serves. It should be done by consolidating local contact centers while improving its websites as well as voice routing systems.

You should design and implement a distinctive and innovative multichannel service model, especially geared towards a bank's retail and small business customers.

Getting Optimal Channel Management Drives Profit and Business Growth

A great channel management strategy can deliver significant advantages:

  1. Minimize costs- now you don't have to go over budget. You cut back on traditional channels such as sales forces and retail outlets. With the right channel management you can secure significant savings by implementing self-service facilities while pointing customers to cost-effective channels.

  2. Build customer relations by serving your clients in the channels they prefer. This contributes to satisfaction and customer loyalty. When you balance 'high touch' with 'high tech' channels, your customer satisfaction will increase.

  3. Make more money by matching channels to customer requirements which helps deliver personal and rewarding experiences and products. This strategy encourages your customer's repeat purchases, cross-sales and referrals.

 

The Truth about Global Distribution System and Airlines

Do you know that airlines make great profits - profits for everyone except the airlines themselves? Even in the best season, an airline's margin is as slim as a boarding pass. In fact statistics show that airlines lose money more times.

When you look at the past four decades you will see that most of the world's airlines, taken together, sums up to a puny 0.1 percent. Other business models in the travel industry that depend on airlines - aircraft-makers, travel agents, airports, caterers and maintenance firms-have done very nicely and have become very profitable.

The best margins in the travel industry are made by global distribution systems (GDS). Global distribution systems are basically computerized-reservations services. GDS was made originally for the biggest airlines in the world to distribute their flight through various booking agencies. Today these agencies have become independent firms. Most flights whether they are done manually or through online use computerized-reservations services. The same goes for hotel booking and other travel reservations. Each booking made through a global distribution system get $12 per round trip, passing a few dollars of that to the travel agent. According to reports from Take Travel Forward, an airlines' lobby group, the world's carriers pay $7 billion in GDS fees a year - that more than the number expected net profits for this year.

What is the reason, really, for an airline's unprofitability? It's probably the result of a wave of competition-especially from new low-cost carriers-unleashed by the steady deregulation of aviation since the 1970s. Then there is also the move not paying direct commissions to travel agents and to set the reservation systems free to become (as the airlines see it) profit-gobbling monsters that devour their parents.

When the age of the internet arrived, the airlines thought the middlemen that came between their passengers were done for. They thought fliers would buy tickets using the airline's website rather than reservation systems free to become (as the airlines see it) profit-gobbling monsters that devour their parents.

However, losing direct commission from the airlines has resulted in travel agents being more attached to global distribution systems which not only slip them a share of fees but also provide their back-office computing. This resulted in online travel agencies signing up with a GDS which provides a reservations system and other computing power while handing them a commission (ultimately paid by the airlines) on every booking. Despite airlines' efforts to make travelers bypass agents and come to their own websites, less than half of flights are booked this way.

 

Hotel Booking Systems 101

Are you new to the travel industry and would want to learn anything and everything about travel? Here are some facts about online booking systems that you need to know.

The Basics:

The method of online hotel reservation is the most popular method for booking hotels now. A traveler books rooms on a computer via an online security system. This hotel booking system protects the user's privacy and financial information.

Before the internet, travelers would use the telephone, write the hotel or get a travel agency to book them a reservation. Now accommodations are reserved just through the internet and sever sites that compare prices of different hotels and serve as "online travel agents".

Online hotel reservations are also helpful for making last minute travel arrangements. Hotels usually drop a price of the room depending on the accommodation. There are several websites in the internet that specialize in finding out the best hotel deals. It's a win for both the travelers and the hotel owners.

Large hotel chains typically have direct connections to the airline national distribution systems (GDS) (Sabre, Galileo, Amadeus, and Worldspan). Typically, these in turn would present hotel information directly to the travel agents that are part of the system. A smaller, individual hotel chain usually would not be able to afford the cost of these direct connections. They in turn would go to small companies to provide the connection.

Large-Scale Travel Site

A large travel site basically replaced offline, traditional travel agencies. These websites would deliver the hotels' information and rates to thousands and thousands of online travel sites, which acts like your traditional travel agents. These people make money by receiving commission payments from the hotels for the bookings that occur through the website.

Smaller Individual Hotel Websites

The latest trend in hotel booking is the increasing number of hotels that host their own website and allow customers to access and book stays at their hotels directly. Most non-franchise hotel uses a hotel booking engine application to be used by the website. The application allows people to book in real time. This is advantageous to travellers because usually these smaller hotels don't require deposits.

The online booking engine applications are supported by Content management system (CMS).

The Database Systems

In order for smaller hotels to have room filling, companies use CMS. As many hotel reservation systems become similar as more hotels sign up to all available sites, the companies have to rely on negotiated rates hotels and hotel chains or trust in the influence of search engine rankings to draw in customers.

The services provided by online booking engines to both companies and the online consumers that use these services is that they provide just a single database system from which all reservation sources pull up room availability and rates.

 

Is Your Channel Manager The Best One You Could Get?

Travel technology experts said that the hotel industry has witnessed considerable growth in the headcount of technology supplier that take the title "channel manager" and provide channel management solutions.

According to the experts, channel management remains to be the top issue for hotels. As more and more online distribution channels has come out on-stream, and the number of bed banks and online travel agents continue to flourish, hotels have come face to face with the issue of where to put their limited bed stock. If a particular hotel decides to put their limited bed stock in a poorly performing channel or given to a mediocre channel manager, then it opens itself up to the risk of being left with empty bed or the need to lower down, drastically, its room rates. There are so many channels available in the internet and sometimes finding the best site can be a burden for hotels.

In studies made by the Hotel Reservations and Distribution Technology Review, it is said that the travel industry has sprung a new breed of tech suppliers and these start-up do a great job of automating the task of channel management.

These new players in the hotel technology scene are taking advantage of the latest connectivity techniques that enable hotels to control different channels with just a single interface.

Selling online through different distribution channels no longer have to be such as tiring, stressful and fraught exercise. Hotel, no matter what size, now have the option of picking the best channel management services offered out there. The hotels can check what the channels a particular service connects through. They can choose the service that will work best for the particular property they have, customization is the key in all these endeavours.

Having a great channel management now means that hotels and vacation homes no longer have to divide and sub-divide their occupancy through many channels. They can efficiently and effortlessly just provide a single set of availability to their channel management service of choice.

Another hot trend in the hotel industry is that hotels are now using Dynamic Packaging.

What is dynamic packaging? Well before, hotels are just beginning to realize that there are a lot of profits to be made when customers are offered dynamic packaging. Now, some of the online reservation systems give their hotels the option of offering additional service (spas, day trips, tours, tee time, buffet special) with room bookings.

Having a great channel management tool is a sure way to boost a hotel's business. It is definitely a big factor in helping an average hotelier to optimize all its multiple distribution platforms while controlling and maintaining rates and inventory integrity for the end consumers.

 

Top 3 Dive Sites to Check out in the Philippines

Anilao
Anilao is the Philippines most accessible and popular dive destination. It's the training ground for people taking up their open water courses and is an easy 2 hour drive from Manila.

If you're looking at getting certified this most likely will be your destination. Popular sites in Anilao are the Cathedral Rock which rises from the bottom at 120 ft to 45 ft. You can spot hundreds of damsel fishes and sergeant majors. There are many anemones and brave clownfish residents' hat hover to protect it.

Sombrero Island is filled with hard and soft corals. It's also a patch of dream filled with powdery white sand so you can read a book or toss back a bottle of beer after your dive. You can mingle with schools of red tooth triggerfish and thousands of orange anthers. Other sites are Bazura for muck diving enthusiasts. Twin Rocks offers three kinds of angelfishes, ribbon eels, frogfishes and much more.

There are many dive shops that line up the cove so ask around and take your pick.

Pandan Island, Mindoro Occidental/ APO Reef
The journey going to Pandan Island, a base for Apo Reef dives is an adventure on its own. You take a ferry or a plane to get to San Jose in Occidental Mindoro. The city itself is quaint and untouched by urbanization, filled with lush fields and endless awe-inspiring mountains. From the airport you take a 1 1/2 hour bus ride to the ferry port, and then a 30 minute boat ride will then take you to Pandan Island.

The concept of Pandan Island, owned by a French adventurer and his Filipina wife, is to offer a natural refuge to those who seek it. There are 16 bungalows, all made with natural materials, no aircons here. Electricity used here is produced by a solar system. The rooms have a front view of the beach.

There is a dive shop in Pandan Island which will then take you to Apo Reef for a day trip.

Apo Reef is a star dive site and a lot of fans claim it to be the best in Asia. It is 34 km long and has two lagoon systems. There is 400-500 different kind of coral reefs and marine life include sharks, manta and stingrays. On a good day when the water is calm and clear you can actually imagine walking on water.

To check accommodations and dive trip visit http://www.pandan.com/

Coron
Coron is like a patch of heaven with a hippie vibe. You can go there just for the islands and the beaches but with so much wealth underwater, forgoing diving is missing out on an epic experience. The wrecks in Coron Bay and those that litter the shores of Busanga are considered some of the finest wreck dive sites in the Philippines. These wrecks are in excellent condition and some wrecks are great for beginners while others are an impressive enough for sport divers. One dive, the Irako wreck can be challenging as divers sway past sunken kitchens and workrooms. In the Akitsushima wreck you can get past wheels, pipes and the ships deepest electrical wiring.

There are many dive shops in Coron and as a rule in life; you get what you pay for. Cheaper dive shops means that dive masters can be less experienced or equipment not up to standard. We recommend dive centre Rocksteady owned by a German couple who has lived in the Philippines for more than a decade now. http://www.rocksteadydivecenter.com/

Online Hotel Bookings for Easy Travel:
Here are some sites and hotels that we recommend you to do your online hotel booking to your vacation easier to plan.

Lonely Planet Anilao
http://hotels.lonelyplanet.com/philippines/anilao-r2584181/
- Listed in this website are several hotels where you can do online hotel booking.

Agoda
http://www.agoda.com/asia/philippines/palawan/attractions/hotels_near_coron_island.html
Agoda offers the best rates for hotels in Palawan.

Cebu Pacific
cebupacificair.com
Cebu Pacific not only offers budget flights they have affordable hotel promos in Mindoro, Palawan and Boracay

 

Healthy Snacks You Should Bring While Traveling

Traveling can be a gruelling process. You may not know it because you're having a fun holiday but all the flying causes' unseen stress to your body. That's why experts always recommend you bring vitamins, supplements and eat healthy when you travel even if you indulge in great food. When you're in the airport and flying it's important to be hydrated and to never get hungry. Eating healthy snacks can make a big difference in the way you spend your holiday. If you bring healthy snacks while travelling you'll have more energy, won't over eat a lot and you won't get sick.

Here are some snacks we recommend you to have while in transit:

1. Fresh fruits
Always try to bring fresh fruits on standby. Put an apple or an orange in a Ziploc bag. You can munch on this while waiting at the airport so that you don't spend money on overpriced airport food, plus you can save the calories for when you feast out at a nice local restaurant. What's great about veggies is that it's cheap to buy and you can just dump them on your bags. You don't have to worry about them getting crushed or bruised. If you're not a total fruit person you can bring a travel pack of honey or peanut butter and you can spread that across your apple. Some fruits we recommend are oranges, peaches, pears, plum, bananas, and papayas.

2. Dried fruit
Fresh fruits are the healthiest option but if you want an even more compact snack that won't make a mess buy dried fruits you can munch on while in transit. Most dried fruit is already prepared with honey and sugar and this can be a great alternative to buying unhealthy chocolate or chip snacks. Some dried fruits we recommend are apples, figs, cherries.

3. Nuts and seed
If you need to amp your protein requirements all you need is to go buy nut and seeds for snacks. It's healthier than getting your protein from burgers and it easier to pack. When you're bored and waiting for your connecting flight nut can fill your appetite till you get to your destination and splurge money and calories on the authentic local fare. If you travel a lot it's better to buy nuts in bulk than in small packets because it's cheaper for you in the long run.

4. Vegetables
If you're planning to eat a lot during your holiday may be you can atone for your gorging by snacking on vegetables while at the airport. You can bring in carrots or a salad and eat it at the airport. You can do this instead of eating fattening airplane food. This way you can save the calories for a delicious gourmet restaurant.

 

Budget Travel: Why it's Possible

There are a lot of articles on the internet that will tell you why you should travel and why you should do it now. However, the reality is not everyone can afford to travel because they don't have the budget. Some trips though are possible even with a limited amount of cash; all you need do is research well, plan ahead and follow our budget travel tips. Here's why it's possible to travel even if you're cash-strapped.

1. You can find a cheap place
The internet is one of the greatest tools a frugal traveller can use for saving money and finding good deals. The best way to find a cheap place is to do research. Usually, budget accommodations are hostels, hostelworld.com has the best list and you can check out rates and even reviews. The only problem with Hostel world is that they require a 10 percent down payment to lock in the reservation. If you want to have a unique experience you can rent a house or a room at Airbnb.com. There's booking.com for people who want to find the best hotel deals and some of the rooms you can reserve without having to give some down payment. Many hotels have flash deal sales in booking sites like Agoda.com, you can also find good deals in sites such as www.lastminute.com.

2. Pack your bags efficiently
Take time to pack your bags properly because it will not only make your trip more organized it can save you a lot of money. The current trend in the airline industry is that airlines are charging you for every single thing from food to baggage allowance. There are many flight sales but it comes with an airline baggage caveat. So in order for you to save on baggage fees or getting charged extra make sure that your bags are lightweight or if you can small enough that you can hand carry it.

3. Join rewards club
Collecting miles are a way for companies to get your loyalty and patronage. As a return these companies really give away freebies and even give you upgrades. So make sure you study the nest miles deals and participate.

4. Buy travel size toiletries
Buying tiny versions of your toiletries at home will help you save space and will also allow you to fly within the regulations of most strict airlines.

5. Ask for a tourist discount or check if they have rebates
For countries like Singapore or Malaysia, they encourage people to shop by offering tax rebates. So make sure you're getting the best deal and getting the rebates. It won't be an option for each city you visit but at least now you're aware that there's such a thing a tourist discount.

 

How to Pay Less for Your Hotel Booking

In the age of the Internet, you save a lot of money and get the best hotel deals if you take time and research a lot. The hotel industry is getting more competitive and aggressive in its marketing ploys and it's a win situation for customers who not only get the best deals but them also get the best service. If you're planning a trip any time soon and about to secure a hotel booking here are some tips for you to consider getting the best deal possible.

1. Loyalty is still key
If you're a business travel or a constant holiday seeker, sometimes it pays off if you just stick to one hotel brand. When hotels know you're a repeat customer they are willing to give you better offer and better deals. So try to research hotel chains and the hotels they have in the city you're heading to. Some travellers are able to borrow cars, get free concerts just because they are loyal customers.

2. Sign up for membership
There are great hotel membership programs. You can get free rooms and large discounts for paying a price. If you find yourself on the road often and you're happy to patronize one particular hotel brand then it's definitely worth it to get that membership.

3. Use TheSuitest to check how much your hotel room will cost
http://thesuitest.com/
This is actually a new website and it uses logarithms to predict the average cost of your hotel room rate. It can predict as far as six months. Using the site will enable you to take a guess on the best hotel deal or when hotels will offer their cheapest rate.

4. Track hotel rate
http://www.tingo.com/
There's a hotel booking online service called Tingo which lets you track if the room price of a hotel has dropped. If you're set at staying in a particular hotel but you think you can wait for that hotel to drop room rates, Tingo is a great service that tracks the room price for you.

5. Airfare and room rates
Sometimes there's a good deal from your airline so always check if your airline has a flight bundled with a room and if it's cheaper.

6. Earn Miles
Choose a credit card that will allow you to earn miles. Miles don't necessarily have to be used for free flights; you can get hotel rooms and upgrades by using miles.

7. Gamble with instant booking http://www.hoteltonight.com/ HotelTonight is a great site for spontaneous travellers. If you have no particular plans and can stay anywhere you can check HotelTonight and get a hotel for 50 percent cheaper.