Blastness: positive trend in electronic bookings

“The electronic bookings trend remains positive even at the beginning of 2024,” says Andrea Delfini, CEO of Blastness, a company that provides hotel services and supplies technology and consultancy for around 1,000 accommodation facilities.  “The number of bookings through direct channels and OTAs is growing compared to previous months,” continues the manager.  “On average, in the first month and a half of 2024, our accommodation facilities have sold 19% more room nights compared to the same period in 2023, resulting in a revenue increase of +33% compared to the same period for the previous year.”

 

The trends

 

But what trends can we see?  “In 2023, analysing digital channels, we recorded an average growth value per individual hotel of +70% compared to the pre-pandemic period, January-December 2019,” responds Delfini.  “The most significant trend undoubtedly concerns the growth of the direct sales channel. For the period January-December 2023, on average, the direct sales channel of our hotel clients grew by +101% compared to +33% of bookings carried out by OTAs. For some destinations, the official website has grown so much as to claim the absolute sales channel award, surpassing even Booking.com. This is the case, for example, for the Amalfi Coast and the Tuscan countryside and coast. One of the components supporting the growth of the direct channel,” the CEO emphasises, “is web advertising campaigns on search engines and meta-search engines, including Google Travel’s fare comparison tool, which is the sales channel with the highest growth rates in recent years.”

 

Distribution

Regarding the breakdown of national and foreign traffic, the manager highlights how, to date, “18% of electronic bookings come from Italian users, tied for first place with bookings from Americans (18%), followed by British (9%), Germans (7%) and French (5%).  If we analyse the room nights booked only through the direct sales channel, bookings made by Americans even reach 35%, followed by Italy (15%), UK (7%), Germany (7%), Switzerland and France (5%).”

 

The growth of digital channels

 

Digitalisation, Delfini says, “not only favours disintermediation but also the application of revenue management strategies, resulting in an improvement in the margins of management companies.  In fact, the growth of the portion of rooms sold through online channels, as well as the evolution of traditional tour operators towards selling at flexible rates,” explains the CEO, “allow for optimisation and increase of the average selling rate, with a consequent increase in RevPAR, which represents the profitability of a hotel management company.”

On a panel of over 200 highly digitised client accommodation facilities, distributed throughout the territory and various categories, for which Blastness has total room revenue data from management software, “the average growth of RevPAR in 2023 compared to 2019 was +40%, with an average occupancy decrease of 4% and an average ADR growth of +48%.”

The impact of artificial intelligence

 

Even in the hotel sector, “there are several increasingly widespread systems based on artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms,” analyses Delfini. “They allow hotel managers to rely on tools to support tariff management, performance analysis, market monitoring and promotion on digital channels.   Blastness has developed a unique offering in the market that utilises AI in revenue management (RMS), market and dynamic competitive set analysis (market intelligence) and online marketing campaign management (BMS).  To give an idea of the power and effectiveness of these ‘robots’,” explains Delfini, “Blastness’ Bid Management System (BMS) analyses over 2 million search terms, manages over 10,000 ads in 7 languages for over 190 countries, applying over 60,000 changes per hour in ad auctions, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Thanks to continuous information exchange with the CRM and PMS, the BMS also calibrates marketing actions in real-time based on market trends and property performance.  No human team could perform such a large number of actions with such a high degree of precision.”

Nicoletta Somma

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