- Sakshi Ragini
Surviving COVID-19 as an OTA: Supplier Relationship Management is the key
Updated: Feb 5, 2021
An online travel agency is as good as its supplier relations. In this competitive era, the only thing people deem essential is trust. As a result, there is an increased emphasis on forming long-lasting business relationships. The key to this is supplier relationship management.
Through Supplier relationship management(SRM), you can garner well-performing hotels. Additionally, those hotels can improve their supplier relations too. These few steps will give a headstart to your post-COVID-19 revival strategy.
Suppliers are the soul of the hotel industry
Supplier relationship management is the foundation of a good OTA business. To make a comeback after this COVID-19 pandemic, you should invest in supplier relationship management. An essential aspect of understanding this is recognizing the role of hotel suppliers who comprise a considerable portion of the OTA industry.
Your OTA business depends on how excellent is the service that your enlisted hotels provide. Similarly, those enlisted hotels depend on their suppliers for their service. This is a big cycle of multi-tier supplier relationship management.
Also Read: 25 Free Tools For Startups to Help Through COVID-19
Who are these suppliers?
Your supplier are hotels that enlist their rooms on your OTA. It can be a local or branded hotel. Furthermore, those hotels have suppliers too. Their suppliers provide them with a wide variety of things, such as bed sheets, food supplies, cleaning supplies, or even decorations.
During this pandemic, many hotel have closed down because of a lack of supplies. Therefore, OTAs are not garnering enough business these days.
We understand from this how crucial it is to establish a reliable relationship with hotels and how they should do likewise. So if we look at this, the hotels need to improve the quality.
Key to improving discovery: Supplier relationship management
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted many drawbacks of the current hospitality system. Issues like hygiene will be under more in-depth scrutiny in the revival phase. That is why OTAs looking forward to making a comeback need to focus on many disciplines. Together, these disciplines will improve the discovery rate of your listed hotels, which is the prime goal.
factors of supplier relationship management
1. Maintain a worm’s eye view of your suppliers and their suppliers
Managing and selecting suppliers for your OTAs and hotels sounds like an easy job. But the roots run deeper than you perceive. Here, a bird’s eye view isn’t enough to make the most of your suppliers. You need to personally understand and know the pros and cons of each supplier at each tier. Here, technology comes into play to achieve responsive supplier relationship management.
A qualitative and quantitative supplier analysis is the best option here. There are many supplier management systems for this purpose. With the help of these tools, you can look at the whole supplier landscape. With insights into each supplier, you can identify risks and opportunities quickly. Hence, your decision-making improves. It is imperative that you do this and ask the listed hotels to do the same.
Also Read: OTAs Post COVID-19: Data Analytics is the Savior
2. Prediction analysis to improve preparedness
From now on, preparedness should be an essential aspect of an OTAs revival strategy. You will have to predict the risk-prone areas for your OTA. For example, a particular listed hotel isn’t performing well. In this case, you seek other hotels in the same area that are performing well.
To summarise this, keep your options open. Now and then, look out for hotels in various areas of a particular city. This upgrade will give your users multiple options to choose from. Furthermore, if a particular hotel shuts down, you will not lose business completely from that city.
Motivating your listed hotels to seek local, as well as branded vendors, can improve their preparedness. In case, the branded outlet isn’t getting supplies from their sources, and the local vendors might save the day and vice-versa. At this point, an efficient and active supplier relationship management system saves the day.
3. Issue ratings and incentives to improve supplier relationship management
A good hotel focus on every aspect of its hospitality. From hygiene to services like wifi, food, and even room service quality prove to be crucial to your appeal.
So the key is to bring healthy competition between your listed hotels and also incentivize their performance. One way to have them compete is by having visitors rate the various services that a particular hotel gives. Visitors can select as per their priority while discovering your hotels. But more importantly, your hoteliers will start to pool in more effort to improve their service.
Once your hoteliers start to garner more revenue, incentivize them with rewards. These incentives will give them something to look forward to and keep motivation high.
4. Improve the buying facility for your hotels
In many cases, the hotels you list represent your brand. That is why the message you give out by the slightest of changes in your hotels is essential. For example, the color red in OYO rooms is symbolic of them.
Symbolic Purchases for brands
As a result, a centralized system of buying these brand representative articles will give positive outcomes. Your OTA can contact a few commonly available but suitable vendors to manufacture a few symbolic articles. Your hotels can buy other non-symbolic articles from local vendors. This type is an example of multi-tier supplier relationship management.
The next step will be the management of these purchases. In each hotel, deploy a local agent of your OTA to keep track of these purchases. They can check both types, those symbolic of your brand and the ones purchased by your hoteliers. Then have them feed it into a centrally analyzed system to keep track of invoices too. As a further step, you will also learn the areas in which your hoteliers can optimize their purchases.
5. Know the ins and outs of your hoteliers with regular surveys
The outstanding value for excellent performance is accountability. Many OTAs recruit or book rooms in hotels and then leave them on their own. This point is one of the don’ts of supplier relationship management as it hurts their revenue. After COVID-19, only a hotelier who is aware and improves on his conditions will thrive.
The goal of the revival plan should include methods to inculcate accountability. One way to do this is to conduct periodic surveys of the hotels listed on your OTA. Also, keep some space for surprise checks. These measures will help you understand the actual condition of these hotels.
Then comes the part where you negotiate terms of improvement with the hoteliers. This way, you can focus on the general upkeep of your hotels, impacting your business positively.
6. Fostering collaborations is crucial to supplier relationship management
Many hotels give small utilitarian gifts to their visitors. Try to foster such collaborations with well-known brands to increase the value of your service. These collaborators become a valuable part of your supplier relationship management programs. These takeaways last for some time with your visitors. That is why it also acts as a marketing supplement.
Your collaboration partners will also give you the necessary marketing through various methods. This partnership will be a win-win situation for both of you.
7. Include new appealing services
Many visitors prefer hotels that also provide food. So, to grow, you can think about installing such new facilities for your visitors. Other examples are a small garden space or a photo booth. These increase the appeal of your hoteliers.
COVID-19 brings a hidden opportunity for OTAs who are looking forward to reviving their business. You can achieve this by taking the right steps to accommodate the changing buyer preferences.
At Datahut, we work with data of all varieties. You will be surprised to know the potential random-looking datasets hold. With the right analysis, we can help you in getting your OTA business on track. We can tell you areas that require improvement and give you competitive analysis on the same. Overall, we will give you the bible to supplier relationship management. To experience the might of data, do contact Datahut!