Interest-free months: the great ally of hotels in the Americas to boost the domestic market 

We hear and read it every day. In these times of COVID-19, the domestic market has become the great ally of hotels on their way to profitability.

At Roiback, driven by our experience and journey in the Caribbean and Central America, we have adapted our technology to help the hotelier get the most out of the domestic customer.

A few weeks ago we announced our multi-currency sales function, being the only booking engine in the market that offers this technology.

Today we present another exclusive and unique service among booking engines: Installment Payments and Interest-Free Months.

The short and medium term profitability goes through the domestic market.

Little by little, bookings are increasing, which holds the promise of business for the future.

Uncertainty about government permits and recommendations for travel, beyond our control, makes any planning by hotels a mere house of cards. The prospect of a vaccine helps to glimpse an improvement in the medium term, but even the most optimistic do not expect it until mid-2021.

What we have experienced during these months suggests that the only short-term vaccine that exists for hotels is the domestic customer. Not only because of the impossibility or inconvenience of international tourism to travel, but also because it is the most viable option for the domestic traveler.

The domestic customer is therefore the great asset; if this domestic customer arrives directly, he will be the most profitable and if, in addition, we manage to build loyalty, he will become the best seed to create more business and take advantage of the approach of new profiles to our establishment.

Efficiently reaching the national customer involves adapting our procedures and technology.

The key is to be competitive and operative in local currency and to be able to offer consumption options to which the domestic customer is accustomed.

We have to do the same or better than the OTAs have done.

For hotel direct sales strategies to be successful, it is not enough to maintain price parity or even a positive disparity with OTAs or traditional agencies. We must offer the same booking facilities and flexibility to the customer.

This obliges us to offer financing options like the OTAs do. Otherwise, we will no longer be competitive even with better or exclusive prices.

To compete with the OTAs for the domestic market, it is essential to offer the domestic client payment formulas financed through monthly installments, and the option of splitting their payments, even without passing on the financial costs involved.

All this, integrating the hotel’s web booking engine with gateways that link to the client’s banking institutions.

In other words, to compete with the OTAs for the domestic market and win the battle, it is essential to offer Interest-Free Months in the hotels’ direct sales channel.

The formula is simple: offer clear and exclusive advantages to the direct customer, display our rates in local currency and allow customers to use their own banks, facilitating the financing of their disbursements.

So far, no booking engine, with the exception of Roiback, offers Interest-Free Months without displacing the hotel from its fundamental role as merchant.

This is an important point: if the one charging the client were not the hotel itself, obviously, it would no longer be a direct sale, but an intermediated sale, a not very convenient formula.

As we have already mentioned, the hotel wants to build loyalty with its most profitable customer: the direct customer. In this case, the national direct customer, who takes on a new relevant and fundamental role.

Laura Oliver BeltránAugust 8, 2020