Social Media as a distribution channel

The Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne and RateTiger researched the distribution for hospitality.

How Distribution Channels has evolved over the years

GDS – Global Distribution System
OTA – Online Travel Agents
CRS – Central Reservation Systems

In the past a Central Reservation System was the preferred option for booking. Customers felt more secure about booking after talking to a real person that would help then to make an educated decision.

Now, as we can see in the graphic above, OTAs are growing in importance in the Marketing Mix for hoteliers. It is no longer possible ignore the OTAs. Doing so, your hotel’s revenue would be compromised. Distribution channel managers know that in order to drive more bookings they must be present in as many OTAs as possible, well represented with quality visuals.

The research highlights some indicators to Hotel Managers;

  • Revenue & Occupancy
  • Control cost of distribution/e-business
  • Increased exposure

Social Media as a Distribution Channel

Many industries developed Social Media into a Distribution Channel. Going beyond the engagement and getting more than good reviews from the social platforms.

Although hotels are using social media to engage with their guests, the industry is still behind with regards to making the most of social interactions. A conservative marketing vision and limited understanding of social tools are keeping hoteliers from maximizing the results of their social media efforts.

Hoteliers answered to questions such as:

What are some of the future challenges for Hotels?

This last one catches our attention. To have an employee dedicated to manage online channels can be expensive and not always effective. IcePortal help hotels to distribute their visuals to thousands of websites, including OTAs such as Expedia, Orbitz and Decolar. For a very low investment it is possible to be distributed and up to date on OTA’s.


Based on the study, social media and new media will impact the distribution mix for hotels in the future. For the hotel industry, to be present in the social media is already a necessity today, and will be crucial in the near future.

Each industry has its own particularities. What works for the beauty industry for example will not necessarily work for hotels. Successful Social Media Campaigns are those that engage customers and somehow inspire then to talk about a brand (in a positive way obviously). To use Social Media as a distribution channel, hotels need first be present in the traditional channels, then the first step is build a consistent visual identity through the online environment, using Facebook apps, interactive maps, etc.

The opportunities are in knowing the traveler and promoting your hotel with quality content (especially visuals).

Visit me at Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin.

To know more about how IcePortal can help your hotel, visit our home.

By Portál, the Penguin.