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Reviving Sri Lanka Tourism: Negete and STAAH help SME hotels grow their online business


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Negete Ltd. and STAAH Ltd., two partners in technology committed to growing the Sri Lankan hospitality industry, hosted a group of hoteliers at an event titled ‘Succeeding in Turbulent Times’ on 6 August at the Marino Beach Hotel. 

The event was designed around small and medium hotels, giving them a necessary morale boost in order to recover from the large drop in revenue after the recent catastrophe the industry experienced and encouraging them to adopt technology in growing their businesses.

Negete and STAAH are no strangers to hospitality online revenue management. STAAH’s Instant Channel Manager and ConvertDirect Booking Engine products are the go-to solution and are used in over 8,000 properties globally and over 350 properties in Sri Lanka, making them number one.

Negete CEO Shifani Mahroof inaugurated the event saying, “We’re all here today because Sri Lankan tourism is our passion. Hospitality is synonymous with us Sri Lankans, it’s in our blood. We need to drive Sri Lankan tourism forward as a collective goal and we all need to work together to make this happen.”

Keynote speaker Shanta Yapa, Chief Innovation Officer of Avonet Technologies and ICT industry expert, spoke about fundamental challenges affecting Sri Lankan tourism business growth (and other businesses alike) and how these challenges can be overcome. He stated that although the tragic events of Easter Sunday largely contributed to a decline in local businesses, some challenges are long standing. He explained in great detail that there’s a need for more innovation, collaboration (as opposed to competition), value addition, radical new thinking (from the bottom up) and most importantly, businesses need to adopt technology to get ahead.

Mario Stubbs, Founder/CEO of Genesis Global Consulting Group and previously Expedia’s Country Manager, spoke on ‘Driving Sales through Online Platforms’. He stated that online travel is growing exponentially and a majority of travellers use the internet in any, if not all, aspects of planning travel be it price comparison, reviews, etc.

Mario shared that the global travel market of 2018 was $ 1.6 trillion of which 44% is online and growing. 92% of travellers are more likely to book a property with a detailed description and photos. Mario went on to share pricing and marketing strategies to increase traveller interest with a particular focus on digital marketing. 

Isuru Hegodaarachchi and Udeshika Galmangoda of Booking.com in Sri Lanka stated that the number of cancellations has normalised since April and shared strategies that could be used to improve tourist traffic further - flexible cancellation policies, removal of prepayment and minimum night restrictions and ensuring the right information about the property is posted online. 

Existing STAAH users, Celsus Lambert of Marino Beach Hotel, Chathura Goonathillaka of Jetwing Hotels and Fazal Hameed of Deco on 44, also shared their experience of recovery, strategies and how the STAAH technology supported the recovery path.

Finally, STAAH Business Development Manager Rajesh Ghanshani offered a tempting three-month complimentary, no commitment use of the STAAH Instant Channel Manager solution for new sign ups to encourage the use of technology in growing online revenue. 


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