Ten years ago the role of the revenue manager in a hotel consisted of compiling historical booking data into complex excel spreadsheets and analyzing this data to predict market demand and dynamically price accordingly.
The role and value to the property of a revenue manager has changed significantly since then. With information available to a hotel customer as quickly as you can say Google, revenue managers now have to take into account groups, channels, market segments, room types, social reviews, weather and competition. This, along with the traditional historical booking data to strategically price their inventory on a daily or hourly basis.
The goal of the revenue manager has always been the same. Find the right customer, through right channel at the right price at the right time.
The introduction of automated, algorithmic revenue management software is being embraced by the independent market now. The competitive edge the brands once had in dynamic pricing is being mitigated by these programs.
The new age revenue manager can now focus on strategy as opposed to technical analysis and tactics. By compiling data in real time, these systems allow revenue managers to see trends much further out and faster so they can yield a significantly higher portion of the booking window.
Two way integration with the PMS is imperative to limit tedious manual uploading between systems. When implementing automated revenue management technology, it is important that they integrate with your current PMS solution.
RoomKeyPMS currently offers two way integration to i-Rates, PriceMatch and very soon Duetto, with all technologies offering various advantages depending on your hotel needs.
The Department of Labor’s proposed revisions to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime exemptions will impact the American workplace—and especially employers in the hospitality industry (namely hotels and restaurants)—as much as any legal development in the past decade.
Exempt job classifications will need to be reassessed and, in many cases, changed. But to view this as merely the moment to endure a major legal audit might be to overlook a broader opportunity.
Read the rest of the article here.
Like it or not – the hospitality industry is looking to technology in hopes of improving the guest experience and therefore encouraging a stronger bottom line. There are many schools of thought on this subject from those who say “you can’t replace that personal touch with technology”, to those who are looking to replace staff with robots.
Those are extremes, and no matter which way you are leaning, it is important to know what is available to you as a hotelier and to understand what the implications are of embracing or ignoring the trends.
There have been a lot of studies done to evaluate expectations by today’s traveler. Some are obvious – wireless internet access, electronic door locks and in room entertainment to name a few. So how do you as a hotelier measure “what is enough”? It is important to know what technologies are available, and just what the impact on the guest experience might be. Keeping informed of what the marketplace and the competition is doing – are good places to start in this evaluation.
Alternatively, you can find surveys that will give you an idea of the expectation of travelers. However, keep in mind these surveys are only samplings, and don’t measure the overall market. Software advice recently released the results of their survey. To view the results – click this link.
The best rule of thumb would be to spend some time measuring your specific market. Are your guests mostly transient or business travelers. Business travelers might have higher expectations as far as technological “tools” available might be concerned. Mobile check in, online room service, online concierge might be tools that would appeal to a guest who has had a long day and just wants to disappear into their room at the end.
From the perspective of return on your investment in technology services, it is understood that the more times you “touch” a guest, the more opportunity you have to improve the experience. Through a number of the technology tools available on the market today, you have the ability to continually connect with the guest and read the response to insure that it continues to be positive.
However, all of that being said don’t forget that the most valuable tool you have is the spirit of your property. Staff that are happy, that smile and greet each guests warmly will never let you down. It has also been said that the more technology you employ to insure your guest’s comfort – the higher their expectation. It is always important to stay abreast of new and evolving technologies to be better equipped to meet the needs and demands of today’s more sophisticated guest. It is all up to you!
Marketing for your hotel is no easy task. A hotel has endless marketing options. Many properties have already incorporated automated marketing for their property. If your property hasn’t already, then now is the time. Automated marketing will deliver a significant ROI for your property.
Traditionally, management could hire a marketing professional to their team, or assign the marketing tasks to a marketing agency. They can also assign the GM or sales manager to do the marketing duties. All of these options are very expensive and time consuming.
We live in a world of social selling, and prospective hotel guests demand marketing engagement. If a property does not consistently engage with their prospects or repeat guests, they run the risk of losing market share very quickly. Efficiently communicating with guests via email, survey, newsletters etc. will only help generate more business and improve the quality of customer service. Efficiency is a massive characteristic for any marketing strategy.
Hotel management should seek out more ways to be cost effective with marketing dollars. Time management is another factor that must be taken into consideration. There are hotel-oriented marketing solutions that allow team members to spend their time wisely, while the hotel still manages to display a consistent brand message.
Whether your property is 30 rooms or 300, incorporating a hotel automated marketing solution can generate an ROI. Employees will have more time to focus on their day to day tasks. Plus, the property won’t have a need to hire a specific marketing employee.
RoomKeyPMS is proud to work with GuestFolio. Check out their site for more info on hotel marketing automation.
Put Yourself Into The Shoes Of Your Shopper
When is the last time you updated the content on your brands website? Your OTA’s? When is the last time you put yourself in the shoes of the people booking your hotel? In today’s ever-evolving online landscape, many factors can impact the buying behavior of potential future guests. Spending time to evaluate your image on the web is crucial, and sometimes it can be as easy as going back to basics.
Your Own Brand Website
The ultimate goal for all properties is to drive as much traffic to their own website. But what happens when someone comes your page? There are many questions to ask yourself regarding the appearance of your website:
-Is the layout intuitive and easy to navigate? Don’t over complicate things, nor put too much clutter
-Does it appeal to your target markets?
-Does it tie into your brands vision and messaging?
-Do the colours make sense?
-Can I easily book a reservation?
-Do I use a lot of high res, quality photos? Do the pictures paint a realistic representation of the property?
-If I have a restaurant, do I have the ability to make reservations for the restaurant?
-Is my website mobile responsive? What does my property look like on an iPad, iPhone, Android, or other devices?
-Are you actively monitoring traffic and conversion?
-Is the information accurate and up to date? Are there any grammatical errors?
-What is your competition doing on their website?
Much of the above may seem like common sense, but many websites are still very outdated. Be smart with your selection of photos. Guests don’t care that you have a couch in the lobby. They want to see the rooms, the amenities, the restaurant and more. Remember, your goal is to entice them to book. Make it easy for them. Don’t bury the “book now” button so that they cannot find it.
OTA’s and Other Sites
The online travel agencies spend a great deal of time and money on monitoring consumers buying decisions. They will invest a lot of time into product testing via rapid experimentation. Sometimes it can be as simple as changing the colour of an icon, or perhaps moving a button from left to right. They always measure this back against traffic and conversion to see how consumers reacted for those changes.
Below are some questions to ask when looking for your own property on other channels:
-Compare the information across all channels, is it accurate?
-Is what is written as the description of the property aligned to your own website? Are they mentioning true selling features? Is the information accurate?
-Google your property name. Are any of the results surprising?
-Ask your market manager about rapid experimentation, and what the OTA has been doing to get the consumer to book?
-Ask your market manager more about statistics regarding traffic and conversion. How does this stack up against the market? Are you getting your fair share of clicks? Are you visible?
-Have you looked at meta-search sites such as Trivago and Kayak? Often these sites list affiliations of the larger OTA’s and some sites you may have never heard of. Often on those sites, content is inaccurate
-Are you ensuring on all channels that you are maintaining the same rate?
It is important for properties to take the time to put themselves in the shoes of the customer, and frequently. Unfortunately it is often a task that gets pushed off, but can have heavy impact on the customer’s decision in making that reservation.
The Hospitality industry has faced many challenges and issues in the recent past. Some of these issues include shortage of labor and skills, global emerging markets, technology and social media, unavailability of capital, evolving customer expectations among others. However the most common ones are technology and social media, increased demand and low customer satisfaction, increased costs of operations and high level and intensity of competition.
The analysis that follows is mainly on these four major issues. Read the full article.
Big data is a buzzword, or catch-phrase, used to describe a massive volume of both structured and unstructured data that is so large it is difficult to process using traditional database and software techniques.
In most enterprise scenarios the volume of data is too big or it moves too fast or it exceeds current processing capacity. Despite these problems, big data has the potential to help companies improve operations and make faster, more intelligent decisions.
Big data can provide insights that lead to increased guest satisfaction. It can help you in providing the right rate, to the right guest, at the right time. It can also give you more of a competitive advantage overall.
From a hotel operations point of view, big data offers also many different solutions. It can be used to reduce your energy bill for example. By combining data from 50 different sources, including electricity rates, weather data and a building’s energy consumption, two InterContinental hotels in San Francisco managed to reduce their energy costs by 10-15%. They created detailed energy profiles for their buildings and using a predictive algorithm they decided whether to use an onsite battery module or receive power from the grid.
Something to consider when cutting costs, and keeping your property group ahead of the curve when it comes to technology.
If much of your business relies on B2B lead generation, these are some great statistics to know. Helpful information for hotel groups that rely on B2B sales through events and conferences.
Read the full article on Capterra.
Magnuson Hotels Worldwide reports today year on year revenue growth of 65% across the Magnuson branded portfolio. The company also reports a very significant 61% increase in occupancy, and an 8% increase in average daily rate.
In addition, Magnuson Hotels saw an escalation in RevPar, up 74% in the 12 month period.
The branded portfolio includes three brands; Magnuson Grand Hotels, Magnuson Hotels and M Star Hotels, serving the upper midscale, midscale and economy segments respectively.
Read the rest of the article here.
Are you looking to increase your international clientele? Are you looking to expand into new markets? Europe? Asia? Here are some tips on how to grow your existing customer base.
1. Revisit Your Marketing Strategy
The first way to position your hotel for an international growth is to revisit your website and all marketing material in general. Guests are more comfortable and therefore more likely to book a hotel when they can view the information in their mother language and prices in their local currency. This means that your website should be translated into different languages and your booking engine should allow currency conversion as well.
The guest experience is also a key to open to international markets as the power of word of mouth is often underestimated. Hiring multi-lingual staff would certainly be a differential asset (some OTAs now list what are the languages service can be offered in)
Optimize your SEO and SEM to gain more hits on your website by sending the right message and keywords for your target markets.
Learn about the culture of your targeted guests, the point of interests/activities available in your city and enhance these on your website. Offering tours and adventure travels are also ways to target and attract international guests.
4. Find The Best OTAs
Finally, extend your reach by working with OTAs that target your specific market. For example, most Europeans use Booking.com to plan their holidays, Agoda.com is the main OTA for the Asian market etc. Do not stop there, many third party websites now offer the possibility to set-up geo-targeting promotions where only a guest located in Germany for example would see your 20% off promotion when a guest located in the US would only see your BAR rate.
Overall, your hotel needs to put a strategy in place in order to ensure success. First learn about your target markets, put yourself in your customers’ shoes and try one strategy at a time.