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Hotel Revenue Management Software Articles

Upselling Trends: Dynamic Pricing, Diverse Offers and Personalization

by
Hotel Tech Report
6 hours ago

We’ve all experienced upselling examples in retail and restaurants.  Hotel upselling isn’t quite as obvious as that retail manager bringing you another pair of denim to go with that t-shirt and it shouldn’t be.  Experienced hoteliers that use the right upsell software and deploy effective techniques rarely get detected and usually get thanked by guests. Imagine a situation when booking your room it cost $100/night for an upgrade which was over your budget range.  What if the hotel has an upgrade available that they can give you at zero cost for an additional $50 per night. You got a sweet deal on the upgrade so you feel great and the hotel gets $50 incremental profit per night while freeing up a cheaper room that is more likely to be booked at the last minute. Ancillary services have been estimated to be a $28 billion opportunity for hotels. Add-on services and tailored travel experiences are a unique opportunity for hotel owners to increase revenue by delivering relevant offers that often increase guest satisfaction scores. Upsell software like category leader Oaky encourages guests to spend more by offering valuable services at the right moment, to the right guest, for the right price. Upselling, when done properly, results in more incremental revenue and better guest experience. It’s a win-win for the hotel and the guest when upselling is successful. This isn’t always the case though.  Imagine offering a bachelorette brunch package to newlyweds - you are unlikely to make any incremental revenue and definitely aren’t improving the experience of those newlyweds on property. This is where personalization comes in and it pays to work with a specialist provider like Oaky.  How does upsell software perfectly time a tailored offer to the right guest? Here’s how to drive incremental revenue by implementing upsell software at your hotel.    Upselling Examples in Hospitality   Upselling as a general business practice encourages a customer to purchase something additional to their original product or service in the same selling interaction. Upsell software encourages guests to spend more before they arrive, segmenting guests intelligently to offer personalized offers at a time that’s right for each individual. The result is higher ADR and often even results in higher occupancy. When used as part of your hotel’s overall revenue management strategy, Oaky and other upsell tools lead to increased incremental spend per guest. Upsell software provides guests with a way to design their stay, setting expectations before arrival. Oaky sends optimized pre-arrival emails that give guests the opportunity to add deals and services they want with one simple click. The tool uses a timeline to serve up messages at the best time in the marketing sequence before and during the guest’s stay. At set intervals along the guest journey, it automatically sends out personalized messages promoting room upgrades and other ancillary services three to five days before arrival. By enabling guests to share their needs and feel inspired by what the hotel offers, the hotel operations team is able to anticipate special requests ahead of time. This level of information adds up to a more personalized guest experience, which guests expect – and are even willing to pay extra for. A Google Traveler Study found “36% (over 1 in 3) would pay more for more tailored information and experiences.” The beauty of upsell software is that it segments customers around data points like length of stay, IP address, interactions with previous campaigns, and job title to serve up offers that might meet their travel goals. Then, the software uses localized language, compelling marketing copy, and high-quality imagery to entice the guest to build their own experience. The final piece to successful upselling is matching the right offer at the right price. Upsell software can sell the benefits of each product and convince guests what’s in it for them to complete the purchase without needing your front desk staff to be pushy and risk overselling which nobody wants right when they’ve spent money on a hotel room. The smart segmentation of Oaky means your pricing matches with the right guest automatically which leads to higher ROIs relative to generic bulk offers.   Upselling and Crossing Selling Trends   The world of hotel tech moves fast, and upsell software is no different. Personalization, dynamic pricing, and service offerings are among the biggest trends in the upsell space.  Personalization will continue to be on-trend for hotel upselling in the coming years. It’s an essential part of making an upsell successful: the right offer to the right time to the right guest should be the mantra of any upsell vendor. We predict that experiences will get even more hyper-targeted, as customer-facing technology like in-room tablets gives hotels a new way to tailor guest offerings. Dynamic pricing is a newer feature within the Upsell Software category but has been used  in general revenue management systems for decades to maximize revenue and profitability.  Dynamic pricing gives hotel owners a way to maximize revenue potential and takes optimization one step further which is a huge advantage at any time but especially when moving into an economic downturn. Dynamic pricing allows revenue managers to take into account incremental revenue per guest. Future upsell software iterations will integrate with pricing intelligence to power up upsell revenue even more and hoteliers shouldn’t settle for upsell systems without the proper integrations. And, lastly, we’re seeing increased diversity in what hoteliers are offering as ancillary products. The classic room upgrade or in-house amenities that get served up as upsell offers are staples of any great pre-arrival outreach. But, high-margin deals are starting to mix with highly-emotional offers: things like being able to turn down housekeeping in exchange for loyalty points, a day pass to local coworking offices or join in a hyper-local food tour experience. The future of upselling will bring out-of-the-box, creative offers to keep repeat guests engaged, generate the pre-arrival halo effect, and differentiate a property from its competition.   Download Hotel Tech Report's Free 2020 Upselling Software Buyers Guide   Key integrations to use with upsell software   Upsell software works best when it connects with your PMS, channel manager, and with OTAs. Data from your property management system is necessary to inform the upsell software tool’s segmentation, using reservation data in order to work effectively. If your PMS doesn’t sync well with an upsell tool, a good channel manager tool can replace the PMS. And, to make sure you generate revenue from the OTA bookers, it’s important to connect your OTA and upsell software. Upsell software comes with many bells and whistles. Features include:  PMS integration: connect with your OTA, PMS, or channel manager. GDPR compliance: meet EU data privacy regulations. A customizable CMS: make sure your team update, customize and test offers in real-time. Flexibility and ease-of-use across devices: make it easy for guests to redeem offers on any device. Email automation: automate offer, redemption and confirmation emails. Real-time reporting: analytics and reporting to show you how to improve over time. Exclusion lists: have the ability to exclude guests from receiving an offering. Multi-language support: communicate with guests from all over the world.   When shopping for an upsell software tool, find out what their business model is. Some will be commission model with no up-front costs, earning their contribution based on performance. Others will be fixed fee with uncapped ROI potential. Ask for a free trial if you’re not sure about how the tool will work for your property. Ask each vendor what the deal conversion they expect to see for your specific property. A good upsell provider is data-driven and laser-focused to drive conversion. Ask how other similar hotels perform: What are the best-selling deals today? How quickly can the tool be live? Find out if the vendor can provide tips and if they will help you whenever needed. On a technical level, learn what PMS each upsell tool connects with, and how. How much will it cost you as the hotel, as well as your PMS provider? What does the company do to ensure high conversion? You’re speaking to specialists in upselling, make sure you give them a run for their money. A good company will love your tough questions!   For more on hotel upsell software, read our buyer’s guide to learn about different vendors, pricing models, and success metrics.  

Hotel Revenue Management: How the Best Revenue Managers Crush the Compset

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 days ago

As a relatively new addition to the hotel leadership circle, the role of a revenue manager is constantly evolving. Becoming a great revenue manager requires an eye for detail, interpersonal aptitude, technical skills and analytical prowess all combined. So how does one become a rockstar hotel revenue manager in 2020 and beyond? Simple, get a revenue management job! Kidding aside, the best way to learn how to excel at something is to watch the best at work - so in this article we’ll go into detail on the daily lives of revenue managers to help you understand the skills you’ll need to succeed in this highly dynamic role. We asked some of the best revenue managers we know to help us craft this article.  We then took their feedback and used it to show you exactly how the best RMs in hospitality plan their work days and then detail the skills they use throughout the day. Lots of hoteliers are interested in this exciting data driven role, but few understand what it actually entails. Before we get started, we want to give a huge shoutout to the rockstar revenue managers who helped make this resource possible: - Connor Vanderholm, Corporate Revenue Manager @ Aimbridge Hospitality - Rafik El Guizawi, Corporate Revenue Manager @ Dimension Development - Sarada Muduli, Corporate Revenue Manager @ Lords Hotels & Resorts - Kevin Chan, Revenue Manager at JC Resorts - Daniel Jang, Senior Revenue Manager @ Marriott Hotels - Elizabeth Selva, Revenue Manager at Kriya Hotels - Fabian Bartnick, Founder at Infinito - Adam Richards, Revenue Manager at Hilton   Let's dive in!   The basics: What is a revenue manager in the hotel industry?   In the simplest terms, a hotel’s revenue manager is responsible for setting prices that will maximize the hotel’s profitability and meet its strategic goals. While this task might not sound daunting  at first, it involves a mix of analytical skills, market research, critical thinking, and a little bit of gut instinct to make sound pricing decisions. Great revenue managers must also balance the hotel’s mix of group and transient business which entails negotiation between marketing and sales.  RMs must also develop and implement promotional strategies and serve as the main point of contact between the hotel and online travel agencies.A revenue manager needs to keep a constant pulse on the hotel’s competitive set as well as demand drivers in the market, like major events and holidays, since these external factors also affect the hotel’s positioning.  Sure this includes reading and understanding STR reports but is just the tip of the iceberg.  Great RMs don’t just understand the fundamentals like price elasticity but they deeply internalize the concepts and have a gut feel for how they are shifting in real time.   How do revenue management jobs differ for on-property vs. corporate?   Unlike other hotel positions like a rooms manager or a general manager, a revenue manager is not always required to be on property. An on-site revenue manager can benefit from firsthand knowledge of the market and activities at the hotel, but, thanks to technology, hotels can leverage the skills of a corporate revenue manager with great results.   “As a remote revenue manager I have the fortune to avoid a lengthy commute which enables me to start my day earlier than normal, I start at 7 am every day. The first thing I do is clean up my inbox of any correspondence sent to me after hours so everything from the day prior is resolved and I have a clean slate. I then get to work on inventory review for all my properties giving extra heed to unusual pickup within the next 14 days, double digit pickup within 90 days, or 5+ pickup in the next 365. After this I begin preparing for my weekly revenue calls with hotels which I try to schedule Tuesdays-Thursdays which leaves Mondays and Fridays for team meetings, trainings, projections and large system or rate adjustments. I set aside time each week to work on building Excel-based tools or enhancing the ones I already use. I spend as much time in One Yield and GRO as I can but but looking at past and future trends for revenue calls is best done by pulling reports and plugging them into Excel tools.”  - Connor Vanderholm, Corporate Revenue Manager @ Aimbridge Hospitality   While the role of a revenue manager is similar whether they’re based on property or not, there are a few key differences. A corporate revenue manager might oversee a cluster of several properties, up to several dozen, as in the case of Sarada Muduli, Corporate Revenue Manager at Lords Hotels & Resorts, who manages a portfolio of 25 hotels. In order to manage their portfolios effectively, a corporate revenue manager’s schedule might contain frequent calls with each hotel.   “I supervise and head 25 mid segment hotels within ARR bracket of USD 35-55 . First thing I look at the trend of market segment and business source contribution to a particular hotel Then I come to know where is the loophole if any hotel is going down YOY or to Revenue Budget. Then I look at the pick up analysis, forecasting and market analysis. Then I meet my team for next week's preparation and the instructions are clear between us. Why to do and how to do it”  - Sarada Muduli, Corporate Revenue Manager @ Lords Hotels & Resorts "The routine requires a lot of discipline because of the distractions that come up on a daily basis. We constantly have to be planning and adjusting strategies for the future, which is the most important part of the job while explaining the events that caused the recent results. So we to be successful, we have to be in tune with past, present and future." - Rafik El Guizawi, Corporate Revenue Manager @ Dimension Development   While a corporate revenue manager relies on calls and emails to stay up to date on the hotel’s activities, a property-based revenue manager spends time interacting with other hotel employees on a face-to-face basis. Taking the time to chat with colleagues isn’t just to be social, but also to gain important insight into the challenges and ideas coming from other departments. Many hotels and hotel management companies work with remote revenue managers, but these arrangements are not one-size-fits-all. One hotel may have a dedicated revenue manager who just happens to be based remotely, while other hotels might work with a cluster revenue manager. In this case, a revenue manager oversees several hotels within the same management company or brand. Best Western, for example, has remote revenue managers who work with portfolios of Best Western properties across the country. In other cases, hotels might work with remote revenue managers to benefit from revenue management expertise without needing to hire an in-house revenue manager on a full-time basis.   The best ones aren't just experts at using technology, they understand how revenue management systems think   Technology is an essential component of any revenue manager’s job. In addition to the hotel’s property management system, revenue managers must be familiar with using the channel manager to feed rates and availability to online travel agencies, a market intelligence tool to provide insight on competitor rates and market demand, and a revenue management system to help them decide on the optimal rates to sell.  Most of all revenue managers must be experts at leveraging revenue management software like IDeaS G3 to effectively make pricing decisions and implement real time strategies.   “The exceptional revenue managers I know are dedicated to becoming RMS system subject matter experts who can answer that all-too-common question, “what is the system thinking?” -Connor Vanderholm, Corporate Revenue Manager @ Aimbridge Hospitality “Know how your systems work with one another. Understanding which systems are interfaced with each other is key. It's inevitable that technology will break. But fixing it and preventing major integration issues, can save the company a lot of time and potential lost revenue. Test yourself, draw a systems map of all of the technologies and systems your property uses. Identify which messages are sent from where, what each one controls, how that affects your reservations and what do to if it fails. Be a systems expert, not just a systems user!” -Kevin Chan, Revenue Manager at JC Resorts   A nearly endless amount of historical data, competitor rates, and market statistics mean that a revenue manager must leverage technology solutions to reveal the story behind the numbers and find its implications for the hotel.   Interpersonal skills: A revenue manager’s role within the hotel leadership team   Though it may seem lonely to work in the Revenue Management department, which is usually just one or two people, revenue managers are constantly interacting with other hotel departments. The Sales team is a crucial partner for any revenue manager, since these two departments must work together to decide on rates and availability for group room blocks. Revenue managers also work closely with the Marketing department to create promotional offers and campaigns. And revenue managers and the Operations team collaborate on executing promotional offers, upgrades, and overbookings, if necessary.   “We revenue managers love our numbers, but we have to remember that this is an industry of personal connections and we can’t get anything done without buy-in from the whole team. The exceptional revenue managers I know build strong relationships with their stakeholders by soliciting and valuing their input. It is crucial that on property operations property teams are listened to and that their experiences are leverage toward a holistic revenue management strategy. We revenue managers love our numbers but we have to remember that this is an industry of personal connections and we can’t get anything done without buy-in from the whole team.”  - Connor Vanderholm, Corporate Revenue Manager at Aimbridge Hospitality “I will always set aside face-to-face time with our sales team as they are vital to building a strong base that allows us to Yield the remaining rooms to maximize revenues daily. My work is probably 50/50, split between work on the computer and meeting with people around the property. I find it beneficial to speak with the other departments on a regular basis to help me keep a good pulse on everything that is going on. The hotel is an ecosystem, everything connects and affects one another. It’s also critical to be aware of what Marketing is trying to promote and communicate because that could affect our decisions the next day.”  -Kevin Chan, Revenue Manager @ JC Resorts   A day in the life of a rockstar hotel revenue manager   While any revenue manager will tell you there’s no “typical day,” most begin their mornings by checking email and reviewing daily reports. Depending on the systems they use, some revenue managers need to pull reports manually, while others receive automated reports or use dashboards to get the data they need.   “Typically, I begin my day by briefly looking over the reports generated from the night prior - reviewing pickup for the prior day, our pacing to prior year and how it may impact pricing on higher, or lower demand dates. Shortly after, I attend the RevMax meeting with our Sales Team to review any new leads for the day. The rest of my day consists of yield management of the property's availability, restrictions and pricing strategies, meetings with the GM, Sales Team, Marketing, Call Center, Analytical work to identify booking trends, as well as monitoring and managing our network of third party booking systems, such as the OTAs, our CRS and GDS systems. In addition, I always block an hour a day of uninterrupted time, where I will dive into Demand360 forward looking reports, pace analysis reports, data extraction reports from our RMS. This time allows me to get a grasp of any potential changes in our comp set, the market, and within our own property's production. Managing the RMS (we use IDeaS G3) and ensuring I agree with the decisions it recommends is vital to my team trusting the system, which frees up time for me to focus on other items.” -Kevin Chan, Revenue Manager @ JC Resorts “My Daily Habits includes running daily pick up reports to see how many rooms we picked up and utilizing that information to make strategic pricing decision. Knowing market trends and leveraging that information to maximize my hotel's revenue. Reviewing forecast to ensure the hotel is on track to hit forecast/budget. Communicating with the front office on strategy for a perfect sell.”  - Daniel Jang, Senior Revenue Manager @ Marriott Hotels   Most of the morning is spent analyzing these reports to determine what caused results in the past, for instance, why the hotel didn’t sell out yesterday when it sold out on the same day for the last 5 years in a row, and forecasting for the future. With so much data at their fingertips, revenue managers must prioritize between analyzing competitor rates, researching upcoming events, studying rate trends, and evaluating how effective certain strategies are.   “We constantly have to be planning and adjusting strategies for the future, which is the most important part of the job while explaining the events that caused the recent results.” -Rafik El Guizawi, Corporate Revenue Manager @ Dimension Development   After lunch, revenue managers might meet with other hotel departments in person or via phone. A revenue manager might meet with the sales team several times per week, with the marketing team once every other week, and with the entire hotel leadership team on a weekly basis. If the hotel is part of a brand or management group, there might also be a regular meeting between the brand’s or region’s revenue management team.   “On my weekly revenue calls, I analyze granular level data to make educated pricing and yielding changes for the next 365 days out to ensure there aren’t any major events or opportunities missed!” -Elizabeth Selva, Revenue Manager at Kriya Hotels   These interdepartmental meetings are important, since they offer a great opportunity to gather feedback and ask for input from other stakeholders at the hotel. Sometimes fresh eyes can deliver exactly the insight a revenue manager needs, but sometimes two departments have very different ideas about a pricing strategy. For this reason, it’s crucial that a revenue manager’s people skills are as strong as their analytical skills.   How to become a hotel revenue manager that crushes the compset   Whether you’re considering entering the revenue management track or an industry veteran who’s always trying to improve, these pearls of wisdom from revenue managers around the country show that their success is no accident. Hear directly from leading revenue management professionals who graciously shared their advice and daily routines with us.   Become the go-to system expert As a revenue manager, technology is an essential component of day-to-day operations, so learning the ins and outs of each system can not only make your work easier, but it can also build your credibility. Knowing why the system did something or how to interpret a result can make the difference between a good revenue manager and a great one, especially in the eyes of a colleague in another department. “Technology changes faster than we can keep up with and we end up reacting by instinct vs. thinking of our actions” -Fabian Bartnick, Founder at Infinito   Build strong relationships Though the analytical part of a revenue manager’s job can easily become the whole job, make sure to nurture the personal connections with colleagues and According to Connor Vanderholm, Corporate Revenue Manager at Aimbridge Hospitality, revenue managers can “build strong relationships with their stakeholders by soliciting and valuing their input.” Instead of working in front of a screen with the office door closed, a successful revenue manager will purposefully take time to talk with not only colleagues, but also revenue managers at neighboring hotels, their market managers from online travel agencies, and industry mentors. “The more comfortable your peers are around you, the easier your job will be.” -Kevin Chan, Revenue Manager at JC Resorts “Be accessible - The more comfortable your peers are around you, the easier your job will be. As the conductor of the revenue generation tactics the team as a whole work together to employ, having people come to you naturally and keeping you updated is extremely beneficial. It'll save you time, as well as help build strong relationships with those you have to work closely with.” -Kevin Chan, Revenue Manager at JC Resorts   Embrace group business No, a sales manager didn’t pay us to write this, but most revenue managers could use a gentle reminder that the sales team isn’t out to sabotage your strategies. By adopting a positive mentality around group rooms, revenue managers can improve their relationships with the sales team and build a strong base of business in advance. “The most effective thing that a revenue manager can remember is that "group is king.” Cover a week and move on. Having a sound relationship with your sales team will allow you to strategize around group, find the base where you need it, and ultimately give you the biggest impact.”  -Adam Richards, Revenue Manager at Hilton   Stay up-to-date on industry trends A good revenue manager might know everything about the competitor hotel down the street, but a great revenue manager also keeps current with broader industry news and trends. Revenue management is growing quickly and changing rapidly with the adoption of new technology, and it seems there’s an innovative new software company popping up every week with new revenue management insight. Subscribing to industry newsletters or attending industry events will help you apply these macro-trends to your hotel’s strategy. “Expand your knowledge of the key players in the industry and how their actions are influencing the market, which will give you a leg up in decision making!” -Elizabeth Selva, Revenue Manager at Kriya Hotels   Any day is a good day to strengthen your revenue management skills   Using a variety of skills and systems, a revenue manager is certainly an exciting and challenging role at any hotel. Whether home-based or property-based, revenue managers gather essential insight from market trends and historical data to shape their hotel’s pricing strategy, which ultimately drives ADR, occupancy, and RevPAR toward the hotel’s targets. While revenue management and dynamic pricing are still considered relatively new ideas in the hotel industry, revenue managers have the opportunity to work at the forefront of this change and bring their hotel into the digital age with sophisticated technology solutions. Eager to learn more about how to hone your skills as a revenue manager? Check out our three surprising routines to unlock your revenue management genius.  

WTM London 2019: Here's What You Need to Know in a Complete 8,792 Word Guide

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 day ago

If you want to learn about all of the latest hotel tech product launches and feature releases from WTM London 2019, then you’ll love this comprehensive (yet skimmable) guide. Hoteliers can browse the new products covered in this guide to get a pulse on the latest tools and strategies available to grow your hotel business in 2020. We know that you've got too much on your plate to keep up with all of this yourself, so we carefully reviewed 100+ of the top product launches from the trade show floor and bucketed them into 6 major themes: 1. Group Business Innovations 2. Multi-Property Portfolio Tech Rollouts 3. Emerging Advertising Technology 4. Features & Products That Enter New Categories 5. Automation Features 6. Revenue Management & Big Data Bonus: 9+ Notable Product Launches   Let’s dive in, shall we?     Group Business Innovations   There's historically been a ton of hype around consumer travel apps and guest experience platforms but every hotelier knows that the real money is in group business.  Groups offer higher margins and larger deal sizes - who wouldn't want a piece of that?  As such, there are a lot of launches this year in the group and sales space ranging from sales CRMs to revenue management tools that offer displacement analysis and even 3D modeling software to better market your meeting spaces.   Pace: Group displacement analysis helps your team optimize decision making Group Displacement Analyses have always been a painful exercise for hoteliers. They take up significant time for a very simple question: “Will I make more revenue by taking in a group vs. continuing to sell to my transient business segments?” Revenue managers and sales managers can now evaluate group requests with ease. Users simply provide the duration of stay, the number of rooms required per night, and then they can customize the rates to quickly see the value of the group and make a decision if they should take the booking or not. Pace’s Group Displacement Tool uses accurate and granular forecasts to generate displacement analyses for you, that not only save you time, but also ensure that your evaluations are based on real data science. Read Pace Reviews   Matterport: Build 3D models of your meeting spaces to drive more group business Matterport is a spatial data company focused on digitizing and indexing the built world. With Matterport technology, anyone can create and share a digital twin of the built world, which can be used to design, build, operate, promote and understand any space. Creating a 3D digital twin of hotel rooms, meeting spaces and common areas is simple with Matterport’s technology. Using a Pro2 3D camera or any compatible 360 capture device, the Matterport Capture app guides one through the scanning process. The model is then uploaded to a Matterport Cloud account, where the software creates the digital twin. After creation, Matterport lets individuals edit, customize and refine the model. Matterport Cloud 3.0 harnesses the power of Matterport’s AI-based image processing technology, Cortex, to transform data collected with the Matterport Pro2 or a collection of simple 360 panoramas from compatible 360 cameras into Matterport True3D™ digital twins. Read Matterport Reviews   Clairvoyix: Hotel CRM for groups and sales teams Groups sales has seen very little change in the past few decades. Sales personnel typically call meeting planners from a stack of questionable leads pulled from the sales and catering system. The Clairvoyix Group Solution allows sales and marketing professionals to schedule targeted and personalized group/event direct marketing campaigns that include lifecycle marketing and automated follow-up by email, or from a tele-research center.  Fully qualified leads are delivered to property, regional, or headquarters sales personnel, eliminating the historical and time-consuming process of calling every lead in the system. The solution deploys sales and marketing automation, including lifecycle direct marketing (email and LinkedIn) allowing for an exponential gain in the number of meeting planners contacted. Most importantly, the system generates periodic communication with meeting planners who previously booked at meeting ensuring that all potential repeat business is secured. Read Clairvoyix Reviews   MeetingPackage: Plug into venue directories to increase meeting space occupancy MeetingPackage has been working hard to deliver flexible meeting payment services for both Travel Management Companies and their clients. AirPlus integration helps Travel Management Companies and meetings organisers centralise and manage payments more easily for their clients. Integration with Venue Directory means that hotels and venues across the UK and Europe benefit from distribution on the UK's leading platform for meetings organisers and enhances value for users of the Venue Directory's platforms by allowing users to consult availability of spaces, pricing and ancillary services all in one easy to use interface. MeetingPackage's new features are of particular interest to the sales and revenue management departments within a hotel group as they will be able to drive more M&E business through their direct channels. AirPlus integration will simplify billing for hotel users of MeetingPackage and corporate clients, making hotels' M&E products more attractive to those clients in the process. MeetingPackage's integration with Venue Directory means that for the first time venues will be able to distribute details of their availability, pricing, F&B and services to the UK's largest source of M&E enquiries thereby streamlining a labour intensive and old fashioned RFP process into a modern online booking and enquiry tool.  For many venues, direct integration with popular industry PMS platforms such as Oracle Opera or Mews Commander means less need to interact with third-party tools. MeetingPackage's integration with Venue Directory is unique in that it is the only service that facilitates the delivery of pricing and availability directly from a venue's PMS or sales and catering system to a front-end interface used by Meetings bookers, corporate clients and travel management companies worldwide.  With AirPlus, clients will be able to dynamically generate AirPlus payment numbers.MeetingPackage is the only M&E booking service to offer this facility and it has been designed to meet the requirements of corporate clients. Read MeetingPackage Reviews       Multi-Property Portfolio Tech Rollouts   Most hotel tech companies start off serving small independents.  After all, these clients are less demanding and easier to woo in the early days of launching a startup.  The interesting thing that we're seeing is a huge wave of startups that are hitting scale and moving upstream to serve enterprises with dedicated functionality built for groups and portfolios.  This is a great sign as it indicates that firms in the ecosystem are achieving healthy growth which ultimately is a sign that hotels everywhere are becoming more digitally savvy.   Oaky: New multi-property functionality built for portfolios Switching between multiple properties in the Oaky dashboard used to be..well...a hassle. They’ve fixed that. Oaky understands that when you work in a Hotel Group or Chain, you might have specific needs and this innovation demonstrates Oaky’s commitment to a platform that is easy to use for bigger groups and chains. With this development, hoteliers can control their Oaky content centrally, add deals in 1-click and ultimately generate more revenue.  In short, you can now switch between properties from within Oaky’s software where before you needed separate setups for each property. Read Oaky Reviews   RMS Hospitality: Property Management System helps clients with turnkey loyalty programs Loyalty programs can help hotels drive repeat visits and reduce acquisition costs by giving guests an incentive to return again and again. By allocating points for guest stays and activities that can be redeemed for credits,the RMS Guest Rewards module encourages guest engagement and brand loyalty. The more guests stay and spend, the more they are rewarded. Guest Rewards is a fully integrated module that can be added to any RMS client's existing hotel management system. Setup by the property is straightforward, with customizable reward ratios, i.e. dollars spent to points earned, and points earned to guest credit. Staff can enroll an existing guest in the hotel's database in the loyalty program with one click, making it quick and hassle-free for guests to join the program and start earning points. Points are automatically allocated to guest accounts based on their stay and activity spend, and can be redeemed as a payment type within RMS so staff can apply points to guest accounts when guests want to use their rewards. Guest Rewards is fully integrated with RMS' hotel management software, so hoteliers using RMS as their property management system can easily add loyalty program functionality to their tech stack without the need for additional software. Guest Rewards is also customizable to each hotel client, allowing properties to set up a points and rewards system that makes sense for their business model and fits their existing brand. Read RMS Reviews   GuestCentric: Multi-Property Booking Engine to Cross Sell Properties on Sell Out If your hotel is not available on a specific date, but your sister hotel on the other side of the road is still open for reservations, why not push your sister property. Helping the user not to start their search all over again and promote our group hotels as an alternative can prove to be a useful and profitable strategy. When a guest accesses the booking engine or website of the hotel and selects a specific date - if the hotel is full the the booking engine returns a message: "Sorry, we don't have any rooms left”.  When that happens hotels lose money. With this new functionality, GuestCentric can now provide those guests a room in another one of your fantastic hotels." The platform shows a list of hotels the user can choose from and when the user selects an option, the guest will be redirected to the partner hotel booking engine with the dates pre-selected. GuestCentric offers a highly personalized solution integrated into the Shopping Booster feature that is proven to increase direct bookings. Everything is engineered to remove from the process any friction that may affect the conversion. Read GuestCentric Reviews   Quicktext: Website chatbot for multi-property websites When you have several properties in the same website search is much more complicated than in simple websites. Groups like Accor can have >100 properties in the same city which is great but might induce choice paralysis on the customer side. Quicktext multi-property is a chatbot that is able to guide the customer from many possible hotel choices to the hotel that is most relevant to each customer based on their expressed needs. If you're looking for a hotel with a swimming pool in Paris on accorhotels.com you might come from having to search 160 properties down to 4 that are really relevant to satisfy your needs. What makes Quicktext different is its database. While all chatbots are text-based meaning that the hotel needs to introduce answers in a text format. Quicktext is structured around data points that they collect from the hotel. For example, you can tell the bot that there is a swimming pool by ticking a box in the software. The chatbot will then make an answer and when a prospective guest searches at the group level it will be very easy for the bot to find what hotels have a swimming pool in Paris. Read Quicktext Reviews       Emerging Advertising Technologies   Ad tech has been a hot sector for years with one of the highest profile mergers to date coming from the Taboola/Outbrain merger.  In hotel tech, it has taken some time to heat up.  Historically we've had digital marketing agencies and then a couple of categories in the space like metasearch management platforms (e.g. Koddi, Triptease) and audience targeting solutions like Sojern.  We noticed some really interesting tools and features launching in the ad tech space at WTM this year.  Most notably, Triptease has continued it's cadence of product launches driving towards an end-to-end guest acquisition platform.  Naturally the firm started it's journey optimizing conversion rates on hotel websites and is now focused on building innovative tools that bring more traffic into that finely tuned funnel.   Triptease: Bring more guests back to your hotel website with retargeting “Price remains the single most powerful factor in booking decisions, and we’ve known since the launch of Price Check that a live price comparison gives guests a proven, powerful incentive to book direct,” says Alasdair Snow, Triptease’s co-founder and Chief Product Officer. “Now, with Retargeting, we’re able to share that message with guests even when they’re not on the hotel website or booking engine. Most importantly, Triptease knows which guests are worth retargeting - and which to ignore.” Triptease’s algorithmic approach combines search, parity and behavioral data to avoid costly bidding mistakes. With Triptease Retargeting, hotels can avoid common pitfalls such as targeting a visitor if their search dates are in the past, or bidding to advertise when they don’t have the best price available online. In addition to knowing who to target and when to target them, Triptease Retargeting dynamically updates ad creative to show only the messages most likely to convert an undecided guest. Powered by Triptease’s price intelligence software, Retargeting allows hotels to show live price comparisons to guests based on their unique search - wherever they are on the web. Triptease is able to drive far higher levels of retargeting performance through our data advantages across user and journey targeting precision, global publisher coverage, optimised ad creative and co-ordination with attract and convert products. Read Triptease Reviews   Curacity: ORA provides Instagram revenue attribution over a 6-month buyer journey Curacity's new product, ORA for Instagram, measures travel influencers to determine which Instagram posts or stories resulted with a direct booking to that hotel for an attribution window of up to six months. Curacity built the data bridge to measure Instagram against hotels' PMS to determine bookings that were influenced by Instagram influencers.  We haven’t seen anything like this in the market. Competitive means of measuring Instagram is based on a 30-day window, max and this opens it up to 6x that. This time frame is irrelevant when consumers are booking a hotel stay that will cost over $1,000. Large purchases require a longer customer decision-making journey. Read Curacity Reviews   RoomCloud: Google Hotel Ads Management on any booking engine Thanks to Google Metasearch hotels and Property Managers can save money on commissions and increase traffic on their official website but only 74 companies globally can connect into Google Hotel Ads today.  Given that most hoteliers who are happy with their booking engine wouldn’t want to switch just to optimize Google Hotel Ads - RoomCloud now has a solution that integrates with any booking engine. RoomCloud Booking Engine is certified by Google to sell rooms and apartments on the Metasearch and it will act as a bridge between non certified Booking Engines that your property uses and Google Metasearch. RoomCloud just needs the inventory of prices and availabilities to send requests to. Through a "deep link" RoomCloud will connect Metasearch to your Booking Engine of choice.  When using this connection, your hotel will pay RoomCloud for Google bills every 3-months which can be a nice way to pay for advertising during off-peak times without dipping into your cash coffers. RoomCloud only asks for a fixed cheap annual fee for the activation of the connection, without any extra commission on the reservations. Your hotel then only pays for ad spend on Google. Read RoomCloud Reviews   Squarelovin: New player that helps hotels leverage user generated content to drive more bookings Professional hotel photography is super expensive and time consuming to generate but guests are increasingly wary of getting “catfished” by cherry picked imagery.  Content created by actual guests provides a sense of authenticity and social proof to new customers, much more than professional shots of empty pools or restaurants can. squarelovin helps curate and filter content created by actual guests, as well as effectively placing it on the website. The squarelovin UGC Management Tool collects all brand-specific User Generated Content in one place. By tracking selected brand accounts, geo-locations or hashtags, all images are filtered from Instagram in real time. Essential on & offline image usage rights can then be requested with just one easy click. The software takes care of individual feedback to the customers. This way, more direct appreciation can be conveyed while manual work gets reduced to a minimum. The tool is mainly used by marketing, e-commerce and social media managers. Their main task is to select those pieces of content which fit meet their expectations and fit the property’s aesthetics. squarelovin also comes with detailed analytics which allow users to precisely track which kind of content works best and which guests could become possible brand ambassadors. The amount of time spent on picking content and diving into analytics is based on individual preferences. As the squarelovin tool secures essential usage rights for UGC in accordance with copyright laws and in compliance with GDPR, it takes away the burden of dealing with image rights and the fear of possibly facing legal consequences when embedding content the wrong way. One of the big advantages of embedding UGC through squarelovin compared to other tools is that the galleries clearly indicate which Instagram user originally uploaded a picture or video, while a click on the content directs to the respective product detail page within the WBE. This results in significantly longer website visits and higher conversion rates. The UGC Management Tool, other than direct integrations of Instagram, allows filtering content before it’s published to the website. This way, brands can ensure that only UGC that matches their values and aesthetics is being featured. Moreover squarelovin also offers significantly more possibilities for collecting content, as the tool allows curate posts based on hashtags, mentions and geo-locations. Read squarelovin Reviews     Features & Products That Enter New Categories   It's no secret that hotel tech is kind of a $hit show when it comes to features and product portfolios.  It's often hard for hoteliers to tell who does what let alone who does what well.  Well, if you're having problems figuring it out we've got an easy solution - go check out their client reviews on Hotel Tech Report!  That said, it's natural for tech companies to expand their product offering over time by listening to customer feedback and this next group of companies is doing exactly that with their WTM launches.   GuestRevu: Reputation Provider Launches Service Tickets GuestRevu clients frequently told the hospitality software provider that one of the most helpful aspects of the guest feedback system was that they were getting notified quickly of small issues or downfalls in guest experience, such as repairs that needed to be made in bathrooms or improvements that could be made to the breakfast offering. Timely feedback meant that these could be rectified before they impacted other guests. However, one of the major challenges busy hospitality professionals face is ensuring these incidents are tracked and resolved as quickly as possible. Service tickets are GuestRevu’s answer to this, assisting management and staff facing these challenges by: - Removing ambiguity: each service ticket has one assignee, which means there is certainty of who is responsible for resolving this issue. - Ensuring issues are not forgotten: reminder emails keep each team member’s assigned tickets top of mind, whether the ticket has just been assigned, is approaching its deadline or is overdue. - Improving reaction speed: Automation rules can be set to generate tickets immediately and assign them to the appropriate people based on predetermined concern criteria. - Giving management peace of mind: ticket “watchers” can easily track when tickets are resolved, and if they are resolved quickly enough. - Keeping staff engaged and motivated: tickets are also a great way to share positive guest comments with relevant staff and their managers. The service ticket feature in the GuestRevu application helps clients to more efficiently and effectively manage incidents as they arise from customer feedback. A service ticket refers to a task created in the GuestRevu application that details a specific action which needs to be resolved. These could be from issues raised by guests or courtesy follow-ups should guest comments reference or highlight key-value elements of their experience. Service tickets can be generated automatically from direct feedback responses based on certain triggers or created manually by a user. Only users with appropriate user rights can create, view or resolve a ticket. Whoever resolves a tickets also needs to include a note so that everyone involved has a good overview of completed tasks. GuestRevu clients can create customised service tickets, such as a reminder to download reports or go through older reviews, or they can create a service ticket directly from a particular guest’s response and assign it to a particular team member. Service tickets can also be set up to be created automatically when a guest gives a low rating or alert logic is triggered from a specific question. Service tickets save teams time by allowing users to easily keep track of what tasks still need to be addressed, who is responsible for them, and when they have been completed. These are perfect for managing and monitoring review responses, maintenance tasks and more. Service tickets are an essential management tool, allowing GuestRevu clients to ensure every concern raised in their reviews is dealt with in an efficient and professional manner. With GuestRevu’s service ticket feature, clients are able to automatically generate tickets based on a number of triggers, including any rating on overall satisfaction scores and other key metrics related to specific areas of the customer experience. In comparison to competing systems in the market, this feature allows a more granular flexibility when creating specific rules for auto-creation from guest feedback. There is also no need for predetermined escalation groups to be set up in the system beforehand, which means users can select one or more watchers based on the nature of the task. The service ticket dashboard is built with the busy hospitality professional in mind, with the ability to easily view tickets assigned to the user or tickets the user is watching, with the click of a button. If a service ticket was created based on particular feedback from a guest or customer, this information will be stored in their profile on the GuestRevu system which staff can use to personalise their experiences in the future. Read GuestRevu Feedback   SiteMinder: The latest player to launch an App Store The Hotel App Store comes 18 months after the launch of SiteMinder Exchange, a connectivity hub that allows hotel data publishers and developers of hotel application software to transfer guest information between their systems. From 4 November 2019, hotels using a data publisher connected to SiteMinder Exchange—which includes more than 80 property management systems (PMSs) and SiteMinder’s channel manager—can use the Hotel App Store to access applications. This means that SiteMinder’s Hotel App Store allows hoteliers to filter, search or browse through over 100 applications that can seamlessly connect to their SiteMinder Exchange-connected PMS or, in the absence of that, SiteMinder’s channel manager, which can act as a data publisher by connecting the data from a hotel’s online booking channels to their selected apps. The Hotel App Store gives hoteliers access to the most relevant applications that support their daily operations of running a hotel business, help their business to grow, and make the daily work more rewarding. These applications include, but are not limited to, applications for upselling, guest communications, review management, loyalty programs, airport transfers and revenue management. To connect to an app, hoteliers need to simply sign up by filling in a form for their preferred app and let SiteMinder do the rest. Until now, app marketplaces have mostly been closed environments for hotels (e.g. Mews, Protel, Hotelogix), accessible only by using a marketplace provider’s designated PMS (with the exception of BookingSuite). Additionally, as the leading guest acquisition platform for hotels, SiteMinder’s Hotel App Store opens up the opportunity for 35,000+ hotels around the world to easily access and connect with apps right away by seamlessly connecting their guest data from online booking channels to their chosen apps, via SiteMinder’s channel manager. Read SiteMinder Reviews   RoomRaccoon: Cloud PMS player launches free light weight yield management tool Yield Management is a variable pricing strategy based on influencing and anticipating consumer demand. This feature maximizes revenue and profits by ensuring rooms are sold, and sold for the optimum price since many of RoomRaccoon’s clients may not implement a dedicated revenue management system. RoomRaccoon enable hoteliers to set rules based on availability and time to automatically increase/decrease prices. These can be simple independent rules like decreasing room prices if a set percentage of stock remains X days before arrival. They can also be a series of inter-dependent rules that regularly adjust prices with the passing of time based on performance / anticipated future performance. Either way the purpose remains the same. Ensuring hoteliers maximize revenue and profits. By automating these price adjustments hoteliers save a huge amount of time and eliminate human error. A number of very good stand-alone Yield Management Systems exist on the market. However, these need to be integrated into your existing Property Management System and are often prohibitively expensive for smaller / independent properties. Providing the Yield Management functionality for free within RoomRaccoon's PMS is unique and puts this important functionality in the hands of more hotels. Read RoomRaccoon Reviews   Repup: Reputation management firm launches a Hotel CRM solution Repup is solving the problem of manual, non-personalised and inconsistent communication with guests. They do this by unifying data from several interfaces including PMS, Booking Engine, OTAs and manual entries to save time for hoteliers and have a single source of truth for the entire guest data, past activity and persona profile. This product has an automation and data intelligence layer that enables hotels to define rules for their guest communication and set automated campaigns. The intelligence layer divides guest data into segments so personalisation can be achieved at scale. All transactional emails sent through the solution have an embedded concierge link that takes guests to a concierge using which they can submit preferences, buy upgrades and fill in-stay feedback. Read Repup Reviews     Automation Features   We've previously covered the automation trend in our ITB Recap so we won't belabor the issue.  Having said that, automation cannot be understated as a trend - it's HUGE.  Ultimately the role of technology is to make our lives easier and automation is something that computers do 1000x more efficiently than humans so it's a natural place to focus. Atomize: Real time pricing automation The hotel next door is pricing their rooms faster than you and it’s eating your profits without you ever even noticing.  Faster yield management software and real time pricing is like a secret weapon for revenue managers. If your local market competition is employing real time pricing, you are likely bleeding RevPAR so this concept of real time price optimization is especially important to understand and get a grip on. If your competition isn’t using real time pricing yet (which they most likely aren’t), this article will show you how you can use it to beat out the compset. A fully automated system working in real time gives your hotel an edge over the competition when you need it most. In full autopilot mode, Atomize continuously receives data from the PMS and continuously runs real time optimization runs and pushes the optimal rates back to the PMS for all room types and all future arrival dates around the clock where each price point is uniquely calculated in real time. In addition to considering historical data such as reservations, cancellations and current pickups, Atomize RMS also monitors real time changes, search trends, competitor information and other factors such as local holidays and dynamically sets the price per room type while respecting pricing hierarchy and takes into account the effect on adjacent days and room types. As any data points above change for any future arrival date, relevant price points updates in real time. With Atomize, hotels can continuously have real-time rates pushed live, around the clock, 365 days into the future, dynamically for all room types.   HelloShift: guest messaging smart reply automation Messaging as a channel for hotel guests results in more guest requests. This is a good thing but it can overwhelm the limited hotel staff resources. Furthermore, the high employee turnover in the hotel industry can lead to inexperienced staff providing inconsistent responses to even basic, routine guest requests. Smart reply helps hotels deliver consistent replies to common guest requests in a timely fashion. When a guest request comes in, HelloShift infers the intent of the guest request using Natural Language Processing (NLP) that relies on Machine Learning (ML). Once inferred, HelloShift scans the answers provided by a property to their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and assists hotel staff in replying to the guest via a feature called Smart Reply. By default, Smart Reply suggests the right answer for the staff to pick and respond manually. A property can also deploy Smart Reply on auto-pilot (Smart Auto-Reply). Between Smart Reply and Smart Auto-Reply, HelloShift lets hotels choose the extent to which they want to stay authentic and high touch -- a big goal in hospitality. To deliver phenomenal guest service, hotels need Guest Messaging (to understand guest needs) and Staff Collaboration (to fulfill guest needs). Most solutions address only one or the other. HelloShift provides Staff Collaboration and Guest Messaging in one integrated platform. No more dropped tasks between separate, poorly integrated apps. This results in soaring guest satisfaction scores, with hotels reporting 56% more and 25% better TripAdvisor reviews. Read HelloShift Reviews   Roomchecking: housekeeping software room assignment automation Labor cost ranges for at least 40% of the global cost of running a hotel. Usually, a hotel will hire permanent cleaning staff for 50% of occupancy and tap into external cleaners in case of higher occupancy. Forecasting the right amount of resources needed in a super volatile environment with reservations coming in and out with all specificities (back to back, day uses, MICE) is not a simple task. If you add labor constraints (max number of rooms, balancing between stay and due out, floor and section constraint), it is easy to understand why supervisors spend so much time every day into planning daily cleaning. Every morning, supervisors (or inspectors), log into the Automatic Planner. They will immediately see all the rooms to be cleaned with ETA, ETDs, VIPs, Queues, Day Use. They make sure all cleaning staff is present and will make necessary adjustments. With all the constraints and rules already preloaded, they will click on "Create Plan" and within seconds, the best cleaning path will appear. They will be able to modify it with the mouse and submit it so cleaners can begin working.As cleaners enter rooms, set DND, delays or clean rooms, they will be able to see the progress of the plan in real-time. The automatic planner is based on constraints, not on rules. it can take geography constraints (like addresses for apartments but also buildings and towers and floors), time constraints, credits constraints and many more. Most existing products just distribute rooms with very basic rules. Read RoomChecking Reviews       Revenue Management & Big Data   The reason revenue management software companies continue to lead innovation in the hotel tech industry is two-fold.  On one hand, revenue management companies drive tangible topline gains so it's easy for hoteliers to justify investment with crystal clear ROI forecasts and easy to understand time savings.  More investment from hotels means more R&D at those firms and ultimately more innovation.  On the other, revenue management companies have access to massive datasets which means limitless opportunities to learn, iterate and grow.   IDeaS: Improved forecasting for newly renovated inventory Due to the limited available data, hotels face significant challenges when trying to accurately forecast demand and set prices by room type for newly renovated inventory. IDeaS has expanded its Limited Data Build feature in its G3 Revenue Management System (RMS) to provide a data-driven solution for hotels undergoing room renovations. Limited Data Build scientifically predicts demand for new hotel properties and, with this latest enhancement, now enables existing hotels adding newly renovated inventory to receive an immediate, precise forecast by room type. Using historical sold information and booking patterns, combined with the hotel’s sales projections, Limited Data Build enables hotel revenue managers to immediately utilize accurate data for their new room types, rather than waiting for actual data to materialize over time. This advanced functionality is a unique offering on the RMS-vendor market, allowing hotels a new opportunity to leverage accurate data insights to optimize revenue from day one of renovated room sales by room type. Read IDeaS Reviews   Pegasus: Distribution analytics connects data silos and provides actionable insight Distribution Analytics is a business intelligence platform that allows hoteliers to streamline their data analysis and save hours of administrative work needed to collate and corroborate spreadsheets. Hotel data often lives in multiple platforms, and bringing these data sets together to get a full picture of performance involves a lot of manual work — you need to download the raw data, bring it together on a spreadsheet, and then run various analyses to understand what's going on. And even then, it can be very hard to drill down and pinpoint a specific cause of any particular trend. Distribution Analytics helps solve that problem. This interactive platform brings together CRS, PMS, Channel Manager, GDS, call center and website data into one dashboard, giving hotels a 360-view of their hotel performance and allowing revenue managers to drill down into any aspect of distribution performance. The data comes in real-time, meaning that you can act quickly to identify trends that may be affecting your hotel bookings. For example, hotels can easily track historic and future pace of bookings in a standard dashboard, so you can see if you are behind from previous years. Then you can take action to remedy that situation, such as running a special offer. Or you can also drill down into geographic markets to see which ones are driving the most business, and set marketing strategies accordingly. Or as a brand, you can see how their entire portfolio is performing, or filter it by country to see how hotels in one market are performing in comparison to another market. The platform is built for flexibility and can bring in different types of data from different sources. Want to see how your Google Analytics data compares to your actual booking engine data? Our platform allows you to do that. The interactive capabilities of the platform are also quite unique; there are many ways to slice, dice, filter, and drill down into data — including geographically. The platform also includes collaborative tools so that revenue managers can annotate and share their findings within the organization. Think of it as Tableau but specifically for the hotel industry. Read Pegasus Reviews   OTA Insight: Compare different rate types within your hotel and against the competition Many of OTA Insight's clients were asking for additional Excel exporting functionalities: they wanted the ability to export specific rate types from our tool. When digging deeper, the company found out the reason behind this question, namely that users wanted to combine these different Excel exports manually to find out the changes between these different rate types. So the real problem was in fact that hoteliers needed a tool through which they could compare the different rate types of their competitors and figure out what discounting strategies their competitors apply on their BAR rates. The Compare Module allows users to compare different rate types for your own hotel, as well as your competitors, and to have a view on the average discounting strategy of each competitor. As a hotel, you choose which two data sets you want to compare. Examples include comparing mobile rates to desktop rates, comparing breakfast rates to room-only rates, comparing membership rates to public rates, and so on. OTA Insight's tool then presents the two datasets next to each other in a simple, user-friendly way, emphasising the rate changes and exposing the discounting strategies of competitors. The strength of this feature lies within its ease of use and its simplicity. Most of OTA Insight's subscribing hotels use this feature on a monthly basis, as the strategies do not change that often. They use it to gain insights into how their competitors are discounting in order to stay competitive within the market. What would you do if, for example, you found out your competitors give their members 3% off during weekdays and 5% during weekends? Would you adjust your strategy towards your members? It is by providing these strategic insights for hotels that they can stay even more competitive within their market, without them having to manually figure it all out. OTA Insight's tool provides the industry’s first comparison module that allows hotels to compare different rate types and that shows the discounting strategies of the hotel’s competitors. None of the competition has been able to offer these strategic insights in an easy-to-understand and easy-to-use way. Read OTA Insight Reviews   Pace: Inventory hierarchies ensure your brand strategy while maximizing RevPAR With demand-based dynamic pricing and automation there are instances where a hotelier wants to ensure that certain hierarchies between inventories are retained to be in-line with the property’s branding and meet customer expectations. This leads to Hoteliers being challenged with either losing out on revenue due to rigid price structures or giving into the possibility of product offerings being inconsistent with your branding and strategy. With Inventory Hierarchies, all you need to do as a hotelier is provide a hierarchy of your inventories and a minimum price buffer you would like to retain between them. Pace’s algorithm handles the rest, acknowledging these hierarchies and maximising RevPAR across your full inventory by simulating demand for countless pricing scenarios. There is a true paradigm shift with Pace’s Inventory Hierarchies as hoteliers can now setup their product offerings in a way that maintains their branding and strategy, while also allowing for the maximum RevPAR optimisation through dynamic, demand-based pricing.   Juyo: Connecting disparate data sources with constellations Today hotels have access to a wide variety of data in different systems and places. Not only extracting that data is hard but also deriving insights from it is equally hard.Constellations are connected analytics that combine different widgets and dashboards that serve a specific business purpose. The goal of constellations is to connect external and internal data sources and empower hotel users to Fastrack decision making by connecting the dots. Constellations are used daily by revenue managers, general managers, analysts and other members of the hotel commercial team. Some give high-level information like on the books data while some deep dive in Net Revenue analytics.In the example of net revenue, hotels can use the data to track net RevPAR for past and future, optimize sales and marketing budget, track campaign ROI and develop the most profitable business and channel mix. The uniqueness of constellations is that in the analytics applications spectrum there are 2 categories. On the far left, you have the tools that offer reporting and dashboards that have been predefined. These are your typical hotel BI applications that are easy to use but often luck context in how the data is modeled. On the far right, you have tools such as Tableau or PowerBI that are extremely powerful but very difficult to model the data and put something together. Juyo constellations sits exactly in the middle and offers the best of each world. Read Juyo Reviews   Profit Intelligence: Smart sales & distribution helps make sense of channel profitability in real time One of hoteliers top revenue management and distribution issues is to monitor and leverage cost of client acquisition. The complexity of sales and distribution, make almost impossible to just know what is the real NET value of a reservation. Hoteliers all know their commission percentages per travel agent, but often forget or cannot calculate other important related costs such as credit card fees, loyalty member program expense, sales team commissions etc. This problem makes their sales & distribution decisions really difficult and often results in poor decision making. Knowing these costs in real time, sliced by channel, market segment and account canbe a true strategic advantage to your hotel and help drive bottom line results (via higher GOPPAR). Hoteliers get set up with PI team support who analyze different costs of sales & distribution through a user friendly interface that guides you through the process. Each cost gets attributed to a reservation using different methods depending on the cost (Distribution key, recurring fee, period of override etc.). Profit Intelligence Smart Sales & Distribution algorithm will then calculate the cost for each past and future reservation dynamically and make predictions for future bookings. Results will be displayed in different meaningful dashboards from top level to account level. From their hotelier can know what is the exact NET value of his reservations and even check the NET value for each Travel Agent or corporate account. The easy to use DIY interface for hoteliers to set up their cost structure and visualize results make this new module unique. The chain view and chain costs management feature is also unique in that it allows hotel chains or management companies to consolidate costs from all hotels using smart mapping feature to eliminate brand specific details. Profit Intelligence   RateGain: MarketDrone provides intraday rate updates to your mobile device without running reports An average hotel in North America changes its rates 3-4 times a day. The frequency of rate changes increases as we get closer to check-in dates. In other words, hotels are constantly changing rates for existing plans and introducing new rate plans close to check-in-date to sell off their unsold inventory and maximize revenue. As such, traditional batch dependent rate shopping tools are redundant and manually triggered reports are inefficient. They are not able to capture and highlight the intra-day rate changes that happen on the go. Hoteliers are in dire need of ways to help them stay on top of these real-time changes and take action when it still matters. RateGain’s MarketDrone is a feed that automatically pushes market changes through push notifications to Revenue Managers on a device of their choice. The instant alerts give notifications to Revenue Managers or other users as soon as market changes. In other words, whenever, any competitive hotel makes a rate change, an alert is triggered to the subscribed Revenue Manager or user. This is a shift from the current experience provided by traditional rate shopping tools where Revenue Managers has to pre-schedule reports and spends a major chunk of their day looking for changes in their respective markets.  MarketDRONE tracks intra-day rate and rate plan changes by hotels in real-time and surfaces them on the go on a device of the user’s choice. It works on mobile, tablets and desktops. With MarketDRONE, Revenue Managers can be assured of staying on top of competitive landscape while they focus on what matters the most, i.e. making strategic decisions, improving business and boosting profits. Always keep an eye on market changes and keep yourself abreast of competitive landscapes on the fly. Not only can you keep an eye on market changes, but also respond to them as soon as they happen by taking corrective actions.  A Revenue Manager or any user do not have to come to the rate-shopping tool every time to know about the market changes. They do not have to run a complete report. The notifications update them on the changes. As such, they can focus on the more important strategic decisions involved in day-to-day revenue management.  With MarketDrone, revenue managers can be proactive about new promotional rate plans when nearby competitive hotels introduce them. Read RateGain Reviews   BONUS: 9+ Notable WTM London Product Launches   TrustYou launches direct response to Google and Booking in platform With this enhanced functionality, TrustYou users can now reply to the majority of all reviews directly without having to leave the platform. This development addresses a hotel’s increasing need to save valuable time and improve operations with technology. By responding directly to guest reviews received from Booking.com, Google, and TrustYou’s powered guest satisfaction surveys, hoteliers can respond on average to up to 78% of their total reviews without having to leave the TrustYou platform. Guests write reviews to be listened to and it is of great importance for businesses to reply to them. The limited capacity of many hoteliers to respond to all reviews means that there is a great need the new features addresses.Users can draft the response to a review in the TrustYou platform. Available response templates make it easier for users to address the feedback. Once submitted, the response will be pushed live to Google or Booking.com and the users do not have to leave the TrustYou platform to respond to a review for a hotel. Replying to reviews is essential in today’s sharing economy and online search-and-buy experience, as users expect their feedback and shared experiences to be valued by hotels. With these new feature enhancements, hotels can make a big impact on Booking.com and Google, where a majority of travelers start to search and book their accommodations, to actively influence a traveler’s booking decision. Actively managing the response and having a high response rate has a positive effect on the online reputation. TrustYou enables users to make this a priority, with easy response templates and that is available in different languages. Read TrustYou Reviews   hotelkit unveils its housekeeping software solution Cleanliness is one of the most important criteria for guests, which makes housekeeping a very important factor when running a hotel business. The correct deployment of personnel, the structure of workflows and ongoing monitoring are key so operations can run smoothly. In most hotels, housekeeping processes are inefficient and do not meet guest requirements. The housekeeping tool simplifies all processes within the department. The executive housekeeper or the housekeeper in charge can easily assign the rooms to the cleaning staff based on time resources and qualifications. With clear checklists, it is easy for the housekeeping supervisor to carry out inspections, thus guaranteeing a high standard of quality. Housekeeping staff is able to work neatly and efficiently with checklists. Recurring tasks make everyday jobs easier. After cleaning, the current room status is reported directly to the Property Management System, so the reception team is always up to date. The housekeeping solution lets you stay on top of traceable, paperless processes by using a PC, tablet or smartphone. Simple and fast distribution of work according to the time resources and qualifications of the employees can work wonders in terms of efficiency. Structured checklists for room cleaning and inspection ensure top quality. Thanks to real-time updates, you always have an overview of the cleaning progress. Read hotelkit Reviews   Bookboost launches a new guest messaging inbox Bookboost provides a messaging platform throughout the whole guest journey. Our new inbox makes sure the conversation with guests end up in the right inboxes. Also we provide hoteliers with AI based suggestions so during, especially, repetitive conversations they are able to automate most of those conversations while maintaining to be personal. Thirdly our new inbox delivers a cockpit view over the guests. For example it enables hoteliers to give location based suggestions for, for example, restaurants or bars, after a guests shared their location via Whatsapp. Lets say a hotelier has a reservation office and 3 receptions in 3 hotels. Our inbox routing makes sure that reservation inquiries end up in the reservation office and that if a guests talks with a brand via Whatsapp this conversation will end up at the right reception at the right hotel.Also it enables staff in the hotel to collaborate and hand over converstion to each other. For example, a guest with a room service inquiry, can be handed over to the room service team by a receptionist. There are many guest messaging solutions on the market, however our tool makes it practical for bigger organisations to make sure that the right conversation ends up at the right people in the hotel. Combining the power of a range of messaging channels, PMS systems, an advanced CRM, and AI for conversational suggestions. Enabling groups & brands to share user data & intelligence between properties while making sure the right person talks to the right person in the hotel. Read Bookboost Reviews   Net Affinity launches 12 conversion updates to their high performance booking engine templates Based on extensive research and testing (including A/B testing, exit intent and user flow studies) Net Affinity hasdeveloped 12 key updates for their desktop and mobile booking engine templates. Their mission is to significantly simplify the booking process for hotel guests – with a special emphasis on mobile experience. The purpose of Net Affinity’s booking engine is, simply, to drive more direct bookings for their clients. The updates they’ve made were informed by ongoing quarterly device data trends analysis & reports which have shown consistent increases in mobile traffic and revenue. Their most recent in-depth report shows a mobile revenue increase of 6% (from Q2 to Q3 2019). With mobile at 45%, desktop at 44% and tablet at 1%, this means mobile revenue now trumps desktop revenue. The new templates will be an automatic upgrade for all Net Affinity clients. Their booking engine will work the same.  All that changes is the experience for the user will be even better. Some of the key enhancements include: - New Searchbox which includes a new Book Direct feature sidebar and improved promo code fields. - New top panel on mobile with filters and summary - New mobile “cards” feature for roomtype scrolling - Breadcrumbs have been simplified and animated - Improved booking summary - New occupancy filter functionality - Simplied Reservation Form - UI and UX refinements" Net Affinity is seeing 2 out of 3 users visiting their client’s hotel websites on mobile which has lead them to continue releasing smart, timely product updates that fully support the mobile booking experience. Read Net Affinity Reviews   Monscierge adds image functionality to its Connect Staff product There are three main use-cases for the new images feature: 1. Overcoming language barriers between hotel staff (using pictures to describe a chair is broken in rm. 213 or that a wall socket is loose etc.) and another, 2. Collecting penalty fees from guests opting to smoke in non-smoking rooms. By combining images of a room with incurred fees with the guest room policies signed by guests during check-in, Hilton Belfast City now has an easier process to more readily service their guest rooms.) 3. Creating a new task quickly and/or without language barriers or delayed reporting by floor;or utilize a quicker flow for room turnover and use the image/photo functionality to record issues in the room. Monscierge had several clients that asked if they had considered it, because while their teams were generally using Connect Staff for most things, at times it became faster to portray an urgency or need quicker by also following up on the requests/issues pushed through the app with a separate picture taken on their phones and sent through regular text between departments. Building it into the app allows the hotels to have that same option, but to also keep it together with the other details of the room turnover as well as become permanent documentation for that room in the Connect CMS portal - hotels cannot track images and messages from text messages as easily. Therefore it cuts short the overall data accrued each year.Housekeeping, maintenance, front desk, GM, operations, concierge... any member of staff that the hotel has assigned as a user. An application for hotel staff that take into consideration images/pictures functionality to communicate quickly what an issue might be, or to use for validating front office claims when trying to recoup money quickly, is a differentiator compared to other staff products.All of this data including images, is then stored for that specific room’s history. Read Monscierge Reviews   Nonius launches a branded guest app When guests make a reservation at a given hotel, they receive an email to download the hotel’s app. After installing it, guests immediately get access to information about the hotel’s services, events, landmarks of the city and the Online Check-In. If the guests check-in online, they can go directly to their room and use the digital room key to get in. The Nonius app allows for guests to enjoy Room control over the lights and the AC, while also using their mobile device as a TV Remote Control. Guests can make requests for room service, all while keeping an eye on the bill and being able to Check-out without waiting at the front-desk. The Nonius App has unlimited integration capacity and is integrated with the main PMS players. This allows single sites and hotel groups for infinite scalability. Read Nonius Reviews   HotelTime Solutions launches a PMS with specific functionality designed for serviced apartments Recognizing that serviced apartment operations require specific features within the PMS, HotelTime has been working hard in the past two years to bring innovative tech solutions to this part of the hospitality sector. HotelTime Serviced Apartments has been developing as a specialized version of the PMS based on feedback from our customers running serviced apartments.HotelTime Service Apartment features include : - Customised set of features with some standard PMS feature tweaked or removed and specific Serviced Apartment features added, like housekeeping and maintenance tools- 2-way integration to channel managers in multi-location environment where 1 PMS connects to various channel manager endpoints due to multiple OTA listings (one per each location)- Extended reporting ‘by apartment numbers’ for operations with multiple apartment owners (to be able to report revenue to each owner)- Automated ‘room number assignment’ adjusted to allocate different apartments to spread revenue proportionally throughout the property- Extended reporting by location as well as aggregated reporting by clusters in a multi-location environment Read hoteltime Reviews   Jonas Chorum launches mobile app for it's popular cloud PMS Chorum Mobile solves the issue of guests being unable to adequately reach hotel staff or having to wait long periods of time to get assistance by communicating with the front desk via their mobile device to order services. In addition, the ability to check-in and check-out speeds up the arrival/departure times and provides a more seamless experience overall. Chorum Mobile is accessible by both the hotel staff through the software and by the guests through a mobile application. Hotel staff utilize this on a daily basis, allowing them to be untethered from the front desk and perform actions such as messaging both guests and staff members, checking guests in/out, viewing room status in real-time, and documenting maintenance items. Chorum Mobile is truly device and platform agnostic, meaning it can be used on any tablet or smartphone. Security permissions allow properties to maintain complete control over who has access to the mobile app and what functions they can utilize. In addition, Chorum Mobile leverages cloud technology to ensure all data is updated and available in real-time. Read Jonas Chorum Reviews   HotelRunner launches its third generation booking engine With HotelRunner’s third-generation Booking Engine, properties can market their property online by uploading photographs, writing room descriptions, entering the room details and amenities. They can manage their direct reservations and availabilities with ease and provide secure payment methods to their website visitors. HotelRunner provides properties a code that they copy and paste onto their website. This code links their property’s website to their HotelRunner inventory, which allows them to display their rates and availability, promotions, packages and offers in real-time. Therefore, hoteliers can easily showcase their inventory and the website visitors can book a room seamlessly. Apart from the completely customizable appearance and infrastructure, with its minimalist and effective design, the new Booking Engine will encourage potential guests to make a reservation, resulting in a boost in reservation revenues. HotelRunner’s third-generation Booking Engine is different from its competitors in many ways: Seamless real-time inventory update, completely customizable appearance, availability calendar, and packages and offers tab. The properties can set market-specific payment methods and pricing, upload 360° virtual tour photos, set all their rate types, and create campaigns seasonally, integrate virtual POS or online payment systems to provide a secure booking experience. However, the newest, the most functional and unique feature of HotelRunner’s third-generation Booking Engine is the “Recommendation” feature. With this newly-added feature, the most suitable alternative room and price option for their guests is displayed as a recommendation. Read HotelRunner Reviews   -- Did we miss an innovative launch? Let us know via live chat!  

Real Time Pricing: Why It's Like F1 For Revenue Managers

by
Alexandra Fjällman
2 weeks ago

The hotel next door is pricing their rooms faster than you and it’s eating your profits without you ever even noticing.  Faster yield management software and real time pricing is like a secret weapon for revenue managers. If your local market competition is employing real time pricing, you are likely bleeding RevPAR so this concept of real time price optimization is especially important to understand and get a grip on. If your competition isn’t using real time pricing yet (which they most likely aren’t), this article will show you how you can use it to beat out the compset. Imagine a world where one hedge fund (Hedge Fund Lightspeed) has computers that process data every second and another (Hedge Fund Slowpoke) has computers that process on an hourly basis.  Both funds are invested in oil. In our hypothetical, news breaks that Saudi Arabia has decided to decrease oil production meaning that oil prices will go up in the future.  Hedge Fund Lightspeed buys up as much oil stocks as they can which drives prices up within minutes. Hedge Fund Slowpoke doesn’t process the data around rising prices for an hour which means by the time they buy oil stocks - prices have already increased dramatically.  Hedge Fund Slowpoke doesn’t even realize that they’ve lost money until it’s too late and Hedge Fund Lightspeed has just made billions just by calculating prices faster. Your hotel may not be losing billions, but you could be leaving thousands on the table if you aren’t pricing in real time.   Real time pricing is a must for every hotel   Not too long ago, the concept of revenue management was all about pulling reports and using historical data to try to predict future demand, comp set data, pick-up pace and future revenue. This worked fairly well 20 years ago when the competition was pricing their rooms manually.  As markets have evolved and become faster paced, hotels have gotten more sophisticated with their pricing strategies.  In today’s world, updating hotel room prices once a month, week or even day simply doesn’t cut it anymore. “Revenue managers need only to look at how the stock market has evolved to see where their trade is moving.  Stock traders have everything to lose which has led to massive investment in real time trading. Tenths of a second can literally mean billions of dollars for hedge funds.  While hotels don’t see losses at this scale - the concept and importance of real time pricing is exactly the same.” ~Jordan Hollander, CEO at Hotel Tech Report The challenge for revenue managers today is that they must constantly gather market signals, collect data, determine what the data means for their strategy and be ready to update rates at a moment’s notice. Manual data collection in Excel spreadsheets renders any kind of meaningful analysis nearly impossible simply because it’s too slow and the market has shifted by the time any analysis gets done no matter how good that analysis is (or was in this case). The problem is that, even if you comb through your reports and try to keep your eyes peeled for slight changes in the market, it is simply not possible for a human being to keep up without the assistance of software. By the time you get around to analyzing numbers, they are already outdated which means opportunities remain untapped and your hotel leaves money on the table.  The most challenging aspect of this is that the lost revenue never shows up on your P&L so most hoteliers don’t even know the leakage is there in the first place. Modern revenue management systems (RMS) help to improve the situation by offering revenue managers easy-to-apply rate suggestions.  Historically the biggest weakness for these systems has been that they aren’t like the stock exchanges updating prices down to the second - a great deal of the data used to make those recommendations is often several hours old. The reason for this is that each set of price recommendations needs to be optimized or calculated. In order to factor all statistically significant variables more frequent optimization runs are required. Until now, this has meant that if the last optimization run was completed 45 minutes before you logged into your RMS, the prices you are looking at are not fully up to date because by definition they are 45 minutes old.   Real time pricing is the future of revenue management and it’s already here   To make sure your hotel is not missing out on revenue, room prices need to get updated at the highest frequency possible. What used to be a matter of days or even hours can today be a matter of minutes or even seconds – especially in hyper dynamic cities like New York, London or Singapore and even more so in the final hours of the booking window. Consequently, a fully automated system working in real time gives your hotel an edge over the competition when you need it most. Real-time rate optimization has for a long time been seen as fiction – but not anymore. By continuously leveraging the newest data points, Atomize, a next gen revenue management system, calculates the optimal rate via real-time optimization algorithms.  Atomize can then push those rates back to the PMS through a 2-way connection. With Atomize, hotels can continuously have real-time rates pushed live, around the clock, 365 days into the future, dynamically for all room types. This ground-breaking new technology brings the hotel industry into a new era – the future is here today.   How does real time pricing work?   To understand how this work we “look under the hood” of Atomize RMS. In full autopilot mode, Atomize continuously receives data from the PMS and continuously runs real time optimization runs and pushes the optimal rates back to the PMS for all room types and all future arrival dates around the clock where each price point is uniquely calculated in real time. In addition to considering historical data such as reservations, cancellations and current pickups, Atomize RMS also monitors real time changes, search trends, competitor information and other factors such as local holidays and dynamically sets the price per room type while respecting pricing hierarchy and takes into account the effect on adjacent days and room types. As any data points above change for any future arrival date, relevant price points continuously need to be updated. In essence, for a typical hotel Atomize RMS technically offers the capability to calculate more than 50 billion price points a year. In practice, so many price changes aren’t usually required even for a hotel in a fast changing, dynamic location but, as markets continue to become more dynamic, it's important to work with a revenue management system that has the horsepower to calculate rates more quickly than the competition.    What hoteliers can gain from real-time rate optimization   In hyper competitive markets, being able to adapt to real-time changes requires you to update prices that are calculated in real time. For example, you can: Ensure to have updated optimal prices when a big (or small) event is announced in your city or close proximity. For example, imagine a big concert is announced in your city and as a consequence there is an instant huge increase in demand, booking searches on that specific date hit the roof and hotel rooms are being sold out in your area. Having access to real-time pricing in this scenario will ensure that your rooms instantly, in seconds, increase in price and you don’t risk selling out your rooms too cheap. Immediately react to changes in dynamic, fast paced markets. For example, if occupancy rate or competitor prices changes rapidly you will be able to respond to that immediately with real-time price recommendations and stay confident you will have optimal pricing on your room at any time and you will have a strong, unique competitive advantage in your market. Creating this kind of highly dynamic pricing strategy leads to an optimized approach which will have a strong impact on your bottom line. One of Atomize biggest customers, Gothia Towers in Gothenburg in Sweden explains why real-time pricing is essential to them: “Gothenburg is a very dynamic market that quickly can turn, that combined with Gothia Towers large proportion of group bookings, means that our occupancy rate can change dramatically in just seconds. Waiting for several hours for a new optimal price to be calculated is simply not sustainable for us. Therefore, it is a great advantage and security for us to work with Atomize that supports real-time pricing, we know that we are always right in price no matter how fast the market turns!” says Johan Forsberg, Revenue Director at Gothia Towers in Gothenburg Overall, basing revenue management on real-time prices helps you spend less time gathering data and crunching numbers and making sure you are never leaving money on the table.  Most importantly, real time price optimization ensures that you are always one step ahead of the competition which is critical for stealing share and maximizing rates during need periods.    

3 Surprising Routines that Unlock Revenue Management Genius

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 week ago

People are creatures of habit, but as a revenue manager, it can seem like every day consists of catching up on your mountain of work, so you never really get in the groove. Maybe your to-do list is endless or you can’t seem to find time in the day to get everything done. After all, revenue management is both a science and an art, which requires revenue managers to utilize a breadth of skills, so it’s only natural to feel stretched to your limits. “What does it take to make a successful revenue manager? Well, some savvy maths skills are good, but a poker player’s eye for the odds and a stock broker’s flare for riding the market is always helpful. Often it’s about holding your nerve and being able to predict the next trend on the market.” -International Hotel Investments Though many revenue managers have a business background, the analytical side of revenue management is not pure science. Number crunching and market research are the foundations of good revenue management, but that’s not all that revenue management involves. The more abstract, creative side requires understanding the nuances of your market while being both fluid and dynamic adapting to the latest developments. Successful revenue management is equal parts art and science, a challenging task that pulls in two very different skill sets. Introducing rituals into your day can help you develop discipline, avoid being swayed by emotions, and get into that “deep work” mindset, all of which are essential to unleashing your inner revenue manager genius. Bridging the gap between art and science requires a lot of brainpower, and it’s easy to feel caught up in the shuffle. To help keep a clean mind and develop discipline, take a tip from the many great minds who attribute their success to their treasured daily rituals. Beethoven, for example, was said to count out exactly 60 coffee beans for his morning cup of joe. Oprah Winfrey is said to meditate for 20 minutes first thing each morning. And author Steven King writes at least 2,000 words every day without fail.  Below we discuss surprising habits that can unlock your potential when it comes to yield management, RevPAR optimization and beating out the compset.   Revenue managers who don’t automate have no time to be strategic   Imagine the daily routines of two revenue managers who both have long lists of tasks to complete, reports to review, and meetings to attend. One revenue manager pulls reports manually, updates rates in several different systems, and struggles to prepare for meetings because there’s just not enough time in the day. The other revenue manager has embraced automation and walks into the office to check custom reports that are automatically compiled, updates rates effortlessly in their RMS’s mobile app, and finds enough time to chat with other departments in between meetings. What’s the key difference here? Automation. A revenue management system that offers automation capability, such as Duetto, can free up time in any revenue manager’s day. Let the system handle the busy work while you listen to feedback from other departments or learn about your market at industry events. When you spend fewer hours on routine tasks, you can dedicate additional time to becoming a more strategic hotel professional, just like these two Duetto users: “Helps streamline our day to day business, we can monitor, alter and compare our pricing strategy quickly and efficiently. It provides valuable insight on metrics that would otherwise be time consuming to find.” -GM from Resort in San Marcos, CA “My favorite feature of Duetto is Scoreboard . I love its ability to compile and filter data to fit my needs in a matter of seconds! I no longer need to spend hours collecting stats from the PMS instead more of my time is spent towards strategy. Game changer is also AMAZING. I literally just set my pricing rules and Duetto does the rest.” -Director of Revenue Management from Austin, TX Without automating these core functions, you won’t have time for these 3 habits that allow you to enhance your productivity. When you have a revenue management system in place, be sure to implement these 3 daily rituals to help you tap into your inner revenue management genius:   Habit #1: Go take a hike! No, seriously.   Crunching numbers and analyzing reports are mentally draining tasks, and you might find yourself thinking in terms of Excel formulas and shortcuts after a while. Give yourself a mental reset by taking a break from the screen and going for a walk. Going for a walk doesn’t just feel good, it can actually help you generate ideas, be more creative, and think strategically. In addition to his morning coffee, Beethoven was also known to take long walks after lunch. Take a tip from the musical genius and bring a notebook and pen along, so you can take notes when inspiration strikes. Besides boosting your emotional state, walking improves blood flow and overall brain function. Moderate exercise, such as walking, has been proven to literally grow your brain, thus increasing your capacity for critical thinking. As Shelley Carson mentions in her book, Your Creative Brain: Seven Steps to Maximize Imagination, Productivity, and Innovation in Your Life,  “Everyone has a built-in censoring system in their brains that filters thoughts, images, and memories, and stimuli from the outside world before they reach conscious awareness. Learning to loosen up this mental filtering system to allow more novel ideas and stimuli into conscious awareness is one of the biggest challenges for people who don’t think of themselves as creative.”  Walking is a fantastic way to loosen your mental filters so you can grasp new ideas and tackle challenges with a positive attitude.   Habit #2: Dedicate time to meditating on and internalizing hotel market trends   Automation can help you tackle the “science” piece of revenue management, which leaves you with more time to dive into the “art.” When we get bogged down with the minutiae of day-to-day tasks, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. For a strategic revenue manager, understanding the market’s “bigger picture” is crucial, so dedicating time to research and education about the market can have an impact on your results. Google famously allows their employees to spend 20% of their time on anything they think will impact the business. This policy might sound radical, especially in a hotel environment, but allotting a certain amount of time each day to focus on digesting market information will help you make more informed decisions. Even in just a few minutes each day, you can gain valuable insight by researching the market cycle and macroeconomic trends. Perhaps you can dial into earnings calls for public companies with properties in your market or connect with hotel brokers at firms like CBRE and JLL to gauge where metrics like RevPAR and ADR are trending. Networking events and presentations by groups like HSMAI and even casual meetups are also great opportunities to gather information from fellow revenue managers and peers.   Habit #3: Set a clear dividing line between important work and busy work   Maybe you’ve heard about authors who head to an isolated cabin to write books, and while that strategy might sound a bit extreme, they do have a point. Author and philosopher Henry David Thoreau relocated to the woods for two years seeking clarity of mind, and he produced the classic Walden after that experience. Eliminating distractions is crucial to finding your “groove” of productivity. Today, with constant notifications from email, social media, the news, and more, it’s harder than ever to find those periods of uninterrupted focus. However, with a little effort, even a busy revenue manager can find a few moments of much-needed peace and quiet. "The routine requires a lot of discipline because of the distractions that come up on a daily basis. We constantly have to be planning and adjusting strategies for the future, which is the most important part of the job while explaining the events that caused the recent results. So we to be successful, we have to be in tune with past, present and future." ~Rafik El Guizawi, Corporate Revenue Manager @ Dimension Development When you have an important analytical task at hand, a couple strategies can help you focus. Exit your email application to avoid the temptation to open messages. Put your phone away. Maybe even find a quiet meeting room where you can work so that you don’t get distracted by visitors coming to your office. It’s important to prevent distractions as much as possible because, according to a University of California-Irvine study, regaining your initial momentum after an interruption can take up to 20 minutes.   Start to implement these productivity-boosting routines today   In today’s digital age, revenue managers are fortunate to have systems like Duetto that offer intelligence and automation, freeing them up to focus on strategy and creativity. With a clear distinction between important work and busy work, you can enhance your revenue management strategy with a holistic understanding of your market and a clear mind - thanks to stretching your legs on a daily walk. With a well balanced life and the discipline that comes from daily routines, you too can unlock your inner revenue management genius.  With all the time savings you'll get from implementing revenue management software at your hotel you'll be able to dedicate more time to the critical habits above and to further your revenue management learning to get a competitive edge.

What is Big Data and How is it Impacting the Hotel Industry?

by
Hotel Tech Report
4 weeks ago

The phrase big data was coined in the 1990s, but since Facebook arrived on the scene in 2005, the term has taken on a whole new meaning. Facebook users upload 243,000 photos every minute, according to some estimates – and that’s just the tip of the big data iceberg. Big data now touches everything from product development to machine learning to fraud and consumer security. And, of course, the hospitality industry is no exception. Big data can bring big wins for hoteliers – if it’s understood and utilized effectively.   What is big data? “Big data” is the term used to describe the large volume of structured and unstructured data that a business collects every day. By analyzing big data, businesses can gain insights that lead to better business decisions, beat competitors, learn about their customers in-depth, and grow strategically. According to experts at The Economist, the world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil – it’s data. “Smartphones and the internet have made data abundant, ubiquitous and far more valuable. Whether you are going for a run, watching TV or even just sitting in traffic, virtually every activity creates a digital trace—more raw material for the data distilleries,” says one report. The concept of big data goes deeper than simply a large amount of information. Industry analysts use “the Three V’s” to define big data more specifically. They are volume, velocity, and variety. Volume refers to the sheer magnitude of volume that is being collected – an estimated 180 zettabytes in the digital universe by 2025. Velocity covers the pace at which this data is being collected, which increases day by day. Each minute, it’s estimated that email users send 156 million messages. Processing this amount of incoming data is a massive challenge for data scientists and companies alike. Lastly, variety is a factor which covers the form in which data is collected. There are two forms of data collection: structured and unstructured. Structured data can be organized easily in a database and is relatively easy to analyze and store. Unstructured data, however, is difficult to sort and includes emails, social media posts, audio and video files, web pages, and more. There are other dimensions to big data that data scientists use in their analysis. But, you don’t need to be a data scientist to take advantage of the world’s most valuable resource. All you need are the right data tools in place to help your hotel collect and surface actionable insights.    Why does big data matter? Big data is absolutely transformational for businesses in every industry. “Data are now part of every sector and function of the global economy and, like other essential factors of production such as hard assets and human capital, much of modern economic activity simply could not take place without them,” reports consulting firm McKinsey. “The use of big data — large pools of data that can be brought together — will become the key basis of competition and growth for individual firms, enhancing productivity and creating significant value for the world economy.” In the retail sector, research has shown that embracing big data can improve a company’s operating margin by 60%. In the US healthcare sector, using big data effectively could reduce costs by 8%. From telecommunications to fitness, banking to manufacturing, big data is improving business operations, customer experience, resource optimization, and supply-chain efficiency. The hospitality industry is no different. There is an ever-increasing amount of guest data intelligence available to hoteliers – website metrics, call center data, consumer profiles, transactional data, and survey data all offer new data streams from which hoteliers can gain insight. Most hotels and resorts already have a substantial amount of data – they just aren’t sure how to utilize it.    Big data examples in the hospitality industry Big data may seem like an all-encompassing term, but there are some pieces of information that are not classified as big data. Big data gets collected throughout the guest journey from marketing, guest experience, business intelligence, and personalization. Generic data that is collected at the market level, such as STR reports, do not qualify as big data, including:  Market penetration index: this is a measure of a hotel’s occupancy in comparison to the average market occupancy levels. It’s similar to market share, and while it’s useful information, it’s not considered big data.  Average Rate Index: this is the same as the market penetration, but instead of comparing occupancy, we compare rates. A rate greater than one indicates that your hotel is, on average, priced above your competitors.  Online review content: reviews of your hotel are not considered big data.  Hotels that misunderstand the concept of big data fail to reap the benefits of the datapoints at their disposal. This infographic outlines some of the most common pitfalls to businesses that aren’t invested in understanding big data.     Source: McKinsey & Co.   Big data allows your hotel adapt to trends in real time, run targeted marketing campaigns and so much more. Data from market intelligence software OTA Insight shows relevant demand data pertaining to all the factors impacting current and future demand. This analysis allows hotel owners to see accurate hotel market intelligence that combines pricing, demand, reputation, benchmarking, and on-the-books occupancy. Big data impacts everything from operations to marketing, room pricing to strategic investments.    Harnessing big data for your property Big data represents a wealth of intelligence at your disposal, but only if you have the tools to use it. Most of the data you receive will be in the form of unstructured data – which is where a tool like OTA Insight can help. This big data tool organizes large volumes of data into smaller, manageable insights you can use. “OTA Insight streams data through very small pieces in order to scale out and do thousands of data points at the same time instead of one by one. By transforming data piece by piece, the time between shopping the data and it then appearing on the dashboard is just a few seconds,” says one report. The platform pulls live rate shop data from many data sources, including hotel websites and online travel agencies. Then, OTA Insight provides actionable intelligence and insights in a clean user interface that’s accessible to even those who have no data analytics training. IT’s the easiest way to eliminate the busy work of manipulating Excel spreadsheets and gathering competitors’ past, current, and future rates by hand – and more reliable than trying to gather this information yourself. Rate Insight pulls in big data from a full list of leisure and corporate events, as well as online reputation, to paint a comprehensive and real-time picture of your market.    How to bring big data into your hotel’s culture Big data is a business imperative for the hospitality industry. But, not all big data is valuable. Let real business needs drive how and when you dive into datasets. Be proactive and align your investment with your needs. Seek out solutions that fit those needs, rather than throwing money at a problem. The sheer volume, velocity, and variety of big data can be overwhelming for hotel managers. This is where a tool like OTA Insight is critical for collecting and harvest high-quality data. Use a platform that can surface actionable insights; these tools present findings in clear and simple ways to hoteliers who rarely lack a data background. Keep it simple and always focus on results when communicating with your team, whether you’re working with a general manager, management company corporate, or owner. 

PCI and PSD2 Compliance: Why Are Hotels on the Hook?

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 weeks ago

Maybe you’ve heard about one of the many recent data hacks at businesses around the world. Or maybe one of these hacks affected you personally. In the last few years, hotels and hospitality companies (such as Sabre, Marriott, and Omni Hotels) have been hit by a seemingly never-ending barrage of security breaches that result in the theft of personal information, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data. These days, cyber security and regulatory compliance aren’t just necessary skills for the IT team. Every hotel manager - even the “non-tech savvy” ones - must understand these crucial components of data protection in order to protect their businesses. In this article, we’ll explain PCI and PSD2 compliance and describe actionable steps you can take today with systems like SiteMinder to protect your hotel business from online threats.   What is PCI compliance? Established in 2006, PCI stands for the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, which contains guidelines for accepting, storing, and processing credit card information. An organization is PCI compliant when it follows these regulations. PCI was put in place to protect consumers’ sensitive data, and, as a result, every merchant that uses credit card information must follow these rules, from small businesses to large corporations. Examples of these guidelines include using an online checkout/payment page controlled by a licensed 3rd-party service provider, storing credit card data via a 3rd-party “vault” provider rather than in your own system, and masking the full credit card number on receipts, showing only the last 4 digits instead.   What does PCI compliance mean for your hotel business? In an industry that processes billions of dollars in transactions per day, it makes sense that hotels would be attractive targets for hackers. Furthermore, a typical hotel uses several different payment and management systems which many employees can access, which can heighten the likelihood of a breach. No hotelier wants to suffer the loss of money and trust that comes with a cyber attack. For these reasons, it’s crucial that every hotelier maintain PCI compliance not only at the front desk, but in all of the systems that access or use guest data. A few rules of thumb include using PCI-compliant POS and PMS providers, storing both digital and paper data securely, and limiting access to sensitive data to only the employees who truly need it. PCI compliance training is readily available online, and many hoteliers require new employees to take a PCI compliance course before handling guest payment information. Taking the time to adhere to the PCI guidelines now can prevent costly security breaches later. “The attack on Marriott was hapless and still has many gaps to fill on what actually happened. A popular entry point for adversaries is through email spoofing. This tactic is used in phishing in order to get malware onto a target network to then move laterally across all systems.” Ryan Cornateanu, Application Security Engineer @ CrowdStrike   The Next Evolution of PCI: What is PSD2? As more and more transactions occur online, and as payment technology evolves, the PCI-DSS regulations outlined in 2006 needed some updating. In September 2019 the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) went into effect and applies any businesses who could potentially engage with European customers. Even businesses with little international business should still comply, since regulations like these are often mirrored in the United States and other countries soon after. Here at Hotel Tech Report we use Stripe to process payments and even with this top tier provider, we had to reinvent our entire payments infrastructure to comply with this regulation and some of its intricacies around payment authentication. PSD2 includes enhanced guidelines for online payments and the handling of sensitive data to reduce the risk of credit theft, fraud, and security breaches. One major change is the requirement of Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) for online transactions. With SCA, rather than simply typing in a credit card number and clicking “pay,” consumers will need to provide a second layer of authentication, which could be a PIN code or an SMS verification code, before the payment can go through.    What does PSD2 mean for your hotel business? Guests book nearly three-quarters of hotel reservations online, so PSD2 will likely impact every hotelier as Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) becomes a requirement for payment processing. Hoteliers should ask the following questions to determine if changes are necessary: Does my hotel’s website have a payment system that allows for SCA, such as text message verification codes or biometric data (like Face ID on an iPhone)? Do the OTAs I work with require SCA when accepting payment from guests? Does my hotel receive virtual credit card numbers from OTAs? If so, virtual credit cards cannot satisfy the SCA requirement, so OTA payouts may need to switch to bank transfers. Does the front desk staff or night auditor process payments sometime between booking and arrival? For example, if 50% of the reservation payment is due at the time of booking and the remaining 50% is due 7 days before arrival. Guests can complete SCA when they make the reservation, but not for charges initiated by the hotel at a different time. Are any charges processed after the guest has checked out, such as minibar chargers? To prevent any hiccups with payment after check-out, charge an authorization on the guest’s card for the full incidental amount and have the guest provide two-factor authentication in person, such as chip-and-pin, when the guest checks in. The key takeaway here is that transactions initiated by the hotel at a time when the guest isn’t present won’t comply with PSD2 requirements. Guests must be able to complete a two-factor verification step for each payment, such as when they book the reservation or when they check out, so hoteliers may need to modify their payment processes if payments occur outside of these times. In the midst of all these changes, there is a silver lining: because of increased payment security, the amount of chargebacks will likely become much lower, which is something all hoteliers can celebrate.   How to safeguard your hotel against potential breaches For many hoteliers, complying with these new regulations may sound daunting. In addition, although guest data will be more secure with SCA, the payment process does become more cumbersome, which could lead to a decrease in conversion while guests get used to the extra step.  How can you maintain guest satisfaction while ensuring top-notch data security? Most hotels do not have large IT teams, on-site cyber security experts, or massive budgets to spend on data security. However, none of this is necessary to maintain a secure environment for your hotel’s sensitive data. One of the best ways to prevent potential cyber threats is to partner with a technology system with expertise in PCI and PSD2 compliance.    Partner with great tech companies for knowledge sharing and compliance Great tech companies will act as your compliance partners and have built their platforms in compliance with local and global regulations to take some of the burden off of hoteliers.  SiteMinder’s booking engine, for example, is fully SCA compliant and seamlessly integrates multi-factor authentication in a way that does not disrupt the guest experience. SiteMinder’s Payments system meets SCA standards so you can rest assured that payments will be handled without a glitch. SiteMinder’s team is also well-versed in data security strategies, so they can be valuable resources for hoteliers in this time of transition. SiteMinder doesn’t only meet data security guidelines today from a software perspective, but their teams are constantly working toward better and more secure technology. Through continuous innovation, their system is “future proof” and will evolve as additional security measures are available. For example, SiteMinder’s channel manager will soon have the ability to receive SCA records from booking partners (if a guest completes a text verification code on Expedia, for instance), so that when the booking partners can collect this SCA information, it can seamlessly integrate into SiteMinder. Although this technology isn’t quite available yet, SiteMinder’s cutting edge systems will be ready as soon as it is.  Since regulations are constantly changing it’s critical to work with vendors who are constantly innovating ahead of the curve like SiteMinder that’s anticipating change and implementing solutions before that change even happens. By partnering with a trusted technology solution and investing in PCI and PSD2 compliance now, hoteliers can prevent the potential catastrophe that could come with the theft of sensitive data. Your hotel provides great guest service, but you want to ensure hackers and cyber criminals know they’re not welcome at your property.

How to Boost Your Bottom Line with Duetto's Total Revenue Management Software

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

With high fixed costs and perishable inventories, hotels of all sizes can enjoy a lucrative upside after deploying revenue management techniques. Yet, according to most data, fewer than 1 in 10 hotels in 2018 are leveraging a revenue management system to price their properties. That leaves a massive opportunity to enhance revenues with world-class technology. Enter Duetto. Its straightforward brand promise of “revenue made simple” underscores how the company strives to reduce the intimidation factor when it comes to navigating revenue management today. Duetto’s Total Revenue Management technology takes a holistic approach across its product suite to help hotels achieve their profitability goals with dynamic pricing, smart segmentation, and targeting. Here’s how to boost your bottom line with Duetto’s three products: GameChanger for data-driven pricing decisions, BlockBuster for groups sales optimization, and ScoreBoard for making better business decisions.   GameChanger saves time so you can focus on revenue management strategy We talk a lot about data here on the HTR blog. The promise of data is that it provides all kinds of indicators on how to best match price to a consumer’s willingness to pay. In effect, hotels are selling to thousands, and even millions, of different needs. Business travelers may be less price-sensitive and more location aware; family vacationers may choose the lowest price but may spend heavily on hotel ancillaries throughout the trip. Hotels are selling to thousands and even millions of different "needs" with different price sensitivities, booking windows, desires and hangups. To paint the brightest revenue picture, hotels need to account for each search’s unique needs. Yet, when it comes to making sense of these indicators, it's a messy problem to tackle without the right revenue management tech stack. Pricing rooms in a spreadsheet is limiting. It takes a data-crunching machine to ingest the data and output recommended pricing, providing constant (and consistently accurate) pricing recommendations. Duetto calls this Total Revenue Management, which sits at the core of its Revenue Strategy Platform.    After parsing the data into patterns, the Duetto GameChanger dashboard reveals revenue opportunities for future dates.   Duetto’s flagship product here is GameChanger; it’s built on a philosophy of Open Pricing, which trades tiered Best Available Rate (BAR) pricing for instant yielding by segment. In other words, rather than basing pricing decisions on discounts from BAR, GameChanger prices independently based on dates, segment, channel, room type, and other factors, all in real-time. This maximizes yield without disrupting consumer expectations. To do this, the software relies on: Lost business data. By tracking visitors who left your website without booking, the software has a greater grasp on your hotels true unconstrained demand.  Price experimentation. To capture the most profitable bookings, the software continually tests new rates and monitors conversion rates in real-time. Total demand forecasting. Proper demand forecasting leads to better pricing decisions. Thanks to machine learning, the pricing algorithm learns over time, and adjusts future recommendations based both on your activity and that of your customers.  Cloud architecture. With seamless integrations across leading PMS and booking engines, GameChanger reacts in real-time to optimize every transaction.   Hoteliers report a large measure of satisfaction, with GameChanger’s 87% recommendation rate landing it in second place on the HotelTechReport Popularity Index. In addition to mentions of GameChanger’s accuracy and speed, time savings is a common refrain. One revenue manager from a boutique hotel says that time spent “managing rates throughout the year has been dramatically reduced.”    Read more reviews of Duetto GameChanger.    BlockBuster aligns revenue with sales and marketing to boost group business The latest addition to the product suite is called BlockBuster and it focuses on optimizing contracted business from groups, events, and meetings. Group sales has long been a friction point between sales/marketing and revenue management. Traditionally, these teams were siloed, meaning that group sales decisions were made without much consideration for the actual impact on revenue. Oftentimes, this meant booking groups that were less profitable than other guests, pushing yields down and preventing hotels from taking advantage of more favorable pricing down the line. "Fixing the communication gap between the sales and revenue departments is crucial not only for driving more profitability through group business, but also for adopting a Revenue Strategy culture. that Duetto has championed from the start.”  -Marco Benvenuti, Duetto Co-Founder This “group displacement analysis” has become an essential pillar of effective revenue management for hotels. When hotels accept groups under the right conditions, at the right price, over the best set of dates, with a clear understanding of the related transient displacement, it drives profitability.     While there is some ramp time for enough data to be collected (some hotels report accuracy improvements after a year), the tool can dramatically improve outcomes in identifying and capturing the most profitable business. With its contracted business optimization module, Duetto improves outcomes by:  Replacing group blocks. BlockBuster uses a dynamic pricing structure for group business, which accounts for demand across segments to optimize prices by room type rather than room blocks. Enhancing collaboration. Instead of infrequent communication, BlockBuster encourages regular collaboration between sales and revenue with a simplified communication tool for sales to request rate approvals from revenue. Using historical patterns. BlockBuster factors in all historical patterns, alongside a hotel’s wider demand forecasts, to recommend group rates that maximize yield across group and transient business.  This last outcome -- recommendations based on historical data -- won top accolades from BlockBuster customers. With an 89% recommend rate, the tool earns a second place spot on the Popularity Index for meeting and events intelligence software.   Read more reviews of Duetto BlockBuster.      ScoreBoard delivers business intelligence and actionable insights To maximize your hotel’s performance (and thus your metrics), it’s important to have the tools necessary to benchmark progress and measure performance over time. ScoreBoard is Duetto’s business intelligence tool that fosters a data-driven strategic mindset across a hotel’s management.  You’ll also want to define metrics for each department to rally behind. That way there’s clarity and transparency, creating the shared accountability of common goals across teams. Two metrics gaining traction in hospitality      To achieve a greater level of transparency, ScoreBoard provides: Real-time data visibility. In the past, so much of a revenue managers stay involved manually extracting data from disparate systems. With connections into a hotel’s critical systems, data access is far simpler than it once was. More time analyzing and less time exporting. Interactive dashboards. Dashboards are revenue manager's best friend, offering rich visualizations with a single click. Customizable dashboards can orient around key metrics and can be shared so others have access to actionable performance trends. Custom reports. For situations in which a dashboard is too much, reports can be customized and set to run at regular intervals. There’s no wasted time building reports or updating spreadsheets. Easy-to-adjust forecasts. Revenue managers can quickly adjust forecasts both at the stay-month and stay-date level. This also makes budgeting a breeze.   ScoreBoard is second on our Popularity Index for business intelligence tools, with 86% of hoteliers recommending it. In customer reviews, the most well-liked aspects of Scoreboard are the ease-of-use and customizable reports. That combination leads to a “clearer picture of business trends” and free up time to “focus more on strategic planning/thinking,” said one hotelier:   Read more reviews of Duetto ScoreBoard.    Duetto: time savings and more efficient yield management Duetto prices its services on a per-product basis, with a hotel’s total room count factored into the overall price. For hotels looking to implement all three solutions, there’s considerable savings. As far as results, reference customers report a range of success, with most seeing at least a 4% increase in RevPAR. Lee Pillsbury, Chairman at Thayer Lodging, says that “Duetto adds 5 to 10 points of RevPAR Index in the hotels where it has been implemented,” and can’t imagine ”any other single thing management could do to bump the Index like that.” As a complete suite, Duetto can mark a watershed moment in any hotel’s revenue management journey. The reality of today’s complex distribution landscape is that most hoteliers can’t punch through without some help from technology that takes the flood of data and turns it into a manageable stream of actionable information, says Duetto's Managing Director EMEA: “Technology can make more decisions more rapidly that any human can. To try and compete with the machines will be an impossible task. To ignore it and stick your head in the sand would be detrimental. Align your thinking and organisation around these lines and you will be ready for the future.”

Surge Pricing is Not the Same Thing As Revenue Management

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

Uber famously popularized the surge pricing model where prices increase in response to rising demand for ride sharing and taxi services.  When Pace revenue management raised £2.5, TechCrunch wrote a great piece on the future of yield management in the hotel industry but made one key mistake in claiming that Pace was “Uber surge pricing as a platform.”   Surge pricing and revenue management have some fundamental differences.  In this article we’ll discuss the history of surge pricing, how it differs from revenue management and what that means for your hotel group. Smart revenue managers use software like Pace to help them make better pricing decisions and even as RMS tools get more sophisticated each year it’s still critical for revenue managers to understand the fundamental principles driving the decisions of such systems to ensure sound revenue management strategy.  We recently covered this in our piece about price elasticity in the hotel industry and today we’ll dive into the history and dynamics of the massively popular surge pricing model.    How Does Uber’s Surge Pricing Model Work? Surge pricing – when Uber charges 1.5 - 8x the normal fare – was instituted to solve a supply-demand imbalance that occurred when not enough drivers were available to take home riders during peak times. Uber’s supply and demand curves are highly elastic; drivers on the supply side are people with alternative funding sources and preferences, meaning they work when they want to (and even sometimes for the competition). Some drivers prefer to work during the day, and others only work when the weather is nice. Demand also ebbs and flows, with some riders needing to get home after a night out and others needing rides for their commute at the same time every day. Surge pricing is meant to incentivize drivers to get on the road by raising the amount of money they can make by driving during times of high demand. This dynamic pricing model also reduces demand, as more price-sensitive riders are content to wait until the surge pricing period is over before ordering their ride. Overall this makes for a highly efficient marketplace.    How Does Uber’s Surge Pricing Compare to Hotel Revenue Management? Surge pricing works well because it balances Uber’s supply and demand curves efficiently. But hotels don’t have the same supply elasticity as Uber. “One cannot build more rooms for New Year's Eve, and then take them down,” writes Bill Gurley, a venture capitalist and investor in Uber. “For a hotelier, the demand for a room on New Year’s Eve is dramatically higher than a random weekday two weeks later. With no ability to increase supply, they are left with the alternative of selling to the highest payer.” When a hotel is forced to sell to the highest payer, it often loses out on potential revenue. For example, a hotel might sell a $100 room for $300 in peak times, while a guest’s willingness to pay might be $500. There might also be a segment of guests with a willingness to pay of $250 that the hotel is now missing out on.  Without insight from advanced segmentation or revenue science, price modeling misses some key variables that lead to higher revenue. “Hotels regularly get caught with half of their rooms empty or having sold out at too cheap a price,” according to Pace CEO Jens Munch. “Given that hotels lose 20-30% of their revenues to suboptimal pricing, it’s alarming that fewer than 10% of them use technology to price. We give our customers a simple interface that turns hotel pricing into something like a self-driving car, automatically navigating supply and demand.” Technology can play a starring role in improving revenue. Revenue management teams should be using a central reservation system, rate management system, rate shopper, and a business intelligence tool to improve their pricing. A technology solution like Pace offers the ability to forecast booking curves for each night, type of room, and customer segment. Additionally, hotel management teams need to learn two key lessons from Uber’s surge pricing model.    Surge Pricing: Lessons for the Hotel Industry Acquisition cost is not the only variable to consider when setting a price. “Insight into costs is essential to being profitable. It establishes a price floor,” writes one expert. “However, Uber gives us an example of how limiting cost-plus pricing can be. While fares in traditional taxis begin at a base fare, calculated according to vehicle and fuel costs among other things, Uber’s overhead is only one of many variables filtered into their much hushed-about pricing algorithm. Another important factor is customer willingness-to-pay.”  Understanding profitability of each channel is a critical trait of great revenue management but what’s even more important is having a granular understanding of willingness to pay by channel, market segment, etc. Pace takes a “price leader” position in their approach to hotel revenue management. The platform uses adaptive forecasting, continuous pricing, and revenue science to set a strategy that doesn’t rely on competitor pricing (or cost plus). Instead of following other people’s decisions, Pace sets room rates by pulling data from a hotel’s PMS to analyze performance, reservations, and booking pace. It models different variables, such as market demand, price sensitivity, room type, and date, to find the price with the highest possible revenue per available room (RevPAR). Then, Pace triangulates this data with forecasting that evolves when different variables change (such as rate changes or cancellations). Revenue management teams seeking to replicate Uber’s dynamic pricing can do so by integrating adaptive forecasting into their strategy. Instead of playing the guessing game – and setting suboptimal room rates out of desperation or lack of insight – Pace offers an intuitive calendar that simplifies optimal rates. The result? Floris van Es, the GM at Star Lodge Hotels, reports that “After using Pace for 6 weeks, RevPAR was up 25% year on year. Since then we've continued to see very clearly that Pace is helping us outperform last year and the market.” Try a revenue management system to avoid the Uber fallacy and help your revenue team make smarter pricing decisions. 

SWOT Analysis Examples in Small Business and Hotels

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

In this article we'll cover the basics of SWOT analysis and give examples on how small businesses can leverage this strategy to grow their bottom lines with a specific focus on the hotel industry. Too often, hotel managers switch software reactively or because their existing solution broke down.  This is the equivalent of waiting to hire their next team member until the entire existing team has quit. Rather than be reactive, managers should proactively analyze their hotel businesses to identify weaknesses and opportunities then align hotel software procurement around those goals. Rather than deploy new software as a bandaid to a broken system, a reaction to a negative review, or an impulse purchase influenced by marketing campaigns - you should perform careful analysis to decide where you can make pre-emptive investments before such problems arise. Smart technology procurement starts with a rigorous SWOT analysis. SWOT is a tool that helps assess your businesses’ unique opportunities in the context of hospitality trends and get a better sense of where to improve operations before making a purchase. SWOT can help your hotel align its technology investments with key business goals and needs. Use your SWOT analysis to get a snapshot of your hotel’s strengths and weaknesses before investing in software that helps you mitigate risk or capitalize on market opportunities.  Once you understand where you’ve been and where you want to go, you can then find the right tools and partners to help you get there. Here’s how to get started.    What is a SWOT Analysis? A SWOT analysis is a framework for evaluating the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to your hotel business. The methodology originates from researchers at Stanford in the 1960s and 70s and has since become common practice at Fortune 500 companies and startups alike.  A SWOT can be used on an organization-wide level, or for individual projects within a team. Most businesses use a SWOT analysis to determine if the project or campaign is aligned with the broader organizational benchmarks. For example, a company might perform a SWOT to assess if an online advertising campaign will be worth the investment in comparison to other ongoing initiatives.    SWOT analysis definition SWOT is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. By identifying these elements around a particular business decision, you can make a more informed choice that uses resources wisely and leads to better outcomes. “Strengths” refers to the tangible and intangible advantages your hotel has at its disposal. This could include your stellar employees, your brand reputation, or your hotel’s location.  “Weaknesses” refers to elements that hold back your hotel from growth or optimal performance. Understanding your weaknesses involves some critical self-evaluation: weaknesses may include budget limitations, lack of in-room technology, poor online reviews, lacking certain facilities or an outdated website.  “Opportunities” refers to things you could do to increase bookings, improve guest satisfaction scores, or boost your profits. Research about market trends and look to guest reviews for ideas of where you can open up new streams of revenue or reach new markets.  “Threats” refers to anything that poses a risk to your hotel. Airbnb, for some hotels, is considered a threat. List out every strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat you can think of, both externally and internally. This will take a fair amount of market research, a deep dive into your hotel data and an investigation into your hotel’s past performance but the work will be well worth your time.  As the old adage goes, “to a ship with no harbor, no wind is the right wind”. A proper SWOT analysis gives your hotel a harbor and guiding light which will save both time and money in the long run when contrasted with making reactive decisions. Next, transfer your elements into a grid-like matrix with four quadrants, one for each category. This format offers a clear snapshot of where you can adjust, invest, and play to your strengths. “Ideally, there are two stages of action you should take upon completing a SWOT analysis,” writes one expert. “First, you should attempt to match your strengths with your opportunities. Next, you should try to convert weaknesses into strengths.”   Here's an illustration of how to implement SWOT in your business from Wordstream   Applying SWOT analysis to your small business and hotel Many small business owners think that SWOT analysis is important only for larger corporations but that couldn't be further from the truth. SWOT can be impactful in every aspect of life and even your personal life. All progress starts with a foundation of self awareness: knowing what you're good at and what you're not, understanding your unique selling proposition, etc. The first half of the SWOT analysis (the SW) helps orient around your internal capabilities. The second half (the OT) helps identify market opportunities to be exploited. By identifying market opportunities and exploiting them by leveraging your strengths you will outperform the competition. One of the most challenging parts of conducting the SWOT is identifying your hotel’s weaknesses. Start with these metrics to understand where your hotel’s strengths and weaknesses lie, and then brainstorm tactics that can turn weaknesses into strengths. Include the following KPIs in your SWOT analysis. 1. Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR), Average Daily Rate (ADR) and Occupancy.  Use STR reports to get the industry benchmarks with data from 63,000 hotels across 180 countries. If the data shows your property is behind the compset on occupancy, for example, you might want to consider using a metasearch management software like D-Edge MetaGenius to maximize reach on metasearch websites and increase occupancy moving forward. More bookings on channels like TripAdvisor or Trivago means less reliance on these third-party sites that diminish your revenue. MetaGenius can manage TripAdvisor, Google Hotel Ads, Trivago, and Kayak all in one intuitive dashboard. It gives you the power to increase the value of each guest booking. 2. EBITDA margin Your hotel’s EBITDA margin adds back depreciation and amortization to operating profit and then takes that figure as a percentage of revenue. It’s an acronym for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Compare your EBITDA margin to others in the industry through industry trend reports from brokers like CBRE and JLL.  If your margins are above market averages you are in a great spot, if they’re below average you’ll need to diagnose the root causes and develop strategies to frame this weakness as an opportunity.  If margins are low but RevPAR and ADR are strong relative to the compset you’ve likely got a cost drain in your P&L. How does your staff composition look in relation to the local compset? What is your distribution mix? 3. % of bookings made directly Direct bookings are more profitable than bookings that come through a third party site or OTA. Get your KPI by asking your digital marketing agency for the percentage of bookings that come through your hotel website. Compare that statistic against Phocuswright and Kalibri Labs benchmark reports to see where you stand. If your business mix schews more towards OTA bookings relative to broader segment data then you might want to consider revamping your website or search marketing efforts. You might also want to leverage a tool like D-Edge Smart Channel Manager to manage rates and room availability on hundreds of channels and ensure that you’re consistently offering the best possible rate on your hotel website. 4. Online reviews and rankings Look to hotel review sites like TripAdvisor or Trivago to see where you rank against your competitors. If you’re hurting for five-star reviews, remedy this weakness using reputation management software like D-Edge Sentinel that aggregates reviews from OTAs, social media, and metasearch to show hoteliers what their guests are saying. The dashboard uses an algorithm that adapts to reviews over time, suggesting keywords to use in targeted marketing campaigns and providing insights on areas where your hotel might improve 5. Website traffic Diagnose your website traffic using tools like SEMRush, Similar Web, Alexa. The more traffic your hotel website receives, the more likely it is that you can convert to (profitable) bookings.  Analyze your website traffic in relation to hotels in your compset. If your hotel’s web traffic is below average, you’ll need to improve this metric.  Dive deeper to determine whether it’s an SEO (search engine optimization), social referrals or paid acquisition problem.  The tools mentioned above will show approximate amounts of organic traffic. If your traffic is weak you’ll want to focus efforts on improving your website structure and producing higher value content.  Have your marketer create technical SEO landing pages around popular local attractions or consider creating blog content around popular live events and conferences. Once you’ve cleaned up your hotel website’s SEO it’s time to analyze search marketing and display remarketing.  Use the tools mentioned above to gather spend data and ask yourself whether you’re investing enough in paid acquisition. Paid acquisition and advertising is highly complex, so don’t try this on your own - you’ll want to work with an experienced practitioner and digital marketing agency partner and ideally one who has experience in your local market. Not sure whether these metrics are indicative of strengths or weaknesses? Use last year’s results, or compare your data against competitors to see where you stand. For new investments, compare your budget forecast to the costs of adding a hotel technology tool. Instead of simply throwing money at the problem, invest with a vendor who can pinpoint exactly where you need to improve.    What next? Tying it all together The SWOT analysis leads you to understand where you need to remedy weaknesses and play to strengths. Analysis should begin with a deep dive into goals, competencies and historical performance.  Layer onto this analysis with tactics to help turn weakness to strength and threats into opportunities. Tactics are often based on a reallocation of resources or human capital and the Swiss Army Knife of hotel strategy is technology.  Identify which software categories can help meet your goals then once you know what software you need, identify all the vendors who can help. Some hotels prefer specialists with single-point solutions; others prefer vendors like D-Edge who can provide solutions all across the guest journey. No matter which path you take, make sure you carefully consider your hotel’s position before making a procurement. On the surface SWOT seems simplistic to most learning the concept but it's actually quite complex when executed properly. The main benefit of SWOT is that it gives your business a framework to review your company and external market conditions in order to realign your business strategy and maximize results. SWOT results can be extremely overwhelming after a brainstorm session with your team. Score each opportunity based on: (a) Feasibility - how likely is it that you can succeed given your strengths and weaknesses) and (b) Impact - i.e. if you succeed, how impactful will that success be on business results. Once you've scored based on feasibility and impact you should sort order and prioritize the highest expected value opportunities then start with the biggest opportunities first and work your way down the list. SWOT analysis will help you prioritize decisions and resource allocation to run a more efficient hotel business. By prioritizing resources more effectively you'll drop more to the bottom line. By checking any business decision against the priorities that you develop in your SWOT analysis you will save time and internal conflict because every decision will have a clear evaluation rubric - this is especially important when shifting focus or resources between departments.