The Case for Hotel Revenue Intelligence

NB: This is an article by Duetto

The biggest pain point in hotel revenue management from the beginning has been the amount of time spent wrangling the right property-level data to make the best business decisions.

It’s easy for management to pose a straightforward question, like “What’s our forecasted occupancy and RevPAR for the upcoming quarter?” But it can be complex and time-consuming to give stakeholders the right answer. Too often, if a report takes several days to build, it’s obsolete by the time it reaches the right people.

Why hasn’t the hotel industry progressed to more efficient data analysis? Because it still uses the same tools it’s had for decades, starting with Microsoft Excel. While spreadsheets have their purpose in some data-driven roles for hospitality companies, and can be useful when doing ad-hoc analysis, we’re long past the point where it makes sense to run daily hotel operations off spreadsheets.

A Cell of Our Own Making

I’m not making baseless criticism of the way hotel revenue management is done. I know too well that revenue managers are spending a disproportionate amount of time preparing reports that have nothing to do with optimizing a hotel’s prices or making the hotel more money. I was one of those people years ago.

When I was working with Duetto co-founder Marco Benvenuti at Wynn Las Vegas before we started this company, I would spend 20 to 30 hours a week producing revenue reports and forecasts for other departments, meaning I had far less time than I wanted to actually devote to real analysis and critical thinking.

Even worse, when the decision makers above me had to wait a few days or a week for my team — which was hiring analysts left and right to keep up — to compile and crunch the numbers, every department would be in a holding pattern. That was critical time when the marketers weren’t marketing and the salespeople weren’t selling.

Marco and I oversaw people who worked very hard to not only refine the way Wynn and Encore practiced revenue management, but also to implement the foundations of what would become Open Pricing and Personalized Loyalty Pricing. But it was a slog. Excel was still the best way to handle the sheer volume of pricing and customer data for building forecasts and budgets. Some existing revenue management systems had decent report-building capabilities, but they lacked the forecasting tool we needed.

Hotel Revenue Intelligence, the Smarter Solution

We never forgot the frustration of spending more time manipulating spreadsheets than managing revenue to optimize profits. That’s why we, along with our entire team at Duetto, are proud to serve revenue managers, as well as hotel owners, asset managers and brands, with the industry’s first hotel Revenue Intelligence application, ScoreBoard.

What is Revenue Intelligence? We define it as the discipline of synchronizing how all departments in one hotel — or all properties in a portfolio of hotels — compile, aggregate, analyze and share up-to-the-minute revenue data and forecasts. RI gets all stakeholders working from a single source of truth and coordinating their collective Revenue Strategy in real time.

To enable this, we spent the better part of a year developing ScoreBoard, an application that centralizes all a hotel’s crucial data by pulling the information directly from the property management system, not dozens of spreadsheets. It works with a one-way integration with the PMS, so accurate reservation data and folio spending flow directly to ScoreBoard, where they’re stored and can be accessed in a customizable report builder.

There is real value in having one accurate source of truth to frame the big picture across an entire hotel company.

If a brand CEO or an asset manager asks for a forecast or budget that comprises every property in the portfolio, think of how many opportunities there would be for errors to be introduced into the final report because spreadsheets are being passed back and forth over email. It’s a game of telephone. Even if all the disparate reports from each property use the same fields and categories, if one revenue manager’s numbers are off, the whole company-wide report is off.

The automation of data compilation, the customization of reports and the rapid dissemination of those reports all the way up to the enterprise level are meant to save hotel companies time, money and the aggravation that always came from too many spreadsheets.

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