Rate Shoppers And Related Tools: Valuable Not Only For Revenue Managers
Is your hotel’s internal culture centred on collaboration?
NB: This is an article from OTA Insight
With hotels competing more vigorously than ever – not just with nearby hotels but with all hotels bookable online – collaboration is one of the key ingredients of revenue protection and optimisation.
This way of working prioritises agility and adaptability. Creating such a culture takes effort, and it’s nearly impossible if tools are siloed, inaccessible and outdated. But with transparent dashboards with easily digestible information, you can and should make all of this crucial information – whether it’s on your rates, your competitors’, your distribution channels or your KPIs – accessible across departments.
This empowers everyone to make smarter decisions that decrease the cost of acquisition and increase profitability.
Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and use cases of such tools in roles across a hotel’s operation, beyond revenue and distribution management.
General managers need access to real-time information, which rate shoppers can make accessible: occupancy, ADR, RevPAR, OTA ranking, reviews and reputation are all trackable indicators of how a hotel is performing relative to the competitive set.
GMs need to quickly identify and rectify anomalies, any parity issues or mistakes that might affect the property’s bottom line and the view guests have of their hotel.
Effective pricing strategies are crucial. For GMs focusing on a hotel’s pre-opening phase, rate insights set the stage. Another component, such as reviewing trends of a competitive set becomes a pre-opening strategic pillar that help a GM establish external benchmarks prior to opening. Rate insights and competitive benchmark opportunities can mark a new chapter in a hotel’s feasibility studies.
A hotel asset manager should have detailed knowledge of a property or portfolio’s operations and competitive set. From acquisitions to capital expenditures, the asset manager makes recommendations that require many inputs. That’s why rich information sources are a must for asset managers.
A rate shopper serves this purpose, offering an overview of all hotels in a given portfolio. With trends identified and any potential issues flagged, asset managers can maximise revenues across properties. This preparation adds a level of richness to an asset manager’s understanding of the competitive landscape.
Without a complete picture of a hotel’s rates, the sales department is unable to prioritise certain business over others. Access to a rate shopper provides critical insights so that the department learns to decline certain business when other business may be more profitable. For example, sales could look at occupancy across a comp set to see potential compression to avoid booking low-margin business.
Sales managers could also look to market data, such as booking window trends, local events, rate competitiveness, and shifts in reputation, to identify new business opportunities and maximise revenue.
Real-time rate shopping data also comes into its own when sales managers are preparing quotes for corporate travel managers, who will have access to competitor prices on the internet.
eCommerce and Marketing Managers
Both eCommerce and marketing managers benefit from understanding the impact of promotions. When it comes to campaign planning, access to a comprehensive event calendar is essential. For marketing managers who serve across several markets, navigating multiple markets is much easier with a single source for events for campaign planning.
When managing OTA relationships, visibility and ranking tools play a major role. Used for both negotiating contracts and determining channel mix, this information is valuable when deciding where to place inventory, and on which channels to invest marketing dollars or targeted promotions.
Anomalies are also important indicators; for areas which might be out of line – such as parity – marketing and eCommerce managers can quickly assess and execute a plan of action. This is only possible by having tools working in their favour.
When working with a potential guest, market-level data can guide potential conversations. For example, a guest may contact a hotel to request a rate advertised on a third-party channel. However, without access to this information, a reservations manager cannot respond.
Additionally, a potential guest might be convinced to book if a reservations manager can confidently confirm that the booking is at a competitive rate when compared to other hotels.
In many cases, reservations managers are the front-line staff closest to the rates. They have direct experience with guest booking behaviours and are knowledgeable around a variety of rates, rate types, and booking windows. But having all this in a simple dashboard format saves time and increases efficiency. In this way anomalies can be identified more easily and rates can be set more effectively.
The Front Desk
Often overlooked, the front desk can be a critical source of upsells and promote positive reputation management. Whether a customer is a walk-in or rooms have sold out, quick access to rates is key.
For example, when managing over-bookings, rate insights can help front desk staff quickly identify other hotels for displaced guests. Checking competitors’ availability and rates on one dashboard can save time, and improve your reputation too, by finding quick and suitable solutions.
When selecting revenue management and distribution tools, consider how easy it is to include all the above mentioned parties, giving them a 360-degree view of your operations, and ensuring transparency within your business. By checking your rates, competitors, events in your neighbourhood, distribution and hotel performance, and expanding your access to powerful tools, you can align efforts across the whole hotel.