One Key Performance Indicator (KPI) reigns supreme in the hotel industry: Revenue per Available Room, or RevPAR.
NB: This is an article from Demand Calendar
This metric is calculated by dividing the total room revenue by the number of available rooms or multiplying the average daily room rate (ADR) by the room occupancy rate. In simpler terms, RevPAR provides a snapshot of how well a hotel is utilizing its capacity to create revenue.
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and stay up to date
RevPAR has emerged as the go-to metric for hoteliers for several reasons. It’s straightforward, easy to calculate, and a quick barometer of a hotel’s revenue-generating performance. Many hotels even link management bonuses to improvements in RevPAR, cementing its status as the ultimate measure of hotel business success.
However, the emphasis on RevPAR often comes with many unintended consequences. While it gives an idea of revenue efficiency and capacity utilization, it ignores significant factors like operational costs, customer acquisition costs (CAC), and guest satisfaction. In the relentless quest for higher Revenue Per Available Room, hotels often need to pay more attention to these essential components, leading to flawed strategies, resource misallocation, and, ultimately, decreased profitability.
In the subsequent sections, we will examine the risks of having a myopic focus on RevPAR and explore how a more balanced approach can pave the way for long-term success and customer satisfaction.
Has RevPAR become a vanity metric?
The risks of focusing on the wrong metrics or measuring the wrong things are substantial in any business. This is often referred to as “vanity metrics,” and the concept is applicable in various contexts, both individual and organizational.
RevPAR became the most important KPI when revenue management was invented and has been considered the essential KPI for over forty years to measure hotel success.
Let’s look at how focusing on a single Key Performance Indicator (KPI) like Revenue per Available Room in the hotel industry offers a prime example of the risks associated with measuring the wrong things or not seeing the complete picture.
Risks of Focusing Solely on RevPAR
- False Sense of Progress: A high RevPAR might make it look like the hotel is doing well, but this number does not account for the cost side of the operation. If Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is skyrocketing, the actual profits could diminish, contrary to what RevPAR might suggest.
- Resource Misallocation: The emphasis on RevPAR could lead to spending more on advertising or premium services to attract guests, neglecting other aspects like operational efficiency, customer service, or long-term investments that could be more crucial for profitability and customer retention.
- Demotivation: Staff and management may be demotivated when a high RevPAR doesn’t translate into bonuses or doesn’t reflect the quality of service provided. Focusing solely on revenue may overshadow the efforts put into guest satisfaction, leading to a disheartened team.
- Loss of Strategic Focus: The obsession with RevPAR might make a hotel ignore other important metrics like customer satisfaction, employee turnover, or even Net Profit Margin, which are equally crucial for the long-term health of the business.
- Incentive Misalignment: If bonuses and rewards are structured around RevPAR, this might encourage behaviors like overbooking, price gouging during peak seasons, or using expensive distribution channels to increase occupancy, which could be detrimental in the long term.
- Impaired Decision-making: Decisions like marketing spend, room pricing, or the number of salespeople could be influenced more by their potential impact on RevPAR than their overall impact on the business’s profitability or customer satisfaction.
- Wasted Time and Effort: Focusing on a single KPI could lead to extensive strategizing and action plans around improving that metric, which may not necessarily lead to better financial performance or customer satisfaction.
- Reputation Risks: A strategy solely built on RevPAR might lead to practices that do not sit well with customers, like overbooking or hidden charges. This can harm the hotel’s reputation in the long term, making it harder to maintain even that high RevPAR.