Are you an executive for an international hotel corporation? Manager of a ten-facility, regional chain? Or a mom-and-pop operation in a seasonal resort area? Guess what? You all have something in common. You can benefit from a hotel revenue management system.
Recognizing that the smaller the business, the further your limited resources have to stretch, a good revenue management system can plump up your bottom line 5 to 10%. Those numbers are hard to ignore. Below are five tips to ensure your system achieves success.
Tip #1: One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Despite the common need for a hotel revenue management system, unfortunately, one size doesn’t fit all. There is no generic system that’s plug-and-play for every business. In addition, a hotel that’s hobbling along without a system is one thing; adhering to a system that’s a poor fit for your business model is infinitely worse. A revenue management system needs to be custom fit to each unique hotel, even within a large, multi-facility corporation.
Tip #2: Sort the Good Data from the Bad
It’s not hard to compile lots and lots of data. What you really need, though, is an accurate and reliable process for interpreting those numbers. For example, how do you distinguish good data from bad data?
The answer is to consider the source. Data collected from other travel-related sources, particularly those governed by strict regulations, can generally be considered accurate. Data that’s gleaned from customers, however, which often passes through two or more sets of data entry (paper or online forms, direct entry from passports, etc.) should be examined with a healthy grain of salt on the side, since there is more room for human error.
In addition, data gathered from mobile phone users is, literally, another moving target. You may know the age, location, and historical travel purchase habits of the phone’s owner, but what if that phone is borrowed? The search and purchase data is “polluted” by someone who may not be your target customer.
Direct, person-to-person contact between your staff and the customer remains the absolute best way to collect information. It’s critical for a hotel revenue manager to make sure the data pouring in from your front desk is clean and accurate.
Tip #3: RM Isn’t a One-Person Operation
Which leads us to our next tip: for a hotel revenue management system to work, and work well, everyone within your organization has to be on board and properly trained to collect and pass along the right data at the right time.
Tip #4: Move Beyond Spreadsheet Figures
Thanks to modern hotel revenue systems, the sheer variety of data is more vast than ever. However, financial numbers don’t mean anything if you’re not aware of the larger context. While the data can reveal you had an uptick or downturn in reservations last month, the larger question is “Why?” Is it something you had control over, or was something else occurring that impacted sales? Was it an annual event you can anticipate for next time, or an unexpected incident (a closed freeway, a fire at another hotel, etc.) that sent more customers through your door?
Tip #5: Customers Don’t Stand Still—Data Doesn’t Either
As the number and variety of booking channels increase (web site, mobile, social media, and third-party booking engines), an effective revenue management system can help you make sense of the data coming in from those disparate sources. The more real-time the data is, the better.
For example, it can be extremely useful to know what kind of device is most commonly used to make a last-minute reservation so you can tailor any marketing efforts to that type of device. In general, a week or more before any given arrival date, about half of all reservations are made on a traditional computer. As the arrival date nears, you’ll notice a shift to mobile devices like tablets and phones.
Learn More Today
If you’d like to know more about how a hotel revenue management system can help you, contact Smart eHotels today.