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  • Meet Minneapolis: Travel to the Twin Cities this Summer for HITEC 2019

    We all know that travel can be a real hassle. So, what about a trip makes it worth packing up your suitcase, saying goodbye to your family for the next few days, fighting the airport and staying in a.

  • New Global Directors Join the 2018-2019 HFTP Board

    The HFTP 2018-2019 Global Board of Directors was installed during the association's 2018 Annual Convention and introduces new directors Toni Bau, Carson Booth, CHTP and Mark Fancourt. These extensive director profiles give insight into the distinguished professions and personal goals of HFTP's newest association leaders.

  • A Series of Must-Read Articles on Cybersecurity Produced by the HFTP Research Centers

    Data security remains a pressing concern and top priority for the hospitality industry. The HFTP Research Centers are dedicated to producing findings that can significantly aid hospitality businesses in their efforts to protect their guests’ privacy and personal information against potential cyber threats and attacks.

  • HITEC Special: Does EU GDPR Affect U.S. Hospitality Companies?

    By Alvaro Hidalgo. The EU General Data Protection Regulation has set a path towards protecting personal data which many other countries will follow. In a global industry such as hospitality, it should be a primary objective to take the steps towards compliance.

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Rainmaker Enters Q2 with High-Growth Momentum and Exciting New Advances

The Rainmaker Group ·16 April 2019
"We're excited to kick off 2019 with a strong sales quarter," says Mike Cowles, CEO at Rainmaker. "We've added a lot of great names to our growing customer list, continued to make strides in expanding our global footprint, and are making great product enhancements to help our growing all-inclusive customer base."Rainmaker had a very successful first quarter with an over 20% sales growth YOY. With this sales growth came an array of new customers spanning the globe. One customer Rainmaker is especially proud to announce is SLS Las Vegas Casino & Hotel. The 1,615 room property in Vegas was impressed by Rainmaker's drive to help their property achieve total revenue management and joined their sister property, Grand Sierra Resort & Casino, in selecting Rainmaker's full suite of solutions, guestrev, grouprev, and revintel."Rainmaker's ability to optimize revenue from both a room and guest level was a large part of our decision to implement their solutions," said Brian Christensen, VP of Revenue Optimization at Meruelo Gaming. "We were looking for a solution that would help us continue to build a culture of total revenue management and give us the ability to understand who are our most valuable guests. We are excited to see the positive impacts throughout our property and to our bottom line."In 2018, Rainmaker announced their expansion into the all-inclusive market. This exciting announcement was coupled with product advancements to best fit the unique all-inclusive business model. Rainmaker is excited to announce they have available updates to all three Rainmaker solutions to match the all-inclusive model, including the ability to forecast, optimize pricing and analyze data on a per person basis.

Perception is Reality: Pricing Psychology for Hotel Revenue Managers

The Rainmaker Group · 9 April 2019
Is a pair of $50,000 Sennheiser Orpheus headphones really fifty times better than a pair that costs $1,000? Expensive items and experiences are often branded as high quality, exclusive, or bespoke. But are they really better than their less-expensive counterparts? And what truly motivates people to pay more for something?In the hectic daily life of a hotel revenue strategist, coming up with optimal pricing presents the greatest challenge - a challenge that's typically handled through reliance on a sophisticated RMS, complex algorithms, and in-depth analysis. But there's a creative component that comes into play as well. And this involves looking at some of the fascinating psychological research on consumer behavior and pricing. Here we balance proven theories on pricing psychology with practical takeaways that you can utilize in your revenue strategy.The Phenomenon of Preference Reversal Human brains are wired to think in ways that seem irrational at times. There's an intriguing phenomenon known as "preference reversal" which was first observed in the late 60s and early 70s by Sarah Lichtenstein and Paul Slovic in the gambling context. They noted that if people were asked to choose between a game they perceived as a safe bet (good chance of winning a small gain) over a long shot (small chance of winning a larger gain), they tended to prefer the safe bet. However, when asked to place a specific dollar value on the right to play each game, respondents switched, placing a higher value on the riskier bet.Takeaways: This all comes down to preference toward risk. Preference reversal phenomenon presents an arbitrage opportunity for hotels - where the presence of risk subtly influences a customer's ability to put an estimate on value. As a result, you may be able to extract additional value from customers based on the decisions they make. This can come into play when upselling guests to premium room types - by tailoring your sales approach to affect what a customer considers "risky." There's the "risk" of paying more for a room versus the "risk" of missing out on valuable features like a view or enhanced service. These types of risk often influence a customer's willingness to make a purchaseRisky Business Prospect theory holds that there can be shifts in preferences toward risk. We tend to be more risk averse when we stand to gain something, and we tend to be more risk seeking when we're faced with the possibility of losing something. Central to this concept are reference transactions - in other words, an expectation of what we think we should get, and some perception of what we think we should pay for it. Using the reference transaction as a starting point, anything that puts us worse off is a "loss," and anything that makes us better off is a "gain."Dan Ariely, professor of psychology and behavior economics at Duke University, did research which he presented in a TED Talk showing the effect of "useless" price points in transforming "bargain hunters" into "value seekers." To illustrate his point, Ariely described a pricing situation he encountered at The Economist:OPTION #1: A web-only subscription for $59OPTION #2: A print-only subscription for $125OPTION #3: A web + print subscription for $125Ariely examined what would happen if you removed OPTION #2, a seemingly "useless" price since shoppers were better off getting the web + print for the same price. He found that while OPTION #2 appeared useless, it was actually useful in that it emphasized the great value of OPTION #3, with an overwhelming 84 percent of subscribers choosing it. However, when he removed OPTION #2, the purchase of OPTION #3 plummeted to 32 percent. The price differential was too extreme, and people convinced themselves they didn't need the upgrade.Takeaways: Apply techniques such as strike-through pricing that makes customers feel they're entering the "gains" domain. Unbundle gains, like detailing the benefits of upgrades. And bundle losses. For instance, combine a room upgrade with a "free" resort fee to make it more appealing, or package a high-priced room with a complimentary breakfast to transform bargain hunters into value seekers.It's All RelativePrice anchoring is a technique of showing a very expensive price before revealing a cheaper price. The human brain tends to make judgments based on contrasts. (Which is why legendary Serendipity 3 restaurant's $1,000 Golden Opulence Sundae makes their $9.95 fruit cup look like a steal!) Not only does the contrast have a powerful effect, but the high price by itself influences what a shopper expects to pay for any product from that seller.A practical example for hoteliers may be featuring a $10,000 penthouse suite on your website. Research shows that by doing so, you're more likely to sell your $500 standard room, as opposed to if you'd simply presented your standard rate alone. Clearly, the presentation of an offer makes a difference in our decision-making and perceptions.Our perception of price also impacts our perception of the quality of something. A study by California Institute of Technology and Stanford University scholars,4 showed that people not only rated the same wine more highly when they were told it was expensive, but magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) scans of their brains showed that they even enjoyed the experience of drinking it more.Another study by marketing professors at Stanford and Rice universities5 used an auction site on eBay to evaluate the impact of implicit versus explicit price comparisons. They found that when a $1.99 CD was flanked either by identical versions priced at $6.99 or $0.99, the selling price of the original $1.99 CD captured much higher prices when flanked by the $6.99 CDs. In this case, shoppers made comparisons on their own. However, when auction participants were explicitly told to compare the $1.99 price to its neighbors, the buying price dropped. The simple fact that they were asked to make a comparison made shoppers more cautious and risk averse. They were suspicious they were being tricked in some way.Takeaways: Go big with anchoring! The more you ask for, the more you get. And while you may not intend to sell your high-priced penthouse suite often, its price can serve as an anchor for customers in placing a value on your standard rooms. Also, be aware that comparative selling is powerful, but overt comparisons with competitors can backfire. Time & Experiences Over Money Canadian race car driver and businessman Josh Cartu admits that he collects Ferraris not only because he loves them but because of the accompanying perks he receives, like access to special events and the exclusive community he gets to be part of. Feelings can be powerful motivators, and you can get people to spend more by tapping into them."The Time vs. Money Effect" study by Stanford Graduate School of Business researchers, showed that mentioning time and increasing focus on "the experience," led to a favorable shift in product attitudes and decisions - and to more purchases.As part of their study, the authors set up a lemonade stand operated by two six-year-olds. They used three different signs, displayed one at a time:SIGN 1: Spend a little time and enjoy C&D's lemonadeSIGN 2: Spend a little money, and enjoy C&D's lemonadeSIGN 3: Enjoy C&D's lemonadeCustomers could pay between $1 and $3 per cup, the amount was up to them. The results showed that the sign stressing time attracted twice as many passersby - who were willing to pay almost twice as much as when the sign emphasizing money was displayed.Takeaways: Our relationship with time and experiences are more personally meaningful than our relationship with money. Be aware of what experiences bring meaning to the lives of your potential customers to assist your pricing and marketing efforts.When it comes to pricing psychology, perception can be more important than reality. And frames of reference will differ across individuals. So, your guests' perceptions may be very different from our own perceptions of your pricing and products - and will even vary from guest to guest. Hotels must clearly communicate the value they offer. It's crucial for hotel revenue managers to understand how and why their guests book, so you can adjust rates accordingly. By considering the psychological pricing factors that influence travelers' behaviors, you will enjoy healthier revenues and more robust profit margins.

Share the Love - How to have an integrated revenue strategy that is embraced throughout your systems and departments

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog·14 February 2019
The realm of a hotel revenue strategist often comprises a conflicting jumble of processes and competing platforms. This can cause major heartaches as revenue managers struggle to keep their hotels competitive and profitable. But when you have the right hotel tech stack in place, and have a shared plan with all your departments, inefficiencies are replaced with streamlined operations. And revenue managers finally have time to focus on strategy development to drive long-term revenue growth.

Sales and RM - Why Can't We Be Friends?

The Rainmaker Group ·13 February 2019
According to the 2019 AMEX Global Meetings & Events Forecast,1 the meetings industry is in a period of consistent growth, with small but meaningful increases projected in meeting sizes, length, and number of attendees. And although trend data2 supports that room night share, guest-paid RevPAR, and group ADR have been relatively flat, the group/meetings customer segment remains a strong and steady source of hotel business.Business meetings, conventions, sports tournaments, educational gatherings, and others all provide lucrative opportunities for hotels. They are sources of repeat business, fill rooms during off-peak times, and - in conjunction with accurate forecasting - create compression that helps maximize transient revenue. Unfortunately, when it comes to group business, revenue and sales don't always see eye-to-eye.Different MotivationsWhile we'd all like to believe that every hotel department is working toward the same goal of making their hotel the most money and the most profitable as possible, in reality we know there are different motivations in play. Revenue management (RM) strives to convert bookings and drive ADR and, in the eyes of some DOSMs, is often given too much leeway in controlling inventory and rates. On the flipside, sales managers work tirelessly to secure as much group business as possible, but at times may not fully consider or understand the potential for higher-value groups that that may come later, seeking that same inventoryAll to often, the sales team doesn't have access to the big picture. When they can't understand the what or the why behind the suggested rates from RM, they'll view them as a roadblock between them and paydirt. If sales managers don't have the tools they need to get instant, scientifically generated demand forecasts and pricing, revenue teams won't trust them. Hours, sometimes days, of navigating through meetings and layers of approvals are then the end result. And as any sales professional knows, time kills deals.This fundamental misalignment among your teams ultimately prevents your hotel from achieving peak performance, leading to sub-par key performance indicators (KPIs), lost revenue, and lackluster performance relative to your competitors. This can also deteriorate into an unproductive cycle of politics and power struggles. Your hotel cannot maximize profitability solely by managing inventory and rates, nor by booking as many groups as possible. To achieve success, a significant culture shift must occur where sales and revenue departments work together with the entire property's profitability as the main objective.There may be days when your hotel needs to push group occupancy down in order to drive ADR. Other days will warrant a need to accelerate group business and sacrifice ADR in order to reach an overall target. Both teams must always work in lock step in order to achieve the right business mix to optimize revenue and profitability for the hotel.Outdated ProcessesThe issues that stem from conflicting motivations between sales and RM don't stop here. DOSMs can get frustrated when they don't have easy access to historical trends and/or other data to help them quickly determine the best rate to quote. This lack of instantly available information makes this a painstakingly manual and long process. And when they can't easily understand how their decisions impact a hotel's performance, they're sometimes quick to make decisions that are less than optimal for overall revenue and profit.In the last 10-15 years there have been significant advancements in traditional RM processes and technology that have fundamentally changed the way DORMs manage and price inventory. But the quoting process for group business had never been disrupted until recently. As a result, there are countless group sales teams still executing the same, outdated playbook. Time is wasted, deals are lost that could otherwise be won, and revenue is left on the table (or maybe it's going to your competitors' pockets).The process is nuanced, involving multiple steps from the point at which a request for proposal (RFP) is received on through to contract execution, or lack thereof. Today, planners can submit multiple RFPs digitally within minutes. We've seen a 300% increase in group RFPs3 over a five-year span. As a result, DOSMs are swamped with wading through unmanageable volumes of leads while uncertain as to which are the most valuable and worthy of their time.. It's a difficult and time-consuming process that results in declining conversion rates.With long booking horizons and uniquely customized requirements, group pricing is yet another key challenge to face within any hotel's revenue strategy. Non-room revenue streams from function space, F&B, etc. only add to the complexity.Evolve or Repeat It's tough to break old habits. But the hotel industry is at an inflection point and change is necessary. Securing the most valuable meetings business requires breaking free from today's fragmented ecosystem of siloed departments and inefficient, manual processes. RM and sales must stop duking it out and begin to work with one another. This requires integrated technology that ensures cross departmental team alignment by providing shared data integrity and actionable insights. Hotels must evolve to the point where they're managing group business as tightly and scientifically as they've being doing for years on the transient side.Seventy-five percent of group RFPs are awarded to one of the first five properties to respond.4 Innovative tools now exist to prioritize leads and enable quicker responses to RFPs. The industry has seen response times drop from weeks to hours. This allows hotels to quickly zero in on the most promising inquiries by optimizing the lead intake and qualification process which results in higher conversion rates. These solutions can also provide alternative stay date recommendations for highly compressed dates, helping properties fill need periods as opposed to displacing high-value transient business.In addition to creating more alignment with technology solutions, maintaining open communication is also critical. Encourage both sides to meet on a regular basis. Sales will come to see how the value of a group is impacted by a variety of factors. And they can share which groups will likely turn into lucrative, repeat business. RM will grow to understand what it takes to secure new business. And they'll be able to more effectively use the right group business as a base to drive higher transient rates.Group Demand Impacts PricingNothing affects your bottom line as much as optimal pricing. In order to achieve this, an accurate estimate of anticipated demand, from both group and transient business, is critical. Accurate group demand forecasts must look beyond transient displacement. Other elements such as market conditions, comp set pricing, market segment characteristics, events, LOS, and more must all be considered; not to mention other ancillary revenue streams such as event and function space, ground transportation, equipment rental, audiovisual support, and F&B contribution.F&B is an increasingly important consideration as a group revenue stream. A recent International Association of Conference Centre (IACC) survey5 of event planners ranked F&B as the third most important factor in their site selection decisions. And with the increasing margins seen in F&B,6 61 percent of hotel general managers and F&B directors are planning net growth in event catering.7The right technology quickly accounts for multiple components, ensuring that you convert the right group business while reducing costs and streamlining processes. In addition, rather than RM and sales wrestling over static minimum available rates (MARs), your sales team will be instantly armed with optimized pricing recommendations that will maximize total profitability for each group. Sales will be happy. RM will be happy. And management will be happy with the end result.Achieving Balance While you may hear whispers about the appeal of virtual meetings, a study by Oxford Economics8 confirms that group business is here to stay. Face-to-face meetings were the clear winner among corporate executives who perceived virtual meetings to be 85 percent less effective with prospective customers, and 63 percent less effective with current customers.Hoteliers committed to effectively winning and managing group business must understand that it's a team sport. It requires a constant flow of communication and data among all departments. And when applied in conjunction with the right tools and tactics, the yin and yang of RM and sales will balance the complex process of group business management, leading to many profitable years of hosting face-to-face events.

The Top 7 Hospitality Trends Every Hotelier Should Watch in 2019

The Rainmaker Group ·30 January 2019
Last year proved to be a strong one for the U.S. hotel industry, with occupancy, average daily rate (ADR), and revenue per available room (RevPAR) all trending positively. For 2019, STR and Tourism Economics1 optimistically project another year of growth. Changes in supply, however, will impact local market occupancy levels and hoteliers' pricing power, with many hotels experiencing more intense competition among key guest segments. To maintain profit margins, and stay ahead of the curve, consider your business in light of these top seven hospitality trends.Appealing to Next-Gen Travelers In 2019, we'll see increasing focus on Millennial (Generation Y) travel trends, as Millennials overtake Boomers2 in population this year. Historically, the travel industry has treated business and leisure travelers as two distinct entities. But Millennials - who are expected to account for nearly half of all business travel spending by 20203 - are more likely to extend a business trip into a leisure vacation (bleisure). And adventure-seeking Millennials have championed the burgeoning "experience economy," valuing unique, cultural experiences over material possessions.4Generation Z (those born between 1995 and 2000 depending on which source you use) are coming up hot on the Millennial's heels when it comes to desire for changes in travel. While both generations share many similarities, one key difference between Gen Zers and Millennials is their desire for security. Having grown up during the Great Recession, Generation Z tends to be more pragmatic and fiscally responsible when it comes to travel.Hotels can attract more Generation Y and Z customers in 2019 by offering off-the-beaten-path activities and opportunities to interact with locals, all the while incorporating incentives and discounts that appeal to their budgets. When it comes to F&B,5 both generations favor communal dining tables and organic, locally sourced dishes over fancy fare. And they're connected 24/7, with technology influencing how they shop and pay for travel. So, conveniences like mobile check-in and chatbots that provide instant answers to questions are increasingly important. Personalization 2.0In a move that mirrors the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), last summer the California legislature passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)8 which goes into effect at the start of 2020. The new law will affect the state's privacy landscape in terms of personal data collection. And is likely to create an impact that will spread across the entire country.Despite this however, the demand for greater personalization, or hyper-personalization, is increasing. With the vast majority of travelers willing to share personal information and preferences in return for greater convenience and personal touches. And many are willing to pay a premium10 for those personalized services. A survey by IBM Global Business Services9 revealed that more than 70 percent of hotel guests report positive experiences with personalization.To achieve hyper-personalization, hotels must devote resources to harnessing the power of data, collecting and analyzing information at every customer touchpoint from your proprietary website to social media. Cloud-based solutions unify that information across technology platforms, giving you actionable insights into ways you can tailor individual guest experiences that will drive repeat business and increase revenues. As an example, perhaps a repeat business traveler routinely declines your parking option. Advanced systems can detect this behavior pattern and replace it with a more relevant offer, such as round-trip shuttle service or a drink voucher in the hotel lounge.Reinvented Loyalty ProgramsLoyalty programs are popular with Millennial6 and non-Millennial travelers alike, with about half of all U.S. leisure travelers7 now belonging to one. Today's travelers are demanding more flexibility in their loyalty program experience. Not everyone wants a discount or complimentary night's stay as a reward. A change we'll see in 2019 is a move away from the points-only reward system.You can increase guest satisfaction and on-property spend by making points liquid and spendable anywhere within your brand experience. This may include guests using points for a spa treatment, restaurant meal, or in the gift shop. Reimagined programs are also offering experiential rewards, such as tickets to live events, wine tastings, or exclusive activities. A deep understanding of your customers will help you determine which rewards speak most effectively to them, allowing you to forge deeper connections and adding greater value to their stays.Integration over IsolationIn the past, revenue strategy, sales, and marketing have functioned in isolation. Each with their own goals, technology solutions, and customer databases. Their efforts were rarely aligned, with each using different data sets to develop marketing strategies and make key pricing decisions. The result was missed revenue opportunities, less effective direct marketing, and lower profitability.Throughout 2019, we'll see a convergence of revenue strategy, sales, and marketing into one cohesive revenue-generation team, working in coordination to acquire, engage, and retain guests. Integrated technology solutions, particularly those utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze Big Data, will help increase hotel profitability by enabling cross-functional alignment and generating a single customer profile. One that takes into account detailed information like past preferences, reason for travel, length of stay, and booking behavior.Total Revenue OptimizationAnother trend that's emerging, is total revenue optimization that takes the full lifetime value of guests into account. Hotels are applying revenue optimization strategies to all hotel profit centers, going beyond a pure rooms focus to include F&B outlets, ancillary revenue sources, and conferencing spaces. In addition, hotels are becoming more strategic with group bookings. New tools have emerged that allow sales to quickly and accurately evaluate group business. Systems instantly generate optimized pricing, allowing hotels to close more deals while maximizing groups and meetings total revenue.Social Media Matters In the evolving world of digital marketing, hoteliers cannot afford to ignore the tweets, Instagram pictures, and Facebook posts that now define the social media domain. Millennials in particular are extremely active on social media, with 91 percent trusting online reviews11 as much as they would a personal recommendation.Reputation management and having an active social media presence are crucial for your business success in 2019, with 49 percent of leisure guests, and 43 percent of business guests,12 regularly sharing views about their most recent travel experiences on social media. Hotels can engage with guests on social media, obtaining a gold mine of guest preference information and post-trip feedback. In addition, effective and free advertising in the form of user-generated content (UGC) will continue to grow. Hotels are even creating "Instagram-worthy" scenes on property to encourage photographs.Sharing Economy Impact Disruption caused by the rise of the "sharing economy," has reshaped the behavior of travelers. Guests appreciate platforms like Airbnb for their personalized approach, authenticity, and uniqueness. And with 68 percent of travelers13 seeing no noticeable difference between hotel chains, hoteliers have their work cut out for them.Brands seeking to compete effectively with alternative accommodation sites are updating room decor with distinctive, local touches. And transforming lobbies into relaxing coffee shop-style settings that speak to the desires of today's travelers for combination co-working/socializing spaces. Furthermore, on the revenue strategy side, hotel managers are capturing more market share by accessing granular data and leveraging analytics in order to understand market penetration, pricing, and the dynamics around elasticity associated with these platforms.This year is poised to be an action-packed one for the hotel industry, filled with new challenges and changes. By understanding and embracing these trends that are steadily transforming the industry - and putting the right tools and systems in place - you'll improve guest experiences, enhance your reputation, and optimize your revenue in 2019 and beyond.
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Right Product, Right Customer, Right Price, Right Channel, Right Time: Revenue Management Decision Making

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog·17 January 2019
Now that we’re a couple weeks into 2019, are the revenue management plans you have in place going to maximize your profits this year? Are you taking all the factors affecting your pricing strategy into consideration? Are you offering the right room to the right customer? What does your channel mix look like? In a recent webinar we discussed “The 5 Rights of Revenue Management.” Every situation is different, and sometimes you may only need to focus on one of the below categories – but all five should have a place at the table when making the tough revenue management decisions.
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Rainmaker Closes a Record Year with An Increased Global Footprint, New Customer Growth, and Innovation in New Segments

The Rainmaker Group ·17 January 2019
The Rainmaker Group (Rainmaker), a leading provider of cloud-based hospitality revenue and profit optimization software, today announced that the company is starting 2019 with strong-than-ever numbers, a full implementation pipeline, and continued growth in new regions."We saw a lot of growth in 2018," explained Mike Cowles, CEO of Rainmaker. "We added many new countries to our global footprint and continued to innovate and make our mark on the all-inclusive market. We have a great team, a strong roadmap, and an amazing group of customers behind us. We're excited to see our continued success in 2019."Rainmaker's 2018 ended with a number of new customers joining Rainmaker's global hotel, resort, and casino client base. Among those noteworthy 2018 implementations are: Horseshoe Bay Resort, Five Palm, Hotel Boulderado, and Queen Kapiolani Hotel."Rainmaker's systems are leading and innovating the industry, said Nathan Choy, Director of Revenue Management at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel in Honolulu, HI. "Rainmaker's team is on top of everything as they kept me updated throughout the process. We had an amazing implementation experience and are excited to reap the benefits of Rainmaker's full platform solution."

What the Changing Distribution Landscape Means for Hotels in 2019

The Rainmaker Group ·18 December 2018
Changing Travel Shoppers = Changing Distribution Players Guest paths to purchase are changing as customer demographics transition from Baby Boomers to Millennials. On the plus side, travel is showing itself to be a top priority with Millennial families driving that growth.1 And with regard to loyalty, a Deloitte study, "Winning the Race for Guest Loyalty,"2 found that Millennials will pay a higher rate per night and travel up to 15 minutes out of their way to patronize their preferred brands. In addition, these "digital natives" value mobile capabilities and unique, exclusive experiences - a travel mindset which has expanded into older generations as well.This changing audience behavior has led to seismic shifts among the major distribution players. For instance, the rise of the experiential travel trend has led to the growing demand we see today for alternative accommodations through sites like VRBO and Airbnb. In 2017, more than 330 million people searched the Airbnb website3 for accommodations. This is leading B&Bs, independent, and boutique hotels to take advantage of Airbnb's marketing power, showcasing their properties on the platform for fees that are significantly lower than most online travel agency (OTA) commissions. Changes like these require hotel managers to view their business from new angles and necessitates taking a fresh approach to their distribution strategy. Let's take a closer look at key factors affecting the distribution landscape and how those factors impact hotels.FACTORS IMPACTING DISTRIBUTION Group BusinessAfter experiencing a downturn in the wake of the Great Recession, recent data shows group demand is on the rise,4 with Millennials accounting for the largest segment of business travelers.5 Savvy hoteliers are capitalizing on this growth by implementing group sales enablement tools that allow them to more efficiently prioritize requests for proposals (RFPs) and respond quickly with instant, optimal pricing on group bids. This enables group sales teams to optimize revenues by applying the same RM principles for groups as their revenue teams do for transient and leisure business. Another factor to consider with regard to groups and distribution is the trend toward "bleisure,"6 - with more than half of Millennial travelers combining business trips with leisure travel.Reputation Management Online reputation management has emerged as a way for hotels to both increase bookings and foster customer loyalty. Approximately 65 percent of consumers check online reviews7 before making a purchase. And with 3.2 billion global users, social media has become paramount for obtaining positive and negative feedback from guests. One study reported in Harvard Business Review8 showed that when hotels thoughtfully respond to reviews - both positive and negative - they actually receive more reviews and their overall ratings increase.Beyond Facebook & Twitter In addition, social media is being harnessed to build effective brand recall, with 97 percent of Millennials posting while traveling,9 and 75 percent posting at least once per day. Many hotels understand the value of being active on Facebook and Twitter, but are less aware of the importance of including Instagram in their social media marketing plan. The Facebook-owned social network has grown exponentially over the past few years and now has more than 1 billion active monthly users. Furthermore, U.S. consumers rank Instagram10 as among the most influential platforms for travel advertising (along with YouTube and Snapchat).THE TRANSFORMATION OF SEARCHAlthough social media continues to be an important factor with regard to your distribution strategy, search engines have actually overtaken social media11 as the top referrer of traffic to content sites. Nearly half of U.S. travelers begin trip planning via a search engine, with Google ranking first12 for obtaining information and pricing. As a result, hoteliers who master the nuances of SEO keywords and Google AdWords campaigns will achieve more direct bookings.MetasearchMetasearch engines began mushrooming not long after OTAs entered the distribution game, and they now account for 45 percent of global unique visitors13 in travel. They're popular with travelers due to their comparative rate model. And hotels appreciate their ability to nab the top spots in search engine results, driving direct and indirect bookings. In addition, metasearch advertising is largely based on a pay-per-click (PPC) model, so hotels with tighter budgets eliminate high OTA commissions, only paying for their hosted ad when someone clicks on it.VideoAn important development for hotels to consider with regard to search, is the increased use of video to generate bookings. Hospitality has historically been a great vertical for visual content, and by 2021, 80 percent of all Internet traffic is projected to be video.14 Travel content is extremely popular on YouTube and 67 percent of hotel bookings are more likely to occur when you have a video tour. Moreover, of the Internet shoppers who view your video, an astonishing 89 percent are more likely to book.15Voice We're also seeing steady growth in voice search, with ComScore estimating that more than half of searches will be voice based by 2020. This significant change in search behavior has huge implications for hotels, particularly with regard to SEO strategy. While a search query typed into a browser delivers the travel shopper hundreds of pages of search results, voice searches through virtual assistant technology such as Siri and Alexa deliver far fewer results, sometimes only one.INNOVATIONS IN TECHNOLOGYMobile While most hotel bookings still occur on desktop computers, mobile is catching up. The number of smartphone subscriptions is forecasted to reach 7.2 billion by 2023,16 making the ubiquity of mobile undeniable. A study from HotelsCombined revealed that hotel bookings on mobile devices increased 67 percent in the U.S. between 2015 and 2016. This, combined with the facts that Google is beginning to prioritize mobile-first indexing, and mobile apps are Millennials' preferred method of interacting with brands,17 means that it's becoming essential for hotels to provide an app or have a mobile website that accommodates these on-the-go travel shoppers. Even further, last-minute hotel bookings are on the rise and up to 80 percent of those are now made on mobile.18Artificial IntelligenceArtificial intelligence (AI), is impacting hospitality technology from revenue management solutions to AI chatbots, which have proven themselves effective in boosting direct bookings. Hotels benefit from a chatbot's ability to provide an efficient 24/7 concierge at a fraction of the cost of a standard support team. And a HubSpot survey suggests that many consumers enjoy communicating with chatbots because of their ability to respond instantly.BlockchainAlthough still in a relatively nascent stage, blockchain technology is poised to become an effective medium for hotel distribution. The technology is making OTAs nervous because it eliminates third-party costs and commissions, encouraging direct provider-to-consumer interaction.19 As an example, the blockchain company, Lockchain, provides a platform where customers can book rooms directly with hotels using any currency they like for a minimal fee of 1 to 3 percent. Or they can book using Lockchain's special "LOC token" and pay no booking fee at all.The ultimate takeaway from all these developments, is that in order for your business to thrive in 2019, you must not become complacent. You should continue engaging in established channels but consider investing in fresh approaches such as creating visual content and becoming active on Instagram. And it's no longer a question of whether or not to adopt technology, but rather what technology to adopt. Be vigilant concerning new developments in the distribution landscape - consider the costs and returns expected from each - and get a firm grasp of each catalyst. Then craft a sophisticated approach in your distribution strategy, one that effectively drives occupancy, engagement, and revenue.
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Middle East Hotels turn to The Rainmaker Group for Better Hospitality Analytics

The Rainmaker Group · 4 December 2018
The Rainmaker Group today announced the rapid expansion of use of the business intelligence tool, revintel, across properties in the Middle East, including the Grand Excelsior. The latest property to embrace revintel come in addition to the existing portfolio of Movenpick and Rosewood Hotels, along with the Five Dubai, the Palazzo Versace, and the Nobu Riyadh."We sought a tool that would save us time and provide easier access to a wider and more valid source of analytics across our organization," said Muhammad Atif Ali, Director of Revenue for the Palazzo Versace Dubai. "Rainmaker's revintel gives us access to exactly the data we need at our fingertips."revintel is a web-based application which combines data from disparate systems to generate actionable insights designed to accelerate revenue growth. The business intelligence tool provides properties, hotel management groups, owners and asset managers with detailed visibility into leading and lagging revenue-oriented data across their entire profile."revintel gives factual insights into business, which guides tactics needed in order to gain market share and increase RevPAR," said Abhishek Lakhotia, Director of Revenue for Five Palm Jumeriah Dubai. "revintel is very user friendly and easy to navigate.""Five Palm opened its doors on March 31, 2017. Year on year growth through September 18th of this year has been over 200% but, of course, being in our second year of business, this is the expected ramp up," Lahkotia said. "Growth in the months of October and November is approximately 20% on RevPAR where we can see the competitive set dropping, & revintel has definitely contributed to part of this growth." Rainmaker announced their expansion of its Middle East and Africa operations earlier this year by naming Hicham Diab as regional director of business development. "We are very excited about the Middle East embracing revintel and for the prospect of growth in the region," said Patrick Andres, SVP of Asia-Pacific, Middle-East and Africa. "I attribute a solid amount of this growth to the appointment of Hicham and through the expansion of our physical presence in the area, including our office in Dubai. We look forward to continued conversations with properties in the Middle East looking to add a powerful tool like revintel to their revenue management capabilities."* Rainmaker's groundbreaking revenue and profit optimization product suite includes:* guestrev, an intuitive and easy-to-use revenue management solution that analyzes total guest value across a hotel or casino property to forecast and price rooms;* grouprev, an innovative group pricing solution that streamlines the process of responding to group RFPs by analyzing historical data, future demand, and price sensitivity to recommend the best pricing for group business;* revcaster, a powerful rate shopping tool that gives hoteliers access to real-time actionable market data, so that rates can be set against the competitive landscape; and* revintel, an intuitive business intelligence solution that improves day-to-day revenue management by mining various data sets and providing deep insights at a granular level.

Key Tools to Include in Your Group Sales Toolkit

The Rainmaker Group ·27 November 2018
Group business is growing. According to American Express,1 group hotel rates increased globally 2.8 percent on average over 2017, with North America seeing the greatest increase, rising 3.5 percent. And we can expect those rates to continue their upward climb along with continued demand growth from groups.2 Unfortunately, many hotels are not capturing the full potential of this growth the average U.S. hotel occupancy rate hitting a 30-year high3 at 66.1 percent, while event space remained vacant a disproportionate amount of the time.Group businesses is a highly underutilized revenue source that should form an essential part of a hotel revenue mix. Groups provide leverage in pricing. And while leisure travelers may cancel on a whim, group business is sticky, operating in both peak and off-peak seasons. In addition, group customers spend more on ancillaries, have a higher propensity for repeat business, and often combine business trips with leisure vacations (bleisure).Today, 86 percent of event planners4 fall into the tech-savvy5 Millennial and Gen X categories, with the vast majority of them now sourcing venues digitally. And while CareerCast.com ranks event coordinators fifth6 on the list of most stressful jobs in 2018, you can make their and your sales team members jobs easier with the right tools. Advances in technology are revolutionizing the meetings and events industry by automating and streamlining formerly manual processes. By adding critical pieces to your group sales toolkit, your hotel will g gain exposure to your highest valued prospects and have real-time access to accurate group demand forecasts, optimal room rate suggestions, and more, enabling your sales team to respond quicker and convert more booked business.Win at the Law of AttractionThe first step in gaining more group customers starts with awareness. As planners begin their preliminary searches for possible destinations, you want your property to be the first to enter their radar. To increase exposure, you need to be visible on every channel that planners are utilizing7 during this stage. So, in addition to optimizing your search engine results, you can employ a top-line planner sourcing platform, such as the Cvent Supplier Network, which instantly connects you with prospects while highlighting your hotels value and unique features. This simplifies the site selection process for the planner and brings you incremental business you would not have obtained otherwise.And once planners have nailed down their event destination, hotels still have a big opportunity to win the business because nearly half of all planners remain somewhat uncertain8 regarding specific venue. Implement software that allows you to target planners with customized and automated digital marketing campaigns that are more likely to convert.Manage Incoming RFPs Electronic requests for proposal (RFPs) have become the norm. And many group sales teams are overwhelmed with the volume of queries they receive, resulting in missed opportunities and delays in finding those diamonds amid all the rough. Approximately 70 percent of group business is awarded to first responders. Arm your sales team with integrated technology solutions that help prioritize leads and swiftly analyze group displacement, demand forecasts, and other market conditions to instantly suggest optimal pricing.Strong lead-scoring lets you evaluate leads by any number of factors, including profitability, availability, and propensity to spend, helping you determine in a matter of minutes versus hours, which leads are most worth pursuing. Group displacement analysis allows hotels to accurately calculate the true value of a group in comparison to other potential groups or transient business looking beyond room rates to examine total value, including food-and-beverage spend, meeting room rental, and all non-room revenue streams. Furthermore, with the right technology, hotels gain the ability to transform turndowns into bids by automatically recommending alternative dates if the primary dates arent available.Optimize & MaximizeOftentimes, hoteliers dont apply the same revenue management tactics for groups that they use for transient or leisure business. However, those who use Rainmakers group sales enablement solution, grouprev, can now quickly identify and convert the most valuable groups for their hotel while considering the propertys broader revenue strategy. Sophisticated algorithms allow you to maximize group room and non-room revenue by instantly optimizing group pricing with just a couple of clicks. The platform helps you maximize utilization of function space as well, and more effectively manage your propertys catering calendar.The convenience of the optimized pricing feature allows your sales teams to respond to RFPs and group leads more quickly and confidently as opposed to wasting hours or even days waiting for approvals and risking loss of the business. grouprev also helps you refine pattern management, allowing you to more effectively yield around transient business and better strategize around your optimal business mix. Hotels using grouprev see an average lift of 8.4 percent in group revenue, and an 11.5 percent average increase in converted group RFPs.Benchmark Yourself & Your Competition To achieve optimal success from your group business, you must fully understand your own performance. A solid solution measures your own key performance indicators (KPIs), patterns, and progress over time, while also providing insight into the whys behind the numbers. Rate your progress on metrics such as your bid, turndown, and conversion rates. Evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, your response times, and RFP market share. And determine your ratio of RFPs won versus lost.Once you have a clear view of your own group business performance, you can move on to see how you stack up against your competitors. How much market share do you claim? How do your soft periods compare with your comp set? Study group booking trends among your local and broader market. And identify your true competitive set, which is not necessarily made up of hotels within your local market. Advanced analytics helps you identify those hotels receiving the highest proportion of leads that your hotel also receives, no matter where in the world theyre located. By benchmarking your performance and your competition, youre better positioned to make informed decisions concerning where you need to improve and where to best focus your resources.Forecasting for Success Another critical tool to deploy in this journey is one that automates the process of generating accurate group business demand forecasts. While forecasting transient demand is commonplace, forecasting for groups9 is a relatively new concept. But an invaluable one. An accurate prediction of your group demand allows you to convert more, facilitating decisions regarding which group or transient business to accept for any given period. Accurate forecasts help you maximize room rates and the usage of your property function space as well, while optimizing operation expenses such as food-and-beverage ordering and staffing.Its possible to lose a group lead at any point in the process from sourcing all the way through to the actual event. Incorporating digital tools and software solutions can make a crucial difference. Partner with providers that will help your hotel sales professionals attract and convert the most valuable group leads to you grow your bottom line. With the right systems in place, you can dig deep into the numbers, monitoring your analytics and performance over time in order to continuously improve, ultimately claiming larger and larger slices of the group business pie.

The Path to Total Revenue Management

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog·20 November 2018
The concept of total hotel revenue management industry has been discussed for years, to the point where some in the revenue management discipline are asking why the topic is still being discussed. It came up earlier this year at a roundtable hosted by Sherri Kimes in Singapore, where a group of RMS professionals and hotel executives spoke to students about the current and future state of revenue management. Total revenue optimization is still the future of our discipline. Here is where we are on the path to achieving the long-heralded concept of total revenue management for hotels.

Do You Know What Your Distribution Channels Cost?

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog· 1 November 2018
Many hotels are not as focused as they should be on their channel costs. In fact, a report by the Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association (HEDNA) revealed that just 65 percent of chains and 48 percent of independents look closely at cost of distribution. A key factor in your property’s growth and profitability involves developing an effective channel mix strategy. Crucial to that strategy, is accurately determining the costs involved in acquiring and retaining guests.

A Key to Hotel Business Success: Tracking, Trends & Time

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog·25 October 2018
A study of 170 travel and hospitality executives revealed an area where their organizations were lacking was effective use of data. It can be overwhelming to package all the metrics you collect into actionable insights that truly benefit your business. But with the right systems in place, your data can become a key pillar for identifying patterns and trends in your business - helping you not only recognize and expand upon positive directions, but providing the ability to course correct when necessary toward more lucrative opportunities.

7 Reasons Why You're Not Getting the Most Out of Your Hotel Technology Systems

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog·18 October 2018
The hotel industry is and always will be about providing good old-fashioned hospitality. With an ever-increasing volume of analytics to contend with, however, the need for shiny, new technology systems to improve business performance is also ever increasing. Fifty-two percent of hotels plan to increase their IT investments, and those investments are paying off. According to Starfleet research, hotels that upgrade their revenue management systems see a 7 to 10 percent average lift in RevPAR.

Hotel Budget Season: Design Your Most Profitable Channel Mix Strategy in 2019

The Rainmaker Group ·17 October 2018
Travel customers have an unprecedented number of options to shop and book hotels, with new competitors constantly jumping into the distribution channel pool. Determining what inventory to sell through which channels has become a critical component in operating a profitable hotel. The industry is seeing online travel agencies (OTAs) with market values higher than many hotel brands and commissions rising at twice the rate of revenue growth.1 Despite these intimidating numbers, intermediary distribution channels should not be looked upon with enmity, but rather as key players in your unique channel mix strategy - designed to bring you greater success and profitability in 2019.KNOW YOUR GUESTS & WHERE THEY SHOPBefore you can determine the optimal channel mix strategy for your hotel, you must identify your ideal business mix. Perform a thorough analysis of your current customer segments, including demographics, source markets, the purpose for visiting, length of stay, and of course, which channels they're using to shop for hotels. In particular, you want to understand the total guest value of each customer segment, moving beyond revenue per available room (RevPAR) or even net revenue per available room (NetRevPAR) - which accounts for acquisition costs. In addition, consider guest spend on ancillaries such as food & beverage, recreation, spa services, and merchandise. With this information at your fingertips, you can plan which higher-value customer segments you want to target in 2019, and through which channels you can best reach them.DO YOUR DATA & INSIGHTS MEASURE UP?With the current influx of big data, hotels are hit with a literal firehose of information to sort through. To create an intelligent channel mix strategy for 2019, you need more than just data - you need insights. The right technology and tools help you perform an accurate assessment of your performance in light of the overall business available in your market, allowing you to zero in on the actions necessary for achieving your channel optimization goal.Channel ProfitabilityAcquisition costs have risen to up to 25 percent of guest paid revenue,2 and include commissions, transaction fees, and loyalty program costs, as well as property-level or franchisor sales and marketing costs. It's important not only to evaluate each channel's top-line revenue but also track the costs necessary to secure the revenue. Additionally, evaluate your proprietary website (brand.com) just as you would a third-party partner. Finally, you need to clearly understand which channels your highest-value guests are booking through in order to adequately value the ROI of each channel.Attribution & Campaign TaggingIt's important to track visitor statistics, hotel website navigation paths, and sales transactions from your booking engine. However, a guest's purchase channel doesn't always correlate with their shopping channel.3 In China, for example, despite high shopping activity on brand.com websites, more hotel bookings occur through OTAs. More than 40 percent of travelers say they bounce back and forth4 between exploring the details for one destination and then zooming out to reconsider all their options again. To address the challenge of accurately attributing credit to the myriad actions that result in conversion, a newer tracking tool known as "campaign tagging" identifies website traffic by source as well as by the promotional campaign and distribution channel that triggered their visit.Ancillary SpendEach channel's ancillary revenue contribution must also be factored into the equation.5 On the surface, it may appear as if a specific hotel is gaining more business through a certain OTA versus direct. However, a deeper analysis may reveal that the brand.com customer is spending more than double in ancillary revenue and room rates than the OTA channel customer, while also maintaining longer lengths of stay and higher retention rates.Marketing ResultsEvaluate your marketing spend by channel6 to see if you're getting enough return on your investment. Some channels may bring in better results during specific weekdays or seasons. Analyze different combinations in order to allocate your marketing resources to the right channels at the right time.In-depth analysis of these factors, in light of your target business mix and KPIs will reveal your most profitable distribution channels in the truest sense. However, this is not a "one and done" scenario. Hotels must consistently monitor and reevaluate their channel strategy, determining ways to efficiently gain the optimal mix of traffic, and convert the traffic into the highest profitable transactions.OPTIMIZE YOUR CHANNEL MIX FOR REVENUES AND ROIIn the past, when it came to managing channel mix, hotels rarely looked beyond revenues and occasionally costs. By only considering these metrics, you may believe it's in your best interests to fill your rooms purely through direct channels. However, the goal is not to eliminate intermediary channels, it's about creating your most profitable mix. And most hotels need a blend of demand from multiple channels.7With so many channel options available, sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees. Just because a particular channel is popular,8 or is working well for a market leader, doesn't mean it's ideal for you. It's about strategy. Use your own data and be realistic in terms of your specific market demand drivers, location, and costs.Set clear goals by channel, by day of week, and by season. Build your strategy, which may involve reducing or eliminating participation in some channels, while stimulating greater flow into others. The channel mix that brings you the greatest profitability is going to be unique to your hotel, involving an effective balance between direct, indirect, online, and offline channels.Direct OnlineYour proprietary website and Internet booking engine, outshines the results of OTA bookings9 in terms of guest loyalty, rates, frequency, and length of stay.Optimize it: With 40 percent of U.S. travel site visits coming from mobile,10 make certain your website is mobile-friendly. Take advantage of upsell and cross-sell opportunities, and build relationships to gain lucrative repeat business. Use market intelligence to create targeted promotional campaigns that are likely to convert.Direct OfflineVoice is a particularly effective offline channel, with average rates and length of stay trending higher than many other channels,11 and even scoring points with Millennials.12 Optimize it: Like its online sister, offline direct channels also provide opportunities to upsell and offer revenue-maximizing add-ons. Make things easy for guests by incorporating seamless click-to-call capability.OTAs & MetasearchIn 2017, Phocuswright reported that approximately 22 percent of hotel gross bookings occur through OTAs.13 And while the Billboard Effect may be dead,14 clearly, OTAs and metasearch sites remain an important part of your distribution channel toolkit. Their advertising budget affords them a much larger reach into emerging markets individual hotels can never hope to duplicate. This creates exposure to your brand you wouldn't be able to achieve on your own. Optimize it: Develop a strategy to capture email addresses for OTA guests at check-in. Acquiring the email addresses of those who booked through an OTA will give you the ability to market to those guests in the future. Hopefully, you will be able to convert those customers from an OTA loyal customer to a "your brand" loyal customerGDSThe Global Distribution System exposes your hotel to millions of travel agents around the world. It is estimated that greater than 55% of the business that books via the GDS is managed business. However, with annual worldwide hotel room revenue production estimated at $8.5 billion dollars, there is still a significant amount of business you can influence.15Optimize it: Work with your GDS connectivity provider to make sure your listing is optimized. Consider GDS advertising or even possibly placement programs.Wholesalers (Offline & Online)While this business tends to be more influential in gateway cities and destination markets, it can bring valuable guests to hotels. These guests will likely be from markets many hotels do not have the ability to reach on their own. Additionally, this segment tends to have a longer length of stay which benefits the hotel's bottom line.Optimize it: Make sure your profiles are consistent and accurate, filled with engaging descriptions and images designed to attract your target audience.Competition is fierce in this hybrid-channel marketplace. And as the distribution landscape evolves in complexity, hotels must take a comprehensive approach to developing their channel optimization strategy. One that's rooted in a solid foundation of analytics combined with accurate tracking of the right performance metrics. Your channel mix is crucial to your property's ability to grow and achieve financial success. Once you've developed your strategy, you must continuously monitor and refine it - always keeping the goal of maximizing your profit potential top of mind. Hotels that create an optimal channel mix strategy, and pair it with the power of top-line technology, will find themselves well along the path to long-term profitability.Kristi White will be hosting a webinar on the topic of "Are You Ready for 2019?" on 10/30 at 2 PM EST. Click here to register.

Why You Need to Take a Holistic Approach to Hotel Budgeting

The Rainmaker Group · 9 October 2018
To develop an accurate and functional budget for 2019, hoteliers must take a holistic approach to the process. This involves starting with a big-picture view that includes your top company initiatives, along with a drill-down into the data to identify significant, sustainable cost-reduction opportunities in conjunction with hotel-wide profit optimization strategies. This is all then compiled into a neat package that guides you in capturing the greatest market share and revenue possible throughout the coming year.The Big Picture: Successes, Challenges, & Future ObjectivesThe first step in drafting your budget for 2019 requires an evaluation of your 2018 performance - an in-depth analysis of historical data concerning your successes and challenges. What trends, guest segments, channels, or tactics produced the highest revenues and drove the largest number of conversions? Don't simply make potentially costly assumptions or transfer line items from year to year simply because you've always done it that way.Consider your financial priorities and business goals for 2019, and the primary obstacles you'll encounter that impact them. Then thoroughly examine each area of your business - group sales, food and beverage (F&B), marketing - and explore how they contribute to your company revenue targets. Dig deep into the numbers and determine what exactly is required to meet your revenue goals. Your marketing budget should account for techniques to reach every area of your guest funnel, from those in the top-of-funnel inspiration phase, through research and planning, to building repeat business and loyalty.Complete your big-picture view by combining data with insights derived from discussions with your front-line staff. Conversations between hotel management, sales, marketing, and guest-facing staff provide invaluable information concerning what guests are looking for, happy with, or complaining about.Proactive vs. Reactive"I believe that everyone chooses how to approach life. If you're proactive, you focus on preparing. If you're reactive, you end up focusing on repairing." ~ John C. MaxwellWhen it comes to preparing your budget, it may be tempting to take the shortcut of simply using last year's budget and updating it. However, you'll likely end up with a flurry of short-term "tactical" fixes and fragmented marketing ideas designed to create isolated bursts of revenue. This is a reactive approach, with your budget based solely off what happened in the past and not at all representative of what your business truly needs to move forward.Your hotel budgeting plan should be a continuous, proactive process,1 not a reactive exercise. It should never be simply a Q4 event. Like a golfer who keeps score throughout the game, adjusting to improve performance after each hole, it's important for hotel management to proactively work on budgets year-round. To create the most accurate budget for the following year, evaluate business performance weekly and monthly. Regularly update rolling forecasts2 and measure your performance in relation to those forecasts.Long-term proactive budgets are driven from the top down. More strategic in nature, the proactive approach translates your company goals and objectives into action. It guides budget decisions in advance, and establishes how your hotel can expect to profit throughout the coming year. Further, proactive budget strategy includes accurate forecasting as an essential component.3 By utilizing a revenue management system (RMS) enhanced by the powerful analytics of a modern business intelligence platform, you can incorporate forecasting specifics such as occupancy, arrival and departure patterns, length of stay, and seasonality into your budget plan. These insights ensure you appropriately plan for labor costs and make the most of your hotel resources. You also zero in on which guest segments, ancillaries, and promotional campaigns produced the highest revenue. This places you in a much better position to allocate your resources in ways to help achieve your profit goals for 2019.Budget for Profit Not Just RevenueRevenue-generation strategy is a primary focus for hotel owners planning their 2019 budgets. It's important to remember, however, that revenue per available room (RevPAR) only tells part of the profitability story. For true budget-planning success, don't simply focus on increasing revenue, but profits.4 Is your hotel catering to the optimal mix of business to meet and exceed your financial expectations? Are you looking beyond room revenue to optimizing non-room revenue streams as well?Here again an RMS and forecasting functionality play a role allowing you to identify ways to target your highest-value guest segments in 2019. An accurate demand forecast includes unconstrained demand, stay patterns, and booking pace, which directly impact your bottom line. If your property is forecasted for a period of high occupancy due to high unconstrained demand, for example, then a revenue manager can plan to sell on low-cost/high-rate channels to maximize profits. Alternatively, forecasted low-occupancy periods could trigger an increase in promotional campaigns across all online channels - and customized promotions for off-line customers - in order to produce incremental demand. In addition, demand forecasts allow you to anticipate the additional revenue that will be generated from other departments that are proportional to room occupancy, such as F&B, spa, and other ancillary services.Take a Strategic Approach to Reducing CostsBudgeting for profit means analyzing your operational costs in relation to revenues, including purchases of perishable and non-perishable goods. As an illustration, during projected low occupancy, a hotel can plan to decrease food purchases for its buffet offerings, and reduce labor expenses by scheduling less staff in housekeeping and F&B services. In addition, you should accurately track acquisition costs5 - costs incurred to acquire reservations - for your individual property and the industry at large. By tracking both you obtain a more transparent indication of your customer acquisition efficiency, as well as the direction its trending.Many hotels will be deploying capital towards renovations in the coming year. Take a strategic approach to how you budget for your own hard and soft renovations. Projections of consistently high unconstrained demand may lead management to decide a major hotel expansion is called for. And in terms of soft renovations, a close examination of your guest segment trends and preferences will pay dividends in your budget planning success.First Forecast of the YearYour budget is truly your first forecast of the year, but no one sees into the future with 100 percent clarity. The twists and turns of this dynamic, competitive marketplace may make what seems crystal clear today, appear quite different tomorrow. A holistic budget strategy anticipates change. For optimal results invest in a flexible and robust technology solution6 that not only helps account for the multiple "what if" scenarios that will arise, but provides a distinct path toward creating operational efficiencies, improving performance, and increasing your profits - always guiding you in the direction of selling the right product, to the right customer, at the right time, at the right price, via the right channel.For more on the topic of taking a holistic approach to your 2019 plans, join Kristi White for a webinar assessing "Are You Ready for 2019?" on 10/30 at 2PM EST. Click here to register.SOURCES:1Braun, Robert, and Global Hospitality Group. "Hotel Lawyer: Tips on Negotiating Your Annual Hotel Budget." Hotel Law Blog, Global Hospitality Group, 12 Oct. 2017, hotellaw.jmbm.com/hotel-budget-tips.html.2Mest, Elliott. "10 Ways to Manage Expenses in 2018." Hotel Management, 14 Feb. 2018, www.hotelmanagement.net/operate/10-ways-to-manage-expenses-2018.3Aghazadeh, Seved-Mahmoud, "Revenue Forecasting Models for Hotel Management." The Journal of Business Forecasting, Flushing, Vol. 26. Issue 3 (Fall 2007): 33-37. https://search.proquest.com/openview/3f34c7f72d098b825231f99aed460ae8/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=281444Enz, Cathy, et al. "Study Highlights Growth of Strategic Hotel Profit Management." Admissions Statistics | Undergraduate Program | Cornell SHA, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, 18 Apr. 2017, sha.cornell.edu/centers-institutes/chr/blog/2017/04/18/study-highlights-growth-of-strategic-hotel-profit-management/.5Starkov, Max, and Mariana Safer. "Whitepaper Available: The Smart Hotelier's Guide To 2018 Digital Marketing & Technology Budget Planning." Hotel Internet Marketing | HeBS Digital | Hotel Website Design, HeBS Digital, 15 Sept. 2017, www.hebsdigital.com/blog/must-read-whitepaper-available-the-smart-hoteliers-guide-to-2018-digital-marketing-technology-budget-planning/.6Winata, Lanita, and Lokman Mia. "Information Technology and the Performance Effect of Managers' Participation in Budgeting: Evidence from the Hotel Industry." International Journal of Hospitality Management, Academic Press, 25 July 2004, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278431904000362.
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Okada Manila Selects Rainmaker Solution Suite to Drive Guest Bookings, Outperform Competitors and Increase Profitability

The Rainmaker Group · 9 October 2018
The Rainmaker Group (Rainmaker), a leading provider of cloud-based hospitality revenue management software, today announced that Okada Manila has selected a comprehensive solution suite, including guestrev, grouprev, revcaster and revintel, to optimize hotel revenue and drive competitive advantage at the 993-room world-class luxury property. The agreement marks Rainmaker's expansion in the Asia-Pacific hospitality market.Okada Manila, the largest casino resort in the Philippines, is a popular destination for entertainment seeking, leisure and business travelers. The hotel's management team wanted an integrated cloud-based revenue management suite that would streamline operations, enhance revenue optimization processes, improve lead performance, and drive guest bookings. After a lengthy review process, they selected the Rainmaker solutions, citing factors such as features, functionality, and ease of implementation."The Rainmaker revenue management suite meets our requirement for a comprehensive cloud-based solution that's both powerful and easy to use," said Julius Santos, Director of Sales and Marketing at Okada Manila. "Revenue optimization technology is critical to success in today's hotel market, and Rainmaker's suite will help us improve pricing decisions, drive conversion rates, and maximize group business potential. The solutions are also easy for staff to understand and use, with a minimal learning curve. We are excited to implement the suite and start reaping the benefits of more efficient operations and increased profitability."Okada Manila has selected the following revenue management software solutions from Rainmaker:guestrev, an intuitive and easy-to-use revenue management application that analyzes total guest value across a hotel or casino property to forecast and price rooms;grouprev, an innovative group pricing solution that streamlines the process of responding to group RFPs by analyzing historical data, future demand, and price sensitivity to recommend the best pricing for group business;revcaster, a powerful rate shopping tool that gives hoteliers access to real-time actionable market data, so that rates can be set against the competitive landscape; andrevintel, an intuitive business intelligence solution that improves day-to-day revenue management by mining various data sets and providing deep insights at a granular level."Hotels, casinos and other hospitality venues that want to achieve a competitive advantage must employ state-of-the-art revenue management technology," said Mike Cowles, CEO of The Rainmaker Group. "Our portfolio of revenue optimization and analytic solutions will help Okada Manila distill the most complex data from numerous sources and turn it into actionable insights, resulting in increased guest bookings and profitability. We are thrilled to deliver our comprehensive revenue management suite to this world-class property and to expand our footprint in the Asia-Pacific hospitality market."Located in the heart of Manila's Entertainment City gaming strip, Okada Manila is the largest casino resort in the Philippines and the newest gaming and entertainment destination in Asia. The $2.4 billion development includes 993 luxury guest rooms and suites, more than 20 dining options, a collection of exclusive retail shops, a 90,000-square-foot indoor beach club, and a 284,000-square-foot casino. The centerpiece of the property is a large multicolor dancing fountain spanning more than 400,000 square feet and costing more than $30 million. Okada Manila is the flagship development of Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment, Inc., a subsidiary of Japan's Universal Entertainment Corporation.

Hotel Budget Season: Getting Team Buy-in and Setting Expectations

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog·27 September 2018
Are you ready for a more productive and profitable 2019? Budget season is an important and challenging time for your hotel business. As you begin preparing your hotel budget for next year, there is one non-data-related component vital for your business success. And that is getting team buy-in on your shiny new budget plan.

Hotel Budget Season: How Revenue Management Technology Optimizes Your Budget Strategy (Part 3 of 4)

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog·20 September 2018
Hotel budgets are impacted by myriad factors like seasonality, economic conditions, events, and competition. Even unanticipated occurrences such as extreme weather conditions have the ability to dramatically skew your budgeted figures. A science-based revenue management system (RMS) goes beyond just revenue management and can guide you in profit optimization. It enables you to optimize your budget strategy in ways that drive not just top-line revenues but ultimately higher overall profits.
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The Rainmaker Group Now Integrates with Central Reservation System, Windsurfer CRS, to Provide a More Streamlined Interface for Customers

The Rainmaker Group ·20 September 2018
The Rainmaker Group announces a full integration between Rainmaker's premier revenue management system, guestrev, and SHR, Sceptre Hospitality Resources, a pioneer of advanced hotel distribution technologies and developer of Windsurfer CRS.This integration allows guestrev to send pricing recommendations directly to Windsurfer CRS, giving properties the ability to access strategic information as they make pricing decisions. Hotel properties that utilize both guestrev and Windsurfer will be able to see Daily Rates, overbooking (at the property level or room type level), and Open/Close to Stay-Through within the CRS, instead of waiting for their PMS to relay the same data."We are excited to partner with SHR on a streamlined technology integration between Windsurfer CRS and Rainmaker's guestrev profit optimization solution. This real-time integration will provide SHR and Rainmaker customers with increased profitability through dynamic pricing capabilities," said Mike Cowles, CEO of Rainmaker. "We understand the importance of working with best in class companies to provide quality experiences for our customers and we are proud to have Windsurfer CRS as a new integration partner."Nicole Adair, Corporate Director of Revenue Management for SHR agrees. "At SHR, we recognize the importance of a data-driven revenue management strategy and are looking forward to bringing the power of our Windsurfer CRS distribution platform to Rainmaker RMS clients," she said. "This integration will allow our mutual clients to more seamlessly deploy their revenue strategy across distribution channels, and significantly reduce their manual processes."About RainmakerRainmaker is the hotel revenue management and profit optimization cloud. The company partners with hotels, resorts, and casinos to help them outperform their revenue and profit objectives. Rainmaker's cloud-based solutions for transient and group pricing optimization, demand forecasting, business intelligence and market analysis are designed to help hoteliers streamline operations and revenue optimization processes, improve lead performance and drive guest bookings. Recognized as one of the top privately held companies in the United States, Rainmaker has been named to Inc. 5000's 'Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies' for the last seven years and to the Atlanta Business Chronicle's list of '100 Fastest Growing Companies in Atlanta.' Rainmaker serves hospitality customers throughout the world from its corporate headquarters in Alpharetta, Ga. and from offices in Las Vegas, Singapore, and Dubai. To learn more about Rainmaker and its suite of hotel revenue management and profit optimization solutions, visit www.LetItRain.com.About SHRHeadquartered in Houston, Texas, with offices in Europe and Asia-Pacific, SHR is a leading provider of advanced tools and services that help hotels execute their best distribution strategy while delighting guests and optimizing profitability. The technical maturity of SHR--having built not one but two Central Reservations Systems (CRS)--is second to none. In addition to serving thousands of properties around the globe with Windsurfer CRS and Booking Engine, the company also provides Revenue Management for Hire to brands, chains, and management companies. SHR brings hoteliers nimble technology, intelligently supported by tested industry experts--keeping hotels competitive. For more information, please visit www.shr.global. SHR is the trade name for Sceptre Hospitality Resources, LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company.

Beyond RevPAR: Understanding Total Group Revenue for Hotels

The Rainmaker Group ·11 September 2018
Once upon a time, group business was essentially a filler for the guest rooms that transient business didn't occupy. In today's world of all-time occupancy highs,1 group business tells a different tale. When hotel owners examine their full profit picture, many now understand that group business and the revenue it generates is a major player in their overall revenue management (RM) strategy. However, groups are a challenge to revenue manage, as they're made up of many moving parts. To be successful in the group arena, hotels need to have the appropriate tools and strategies in place, as well as a thorough understanding of group value. And that often begins with analyzing the right metrics.RevPAR Matters, But... When looking to increase your share of group business, revenue per available room, or RevPAR, is a critical performance metric that often takes center stage when it comes to developing your group business RM strategy. That's because the RevPAR index is the most popular metric for driving major capital expenditures and RM decisions.Case in point, the 2015 Hotel Sales Incentive Practice Research survey by the HSMAI Foundation2 recorded the compensation structure of hotel RM teams and revealed that 52 percent of revenue managers and 36 percent of sales leaders use RevPAR or room revenue as their primary performance metric. But there are drawbacks to relying solely on guestroom bookings or RevPAR when it comes to evaluating group business profitability. There are other revenue streams that generate significant income and contribute real value to any piece of group business.Total Group Revenue Management Holds the KeyIn order to determine true profitability with regard to groups, RM is shifting away from a focus on RevPAR3 and top-line rooms revenue toward a bottom-line orientation and strategic profit management. This more precise view of group value is known as Total Group Revenue Management and it moves beyond RevPAR to take multiple other factors into account.All Revenue StreamsTotal Group Revenue Management expands beyond rooms to comprise all revenue sources associated with group business. It works within the concept of time-perishable inventory to optimize profits across all a hotel's available function space and products. To accurately evaluate group opportunities, in addition to accounting for room rates and group blocks, hotels must incorporate other key revenue streams, such as food-and-beverage packages, receptions, meeting room rentals, and audio/visual equipment rentals. These ancillary sources can yield tremendous profit, and are key considerations when deciding whether to book group business. Other factors to consider include group history, stay pattern, booking method, room type preferences, and the true cost of displacement.Displacement AnalysisTraditional displacement analysis examines the forecasted transient business that will be lost if a hotel accepts a proposed group booking. Accurately determining whether to accept a group's business requires performing a complete displacement optimization analysis that compares the total value of the business that would be displaced if the group business is accepted to the total value of the group. This model incorporates elements that are important to the decision, including non-room revenue like catering, function space, and additional spend while deducting any costs involved. Understanding displacement allows hotels to more accurately calculate a break-even rate or total profit hurdle for a proposed group.At first blush, it may seem that the right decision is to accept higher-rate-paying transient business over a lower-rate-paying group. But there may be times when it's in your best interests to accept the group business, even though it may appear on the surface to cost revenue.4 While your hotel may forego thousands of dollars in rooms revenue due to displacement, based on a complete analysis, apparent losses transform into profits when additional variables such as catering minimums and function space rental are factored into the equation. Revenue metrics are crucial to success, but when rooms-centric revenue is the only metric considered, it can lead to counterproductive decisions concerning group business.To truly maximize the value of group business, hotels can use displacement analysis in conjunction with optimized pricing that considers willingness-to-pay. The first drawback of traditional displacement alone is that it only assesses a breakeven point, which, while helping to ensure the group is not a losing proposition, will fail to capture any additional upside stemming from what a group may be willing to spend on room rate. The second drawback is that traditional displacement only looks at potential groups displacing transient and not the possibility of the group displacing other groups. Leveraging a group forecast together with displacement analysis would allow hoteliers to understand the relative profit or value of groups compared to other groups, and allow the property to accept the most valuable business.Forecasting DemandOne of the most challenging components of Total Group Revenue Management is forecasting group demand, particularly at the level of detailed granularity necessary for driving solid RM decisions. The focus on non-room revenue sources has changed the way many hotels develop and use their demand forecasts.5 Technological advancements now allow revenue managers to drill deep to create more nuanced pictures of future demand and more effectively yield around transient business. The right technology also reveals smarter pricing opportunities and lets you strategize the optimal business mix for your hotel.It's Really About ProfitsRevenue management is really about profits. And for far too long, revenue managers have maintained a rooms-centric focus for group business, striving to optimize RevPAR instead of looking at total group spend. RevPAR index growth or decline is not always the best gauge of overall profitability. Total Group Revenue Management presents a more precise picture of group profitability, incorporating all hotel revenue sources and considering distribution costs and operating expenses. By applying the principles of Total Group Revenue Management, you will more fully comprehend your hotel's DNA, empowering you to take your profit maximization strategy to the next level and setting your property up for success for years to come.For more on the topic of group business, specifically on including forecasting for groups in your revenue management strategy, read my recent blog on the topic, "Are You Forecasting Transient Business Without Forecasting Group."
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The Rainmaker Group Appoints Hospitality Veteran as New Head of Sales

The Rainmaker Group ·28 August 2018
The Rainmaker Group (Rainmaker), a leader in revenue management solutions for the hospitality and gaming industry, is proud to announce the appointment of Matt Curry as their new Head of Sales.Curry joined Rainmaker in 2016 to lead sales and business development for the multifamily housing division. Upon divesting that side of the business to RealPage in late 2017, he transitioned to Rainmaker's hospitality business to lead product strategy and development, integrations, and customer support."Matt's background paired with his proven leadership and commitment to Rainmaker makes this move as easy as it is exciting," said Mike Cowles, CEO of Rainmaker. "This is a great move for Rainmaker as we look to continue to build on our recent sales and revenue growth momentum."Prior to joining the Rainmaker team, Curry was responsible for sales and commercial operations at SignUp4, an Atlanta based technology startup in the meetings, events, and travel space. There he helped fuel sales and revenue growth until ultimately the company was acquired by Cvent, the global leader in event management software and group business sourcing technology for hotels. At Cvent, Matt oversaw all acquisition and integration efforts while transitioning SignUp4's hundreds of customers and employees into the Cvent family."It's such a great time to be at Rainmaker and I couldn't be more excited to shift my focus back to growing revenue for the business while helping our customers drive higher profits," said Curry. "I'm proud to be a Rainmaker and look forward to our bright future."Based out of the Alpharetta headquarters, Curry will be responsible for leading the company's hospitality sales organization and for making its industry leading revenue management and profit optimization solutions accessible to more hotels, casinos, and resorts worldwide.For more information, please visit www.letitrain.com.

The Fundamental Problem with Hotel Group Revenue Management

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog·16 August 2018
“The meetings and events industry is thriving,” says Issa Jouaneh, senior VP and GM of American Express Meetings & Events. Companies are recognizing that meetings engender growth within their organizations. And this growth mindset is creating more opportunities for hotels when it comes to nabbing bigger slices of the “group business” pie. But along with these greater opportunities, we’re seeing greater competition as well.

Understanding Future Demand

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog·15 August 2018
Recently, we released five revenue management hacks. These hacks are designed to be simple things you can put into place whether you are using automated tools or working in a manual environment. This post examines how understanding future demand can help you better manage operational forecasts.

All-Inclusive Hotels: Looking Beyond RevPAR

The Rainmaker Group ·13 August 2018
When people think of all-inclusive resorts, they may conjure up images tied to bland buffet food, endless banana daiquiris, and conga lines of partying singles dancing around the poolside - all for one budget-conscious package price. Today's all-inclusives still tempt travelers with comprehensive packages that include meals, lodging, and entertainment options. But the all-inclusive business model has evolved significantly from its 1950s origins.1Today, gourmet meals are often made from sustainable, locally sourced ingredients, and served along with handcrafted cocktails made from top-shelf spirits. Spacious guestrooms are decorated with high-end furnishings. And sophisticated entertainment options are designed to appeal to a new demographic of multigenerational families, and couples seeking luxury vacations, adventure, romance, or health and wellness.Across the board, the all-inclusive model is gaining strength,2 with guests showing increasing willingness to pay over and above their initial package purchase for authentic experiences, one-of-a-kind activities, and excursions that enhance their vacation. This has led to unprecedented opportunities for all-inclusive hotel owners to capture incremental and ancillary revenues. And this paradigm shift brings with it a necessary shift in revenue management strategy.The narrow view of focusing on rooms and package revenue is no longer relevant in the marketplace. To maximize revenues and increase profits, all-inclusive hotels must move beyond the traditional metric of revenue per available room (RevPAR), to incorporate total profit per guest.What's Wrong with RevPAR for Maximizing ProfitThe RevPAR formula (Rooms Revenue/Rooms Available) represents revenue generated per available room, whether that room is occupied or not. Because of RevPAR's industry popularity, it can be useful when it comes to benchmarking against your aggregated competitive set's performance. But for optimizing hotel profits, RevPAR misses the mark in a number of ways.For one thing, RevPAR doesn't take costs into account. Commissions may vary based on channel. There are different distribution costs depending on how the reservation is booked - for example, a guest who books using a travel agent typically costs the hotel more than a guest who books direct. In addition, higher guest expectations are driving a more competitive market, with all-inclusives now providing an increasing number of ancillaries for purchase beyond initial packages. RevPAR doesn't consider any non-package income a guest generates from add-on amenities such as spa services, dining upgrades, golf, or access to private beaches.For example, in another two-guest scenario, imagine that both guests' package rates and acquisition costs are identical. Guest A stayed once and made no significant ancillary purchases. Guest B, however, stayed three times in one year, and spent extra on spa services, private beachside dinners, and golf lessons. The additional spending will not show up in any RevPAR metric despite the boost it would provide to the hotel's bottom-line.Moreover, based on Guest B's behavior, it's likely he will become a repeat guest, increasing his lifetime value and reducing his costs, which can be amortized over the total number of stays. Guest B's profit potential over time is superior to that of Guest A, and while Guest B's two additional hotel stays will eventually show up in RevPAR in the form of increased occupancy, RevPAR fails to tell the whole story. Having more Guest Bs and fewer Guest As will benefit the property's profitability in the long run and we need to identify the right metrics that are more closely tied to that bottom-line impact.Modern all-inclusive resorts now have huge revenue opportunities beyond package revenues, and metrics such as RevPAR are not sufficient for measuring profitability going forward.3 They must be used in conjunction with other key metrics, such as GOPPAR and Total Profit per Room.The Rise & Rewards of GOPPAR and Total Profit per Room for All-Inclusives Other key metrics that reflect non-rooms profit and overall profit can simultaneously incorporate occupancy, rooms and package revenue, guest spending habits, acquisition, distribution, and retention costs, and shopping behavior at all resort profit centers into the revenue management equation.One metric growing in popularity is gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR).4 GOPPAR is defined as total gross operating profit (GOP) per available room per day, where GOP is equal to total revenue less the total departmental and operating expenses. GOPPAR takes RevPAR a step further, utilizing total room revenue and subtracting total operating expenses, including variable costs.Without this information, crucial pieces are missing when trying to optimize revenues and determine overall profitability. Another benefit that arises out of measuring GOPPAR is that the same principles of strategic revenue management that apply to RevPAR can be applied to all revenue-generating outlets. This allows you to move beyond optimizing package rates to optimizing revenue from all ancillary products and services guests use while on your property.Once you ensure that you are yielding your available inventory based on total profit, it becomes time to evaluate the mix of business that is staying in the rooms by understanding your market segments and how they differ. Total Profit per Room backs out occupancy from the equation, allowing you to generate metrics at a guest, room, or segment level. Total Profit per Room can be defined as rooms plus ancillary revenues generated by guests in occupied rooms, less the associated variable costs, divided by the number of occupied rooms.Asking "for this segment, what is my total revenue or profit per guest, or room?" becomes valuable as your revenue management efforts aim at forecasting the available demand for future dates and help you identify the most profitable business mix in constrained situations. Even in unconstrained situations where you are not filling every hotel room, it can help inform your marketing efforts and achieve the best ROI on marketing dollars aimed at generating additional occupancy. Getting at this total guest value is something you cannot do using a per available room metric, since you can't determine which rooms are available for which segment. Once you understand the value of each guest segment, your ability to shift towards higher value guests is maximized.For today's all-inclusive guest, it's all about customized experiences. Examining revenue on a per-guest basis provides a vehicle to a better understanding of guest behavior and preferences, which can have a profound effect on future income streams.5 With the all-inclusive model, the less time a guest spends on property, the higher the profit potential. By analyzing guest spend behaviors, all-inclusive hotel owners can determine which guests will enjoy different off-property experiential activities and excursions. You will be able to capitalize on the amount of time a guest spends outside the resort gates, creating better guest experiences while simultaneously improving your bottom line.And finally, guest-centric data captured from measuring total profit per room allows hoteliers to overcome the age-old dilemma between a focus on managing long-term customer relationships and focusing on the immediate gains associated with revenue management. From knowledge gained through analysis of Total Profit per Room, you'll improve customer relationships, which will in turn create a significant and positive impact on business performance.6A growing number of hotels across the globe are adopting the all-inclusive model,7 and competition in the industry is fierce. Savvy hoteliers understand that optimizing profits is no longer just about pricing rooms and packages right. With science-based revenue management and business intelligence solutions in place, you gain the ability to capture and analyze both package and non-package revenues, which will have a powerful effect on revenue streams. While RevPAR has its merits, shifting your revenue management strategy from a per-room focus to a per-guest focus allows you to attain new heights in guest satisfaction, and elevate your business in terms of growth, revenue, and profits.Attending the Hotel Data Conference in Nashville? Don't miss my session focused on non-traditional revenue management on Friday August 17 from 12-12:25 PM. Rainmaker is also sponsoring the Networking Reception on Thursday 5:45 PM - 7:00 PM. If you would like to connect or set up a meeting at the event, let me know.

Why Group Business is so Valuable for Hotels

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog· 9 August 2018
While transient business often generates the most discussion among hotel owners, group business plays a vital role in your hotel’s success. Meetings generated 300 million room nights in 2016, and nearly $50 billion in spending on guest rooms. Those room nights were equivalent to 25 percent of the total room nights at U.S. hotels as estimated by STR Inc.

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