Attribute Based Selling, Being Stuck in a Bad Relationship and the Possibility of an AffairBy Pierre Boettner - founder and CEO, hospitality pulse
Not much has fundamentally changed in the world of hotel systems. We are still selling room categories at a set price, we are still posting charges to guest folios, and are still checking guests in and out of the hotel. In an age where our smartphones could run any PMS developed in the early 2000's, we need ever more powerful machinery to serve up the same essential functions. Yet hoteliers cannot walk away from it all, because their business depends on arcane, strung together systems that form the distribution web. It's like being stuck in a bad relationship; I want to invite you to have a risk free, non-committal affair with us, and this is my pick-up line to you!
What is this even about? Patience, read on, and I'll try my best to make my point!
Attribute Based Selling is the idea that instead of selling hotel rooms by classification into room categories, guests can control their purchase path, put together and pay for the room attributes or features they care for and that have value to them. If you're not quite sure what I am talking about, I really want to encourage you to read George Roukas' article on Attribute Based Selling. It explains all the ins and outs, and all the advantages and almost magical things it promises to solve. It is not a completely new idea; in the late nineties, the early 2000's, and just recently again, major systems vendors did indeed build feature inventory engines, but we have yet to see a single one in use today. That is because Attribute Based Selling (or selling room features), was found to be entirely incompatible with managing the availability by room categories. It is indeed a challenge.
With OTAs, GDSs, Switches, and sales systems all working on the basis of room categories, how could any mayor chain, much less an individual hotelier possibly decide to forego all of that business on the premise of selling only direct, and only by features. It is like leaving an bad relationship at a high risk of losing it all. In a bad relationship, both parties ultimately lose.
I consider myself lucky to have absolutely zero experience of being involved a bad relationship, but if I imagine I were, I would want to be able to see what else is available that will make me happy . I may want to hold on to everything positive I have within the current situation but I may want to see what else is out there. I may even look at having an affair.
As George eloquently explains in his article, the secret to selling by features is to have advance knowledge of how to best place every guest I have on the books. A self-rearranging Room Rack of sorts. And this is exactly what roomPulse does. The final act (not really, but for now let's say that), the assignment of a room at the moment of check-in, really is the source of ultimate truth in the availability of room features. Predicting this with precision allows you to know exactly what you can, or cannot guarantee at the moment of sale.
Because the foundation is based on the ultimate requirement of a guest having to be accommodated in an individual room, any room for that matter, there is a chance that a guest that will be given a balcony on a high floor, both of which he or she didn't pay for, but now the scenario removes these two features from being saleable. Bottom line is, it is an extremely complex problem to solve, and the scope that a human can consider is severely limited – don't believe it? Ask your Front Desk team how much time they spend on room assignment every day.
And because room assignment is part of the reality of the hotel, the effect on all your existing systems is NONE! Your OTA's, GDSs, and channel managers can continue working as they do. They may receive their inventory from the PMS or the CRS, as they do today, while you join the future and enable yourself to give your direct guests exactly what they want, in a simple, and appealing process.
There are no long-term commitments with hospitalityPulse – we believe it is our duty to prove our value to you every day. It is a core belief, and we want you to be able to discard us just as risk free and non-committal, should the relationship not deliver on its promise of being supportive and beneficial. So just head over to www.hospitalityPulse.com, and let's begin an affair!
Pierre Boettner spent his entire life between hotel operations and hospitality technology. In 1993 he pioneered an industry-first forecasting and pricing tool for Mövenpick Hotels and was later involved in many system innovations, helping hoteliers improve their distribution capabilities. Recognizing the increasing difficulty of managing rooms operations, he and long-time colleague Denis Bajet founded hospitalityPulse in 2013. This company has dedicated itself to solving the most complex operations tasks still requiring daily human intervention. Pierre Boettner is a graduate of the esteemed Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne.