Revenue Management Health Check: How Does Your Hotel Measure Up?

By Paul van Meerendonk Director of Advisory Services, IDeaS Revenue Solutions | September 25, 2016

It is commonly accepted today that revenue management is critical to the successful operation of any hotel. However, while the adoption of this strategic approach to pricing - and the advanced systems that support this - are becoming more widespread, there is still no industry standard for how to evaluate revenue management outcomes. This lack of universal criteria around how to assess revenue management can pose challenges in trying to sell the success of a program within a hotel, as well challenging how to accurately benchmark a hotel’s revenue performance against its competitors.

A key challenge revenue managers face when developing a detailed, accurate assessment of their property’s performance is sifting through an overload of information. With huge amounts of information available—and with revenue managers naturally inclined to love charts and tables—too many revenue managers attempt to understand, analyse and measure copious amounts of data, losing focus on the critical success factors for the business in the process.

Revenue managers also face major challenges in assessing performance in organisations where there are unclear or conflicting objectives. While many sophisticated hoteliers set clear objectives and critical success criteria, a surprisingly large number of businesses measure success based on more ambiguous criteria, or, in the worst case, conflicting measurements across different business lines. A typical example is a hotel’s desire to drive performance in profitability; while concurrently setting corporate sales objectives, which are purely focused on volume and do not take profitability and displacement into account. A high volume room night account is often considered a “good” account, even though it might ultimately not be the optimal business to support the overall revenue goals of the hotel.

Although there may not be one set industry standard for assessing a hotel’s revenue management performance today, hoteliers should consider three key objectives when evaluating their properties:

  • Financial objectives – Are you meeting your investment objectives?

  • Competitive objectives – Are you outperforming the competition?

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.