Profit Optimization is Not Just a Buzz Phrase for Room Revenue

By Paul van Meerendonk Director of Advisory Services, IDeaS Revenue Solutions | October 29, 2017

The evolution of revenue management has taken hotels from dynamic pricing of transient rates to a holistic strategy of maximizing profitability across multiple revenue streams. Revenue management has moved far beyond the Microsoft Excel expert in a small back office and now involves multiple stakeholders from several departments, all influencing overall revenue strategy with each of their key areas of function.

True hotel profit optimization leverages multiple hotel functions to ensure goals are aligned to achieve optimal results. It encourages hotels to intelligently decide which business to accept across multiple revenue streams at all times, based on greatest overall value to the asset. This holistic approach to revenue management goes beyond guest room rates and maximizes profits from the strategic management of other key hotel revenue streams; like sales with group bookings and meetings & events teams with catering sales.

Maximize Meetings & Events

Meetings and events are traditionally underestimated by hoteliers as they are often a secondary revenue source to bring in more rooms revenue. However, given meetings and events revenue can account for a significant portion of a hotel's top line revenue, an increasing number of hotel groups are starting to focus on the strategic management of these activities to bolster their bottom line.

Contrary to any narrow understanding of the benefits that meetings and events spaces can deliver to a hotel, these areas actually do more than just sell guestrooms. In fact, for many hotels, the profit potential of this revenue stream is so significant that it can contribute 40-60% of their total revenue.

Surprisingly, many hoteliers still aren’t leveraging their event spaces strategically today, which means they risk overlooking opportunities for substantial revenue generation. Many hoteliers fail to fully realize revenues through meetings and events due to the complex nature of the revenue streams across catering, function spaces and sleeping rooms overlapping. In addition, there are other streams of revenue like audio visual, event rentals and more that may involve a revenue share with third parties. These conditions add complexity to the overall business opportunity, which has stifled adoption of demand-based meetings & events strategy.

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.