Keep a Check on Rate Parity and Prevent Revenue Leakage

By Bhanu Chopra CEO, RateGain | December 03, 2017

When certain actions or outcomes lead to loss of revenue, leading to a decline in your planned estimated revenue and actual revenue, you have revenue leakages. An example of that is fixing the price of a product and estimating your revenue based on it, but if one of your distribution channels sells it for a lower price, you face Rate Disparity. With the advent and popularity of online booking channels, the complexities of sourcing and managing your inventory have also increased. Hence, more will be the chances of revenue leakages. This is why industries with perishable product and services like airline and hospitality frequently face this challenge. To curtail them, we must learn where they stem from. Discrepancies due to lack of communication between departments and deliberate misuse of fare rules. Some of these challenges are a part of a hotelier’s day to day life. While you cannot eliminate all of them, you must focus on the ‘big-eaters’ because taming them will substantially lift your bottom line. Following are some common causes of revenue leakages- System/tool related errors in your revenue management software:

OTAs - Big Eaters or Much Needed Friends?

Hotels and Online Travel Agents share a love-hBBate relationship. While hotels always want to get rid of the bulky commissions they have to shell out for the online bookings OTAs bring you, they also do not want to miss the market penetration, reach and promotional benefits OTAs provide them. OTA popularity and massive customer reach remain unmatched to that of any hotel’s online presence. However, OTAs often undercut hoteliers, making them a major contributor to hotel revenue leakages.

Let us look at some facts. According to Triptease- On an average 25% of the times, a direct hotel price is undercut by an OTA. As per estimates, this level of undercutting is costing hotel industry over $1Bn a year in direct bookings. Regardless of this, the direct price is on average $10.27 cheaper compared to all other platforms. Such a scenario calls for a pressing need to check this practice, which is possible by knowing where disparity stems from.

Following are some ways in which OTAs cause rate disparity - Using out of date rate code, failure to charge the specified rate due to a system error, currency conversion problems, having a base allocation for a category of rooms your hotel has sold out, putting out wholesale rates, and lastly using a LOS (Length of Stay) rates which are not supported by your CRS (Central Reservation System). Although this may look like an endless cycle of leakages, it has a solution. Enter rate parity.

What is Rate Parity?

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Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.