Money on the Move: Mobile Trends for Revenue Managers

By Paul van Meerendonk Director of Advisory Services, IDeaS Revenue Solutions | October 26, 2014

To say that the world has changed in the past ten years is an understatement. A decade ago, mobile phones were still primarily used to make phone calls, a ‘tablet’ was something you took for a headache and ‘TripAdvisor’ was only in its infancy. Even more dramatic is the change we’ve seen in how hotel rooms are booked: from traditional channels to online travel agencies to making reservations from the palm of your hand.

Armed with more options for booking and research than ever before, plus the ability to share their experiences in real-time; consumers are in control and it’s crucially important to attract the right guest at the right time for the best rate.

Hotel revenue managers are under enormous pressure to ensure the way they operate and the rates put out by their hotels reflects real-time market trends. Adding to that pressure is a rival property’s ability to change rates and influence the local hotel booking environment at any time of the day.

Technology moves quickly, and keeping up with constant changes can be difficult, but of paramount importance to hoteliers is understanding the role that mobile technology can play in any business’ critical decision-making strategy.

Today Working Offline Doesn’t Mean You are Disconnected

The rise of the mobile consumer isn’t the only trend impacting a hotel’s operation today. Hotel staff, too, are becoming more mobile. Revenue managers responsible for multiple properties, across multiple time zones – including those who regularly travel for work and are away from their desks and office environment for long periods – have a critical need to be able to access their group’s ( or single property’s ) pricing systems at any time of the day and in any environment.

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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.