Nine Hotel Revenue Management Trends for the New Year

By Jean Francois Mourier Founder & CEO, RevPar Guru Inc. | January 15, 2010

The hospitality industry's crystal ball is, unfortunately, just as cloudy this year as it was this time last year. Though we can perhaps take comfort in the fact that those clouds are just grey instead of black and stormy, uncertainty is still the only thing that is certain for the hotel and lodging industry in general. Even with positive GDP last quarter (indicating that the recession is technically ending), hotels, resorts and other lodging properties are still experiencing depressed demand, low average daily rates and stagnant occupancy. In other words, low RevPAR. No one can know for certain whether these negative trends will persist through 2010 but following are my thoughts and projections for what 2010 has in store for the hotel industry.

In my opinion, the recovery will not be a dramatic upswell but rather a gradual overall improvement of the travel market that will allow the most astute operators to thrive and where others will fail. Success in 2010, in our opinion, is there for the taking, but it won't be easy.

1. Doing More with Less (Capital, Staff, Guests, etc.)

Despite the recovery, hoteliers should be prepared to do more with less this coming year. Guests will be stubbornly slow to return. Likewise, working capital (both operational cash flow and from borrowing activity) will be constrained, as demand and commercial lending continue to be elusive. Hotels and resorts will have to make the best of what they already have in 2010; in terms of guests, this means squeezing every drop of revenue from existing clientele and in terms of capital and infrastructure, it means squeezing every drop of revenue from every existing square foot.

And even with high unemployment suggesting a strong pool of applicants, hotels should also prepare for staffing levels well below what would have been considered normal just a few years ago. This will put pressure on managers to improve their systems, to relive the operational burden on short staffs and to improve processes all around.

2. Automation

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.