Rates, Reviews and Rankings: Competitive Intelligence for Today's Hotelier
By Christian Koestler President & CEO, Lixto, Inc. | July 17, 2011
In today's fast-moving, webcentric business environment, managers of lodging properties worldwide can no longer rely solely on their own information, historical data or even brand. To survive, let alone thrive, revenue and general managers must maintain a firm grasp of marketplace pricing, keep an eye on constantly changing rate dynamics and put into place clearly defined rate optimization strategies.
Doing so is no small task as the speed and power of the Internet continue to change the rules of revenue management. Enter the world of intelligence. Once a term confined to foreign affairs, then aligned with sometimes-questionable corporate strategy, intelligence today is a key element in virtually every hotel manager's toolbox.
The roles of – and terms for – intelligence can overlap. Both competitive intelligence and price intelligence may be considered subsets of business intelligence, defined as the techniques used in identifying and analyzing business data. Business intelligence technologies provide historical, current and projected views of business operations, focusing on internal processes.
Competitive intelligence gathers and analyzes information with focus on a business's competitors. Price intelligence relies on computer-based systems to identify, compare and analyze pricing and other revenue-related data for a business's operations and its competitors – data that a hotelier uses specifically to develop rate optimisation strategy and make informed rate decisions. Each type of intelligence supports better decision-making.
The field of intelligence has evolved significantly over the past several years, and continues to do so. One key development that affects hotel revenue and general managers is the growing breadth of information. Moving beyond the bread-and-butter competitive rate monitoring, intelligence now includes factors that range from online page placement and up-to-the-minute promotions to local currency conversion information, taxes and service fees. Advanced price intelligence systems can even provide individual sorting, filtering and report configuration for all product criteria, exception reports, configurable alert notifications, time series analysis and meet/beat ratios.