Is Your Hotel Ready? Revenue Management Predictions for 2015

By Paul van Meerendonk Director of Advisory Services, IDeaS Revenue Solutions | January 04, 2015

Another year has come and gone, and hoteliers worldwide are already planning for the months and quarters ahead. Renovations, expansions and overall segment growth will continue to fuel the industry and will gain much attention throughout the year, but it will also be crucial to monitor the constant evolution of today's hotel management environment. Change is upon us, and the ways hoteliers operate more efficiently while driving better revenue is the newest frontier. Take revenue management for example: no longer dictated by gut instincts or stagnant spreadsheets, the practice of revenue management-and the technologies driving it-continues to incorporate new strategies for maximum profitability. Not only are hotel operations more tightly integrated with revenue management technology overall, but that technology is extending to other areas within hospitality as well, enabling hoteliers to take a more holistic revenue approach. But these are just some examples of what to look for in revenue management as we begin a new year. Let's explore a few more.

Powerful Analytics is Key

A pricing trend to watch this year will be the continued adoption of powerful analytics to drive overall strategy. Analytics can answer questions like "why is this happening?" or "what will happen next?" Even before the surge of big data, analytics performance of automated revenue management systems was a primary consideration for revenue managers when selecting a system for their properties. Now with the abundance of big data, an important differentiator for revenue managers to understand clearly is what types of data are integrated into their systems' decision making engine versus the types of data that are merely displayed or just used for reporting. When used as an integral part of the pricing algorithm, big data can be a powerful analytics capability.

Big Data Doesn't Have To Be a Big Headache In 2015

Advanced analytics are already a key business tool in a range of industries. For hoteliers looking to drive performance and increase profits, analytics are an invaluable tool for examining and creating trustworthy pricing decisions for one property or worldwide estates.

Data today comes in all types of formats and some can feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information coming at them daily: structured, numeric data in traditional databases, information created from line-of-business applications, unstructured text documents, email, video, audio, stock ticker data and financial transactions etc.

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.