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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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.