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Jean Francois Mourier

Hotels are now faced with a myriad of sales channels. Add online travel agencies (OTAs) to flesh-and-blood agents, an individual hotel website to the direct channel (which was dominated by phone bookings, pre-internet) and third-party room aggregators to global distribution systems, and you have a daunting range of available avenues for room sales. Today, the unquestioned growth leader among these channels is online. Clearly, the current size and future potential of this channel demands an innovative pricing strategy to match it. So how does your pricing strategy measure up? Read on...

Joshua Miller

Hospitality managers work hard through many different efforts to generate revenue for the property at all levels. Many are surprised to find thatheir success at this process does not always fully make it to the bottom line. The "leakage" is caused by many reasons, but most often by error and theft. Every hotel experiences these issues in some degree, impacting bottom line EBIDTA anywhere from 1% to as much as 10% or more. In this article, we discuss some areas which are at risk and how establishing an effective revenue control system can prevent them. Read on...

Brenda Fields

The concept of revenue management has been around for quite awhile, with the airline industry first formalizing it with its computerized Yield Management system. The hotel industry, although late in the game, has now made a "revenue management" position as part of its standard staffing. This position was primarily developed as a way to capture revenues generated by the increasing demand over the past decade. Now that business is significantly down, many properties are at a loss as to how to generate business and how to ensure that each room is sold at the right rate to the right market. This article will provide some tips on ensuring that you manage your rates from a position of strength for both a short term and long term pay off. Read on...

Joshua Miller

Most hotel management principles focus on enhancing revenue and improving efficiency. An assumption that many hoteliers make inaccurately is that all of the revenue they earn actually makes it to the P&L. Most hotels experience revenue slippage due to problems with error and theft. In the major divisions, revenue control practices are put in place to safeguard against these issues, but these are rarely seen or enforced in the minor operating departments. This article will focus on revenue control in the non-core focus areas of the hotel and what you can do to improve it. Read on...

Juston Parker

Revenue Management continues to change rapidly. The days of "right room, right person, right price at right time" have long disappeared. Keeping up with the latest trends and keeping staff well educated is increasingly expensive and difficult. Outsourcing a property's Revenue Management has become a real and viable solution. Revenue Managers also present challenges for a property. What is their role? What does their job consist of? In the industry, most Revenue Managers really are Reservations Managers handling the duties of both jobs. This, of course, takes away their focus from both managing revenues and managing reservations. Not exactly a win-win situation. Read on...

Juston Parker

Revenue Management continues to change rapidly. The days of "right room, right person, right price at right time" have long disappeared. So how do you really measure success at the property? Now-a-days, the margins are getting ever closer and with more and more rooms being sold at net or wholesale rates, it's ever so important that properties look beyond the top line and see how their bottom line is effected by the decisions they make. GOPPAR, or Gross Operating Profit Per Available Room solves that need and gives a valuable look at how a property is truly performing. Read on...

Juston Parker

As we go through the throws of the budget and planning season, people consistently wonder how does one look into the future to get more accurate budgetary planning and get good data for revenue strategies. Now, is always a good time to start planning. There is one fundamental difference between Revenue Management and Revenue Optimization, the former is passive and the latter is active. More than that, it's proactive. Revenue Optimization looks into the future and builds a plan to effectively create revenue and harness demand to fully return the best revenues possible. This is the goal of all who do Revenue Management (Optimization). So, what are the keys to proactive Revenue Management? What can move a property from Revenue Management to Revenue Optimization? Let's look at the process and learn how to maximize our return. Read on...

Stowe Shoemaker

Hospitality managers have paid much attention to the practice of both revenue management and customer loyalty over the last few years. Unfortunately, these managers often come from different departments; and as a result, they often have different goals and different financial targets. For instance, those in marketing are measured by increases in repeat purchase, word of mouth, and satisfaction, while those in revenue management are measured by REVPAR index and yield index. While in an ideal world these goals would be complimentary, this is often not the case. Rather than being a zero sum game, it is a winners take all game, where the win is the incentives that come from reaching specified targets. For example, in one of my executive education classes a sales manager of a large international hotel company told me the following story... Read on...

Juston Parker

Revenue Optimization as most know has drastically changed over the past few years and is still constantly changing. How people shop and where they get their information changes on a day by day basis. The old adage of "right room, right person, right price" is no longer applicable and a successful property has all bases covered from demand and content management. As the world of Travel 2.0 grows, the traveler is getting smarter and access to more and more tools they may not have had in the past. Sites such as www.gusto.com have made the traveler the one in control. With real time access to like-minded people, the new Web 2.0 allows the potential guest to see what they really want to know about the destination they are going to and this includes value. As the adage goes, price is what you pay for something and value is what you get. Read on...

Juston Parker

When does a guest book? The answer most give is, "when they want to stay". The truth of the matter is they book when the time is right for them. Traditional marketing gets all the information in front of the guest and hopes that when the gust books they choose you! This shotgun approach leaves many properties unable to track true conversion on their efforts and wasting money on trying to get guests that never stay. By looking at true patterns, one can put the value product in front of the ideal guest at they time they are interested in booking, thereby creating an easy environment for the guest to book. In addition, since this guest is getting what they want, not only is conversion higher, but the ADR is as well. So, how do you know when is the right time to get before your guest? The key is micro-segmentation of the guest profiles and searching out what they value. Read on...

Connie Rheams

It may seem counter-intuitive, but just because hotel occupancy rates are up, does not necessarily mean that profits are. Increasing the bottom line may require a new way of thinking. Many hospitality industry executives instinctively feel that technology is both a blessing and a curse. Yes, technology increases productivity and enables new ways of communicating with customers, but it also creates new challenges as distribution channels emerge, and new headaches when the technology doesn't work the way it's supposed to - which seems to happen all too frequently. Read on...

Connie Rheams

Recent "commoditization" of the hospitality industry has encouraged companies to compete on price, and achieving differentiation through service has required higher investment (higher quality, shorter operation cycles), reducing overall profitability. Every year, surveys are conducted that clearly outline companies' need to reduce costs and increase operational efficiencies. Many companies have already made great headway in accomplishing this goal by reducing complexity, implementing best practices and leveraging best-of-breed technologies. While the hotel industry has experienced strong revenue growth over the past few years, however, bottom-line performance has eroded since 2000, due to escalating expenses, including "non-controllable" costs such as utilities, insurance and government regulation. These costs - along with "controllable" costs such as payroll, staffing and marketing - are expected to only increase in the years to come. Read on...

Juston Parker

The hospitality industry has been affected by many devastating events in recent years. The attacks of September 11, 2001 struck fear in travelers, and the airlines and hotels responded in unprecedented ways that completely changed the way we traveled. SARS fears reached to multiple continents as people feared the spreading epidemic. The war in Iraq and the increasing terror threats reduced attendance at the Olympics in Athens to unheard of low levels. Hotel occupancy and Revenue per Available Room or RevPAR (a key indicator in the hospitality industry) were expected to be at record highs but dropped to record lows. Read on...

Juston Parker

To group, or not to group, that is the question. It doesn't take William Shakespeare to pose the quandary facing many hotels of how much group business is good business and when does a group pose a risk to maximizing revenues at a property. To begin to answer this, we must first uncover the principles that hospitality pricing has always been under. Hotel Revenue Management has been and many times, still is, under the "department" of sales and marketing and the Director of Revenue, most of the time still reports to the Director of Sales. The Director of Sales has a mandate to fill the house and most sales managers focus on group business, so therefore the thought is "if we want a sales team, we want them to sell and they need to sell group". This then leads to the thought of "take group business and then if we get the transient to fill in the holes". These thoughts are fundamentally unsound and cost many properties hundreds of thousands of dollars. Read on...

Juston Parker

Is it possible for a hotel to "create" demand? Is this just a myth used by Directors of Sales to try and stimulate the troops? When it appears that there is just no one wanting to visit your property, can you really "flip a switch" to drive people to your product? It is possible to create demand where there is none. First we need to uncover what is demand and how can it be managed and even stimulated. Read on...

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Coming up in April 2019...

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.