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La Mer Beachfront Resort is an independent small boutique destination beach resort located on the southernmost tip of New Jersey. Traditionally, its main feeder markets have been Philadelphia and the New York City area, with 90% of its business mix being transient. High season runs from June through to early October.
While 2020 proved to be a challenging year for all hoteliers, La Mer Beachfront Resort used it as a time to take stock and start updating its tech stack and its processes. This included the implementation of Duetto.
Justin Klingenberg began working with La Mer Beachfront Resort as a revenue management consultant in June 2020. In September, the property officially brought him in full time as Senior Director of Revenue Strategy & Analytics.
Klingenberg’s first task was to oversee the implementation of Duetto.
We caught up with Klingenberg to hear how the Duetto implementation went, what other tech improvements the resort is making, and what are the three things he recommends hoteliers consider when choosing a revenue strategy platform.
Tell us about your revenue team set up
There’s just myself and Nicole Nardelli, our on-property revenue manager. She has been with La Mer Beachfront for years. It’s great having that institutional knowledge that I can lean on and ask questions as I am trying to understand the business patterns.
We’re a small team so we are able to sit down, talk through what's going on and how to address it. We make a decision and we move forward. I'm a huge fan of that.
We’re working on brand standards and processes right now, making our own guidelines to follow.
We are also starting a reservations department for the property, which will be based on site.
What was the revenue structure like when you joined? What led to you implementing Duetto so early on?
There was an RMS in place when I arrived and the property had been on that for a number of years.
I came in and looked at the functionality of the system and I found that I just couldn’t get good data out of it.
We’re a fairly unique business set-up. We have the hotel, then we have the condos and the beach house. Each is an independent business entity.
In the previous RMS, these were all set up as one property under ‘inventory groups’ with all the room types grouped. So we could report on it that way, but anytime I wanted to look at a specific inventory group, I would lose out on a lot of valuable data, such as pace year over year.
In addition to Duetto, what other tech changes are you implementing?
We're upgrading Opera and a number of other things. So we're in a very big stage of evolution as a property. We want to up our game. And so we’re looking at getting everything to the next level.
What made you start with a new RMS rather than the PMS upgrade?
The reason we did Duetto before Opera is because once we switch to our new Opera server all of our historic data will not be merged over. So I wanted to get Duetto implemented first so that we had a historic reference point because I did not want to fly blind. Even though, right now, our history is not as meaningful as it used to be, it still has value.
We wanted to start making smart, data-driven business decisions.
The things that I really enjoy about Duetto, that the previous RMS didn’t do well, are room type pricing rules and demand-based Open Pricing. I love the pricing rules that you can set up within Duetto to float discounts from zero to whatever percentage you need off of your BAR rate. There’s just so much functionality that the previous RMS didn’t offer. And since we are a team of two Duetto really helps us to be efficient and have everything live in one place.
I love the demand forecasts. The unconstrained demand occupancy for the calendar is how I set up all my pricing rules.
It's very user friendly, easy to navigate, get your things done and go.
How did the onboarding and implementation go with Duetto?
On the Duetto side the conversion went pretty close to flawless. From the sales process the team were definitely willing to work with us, fit our schedules and answered our questions. Once we finished up the sales process we got connected with our deployment manager, which was great as they were then in constant contact with us.
We signed in September 2020, but the go-live date was by our design, because our contract with the previous RMS vendor was up at the middle of December 2020. We wanted to set up the conversion to give us the time to thoughtfully implement Duetto.
Having a lot of the data and the reporting already set up ahead of time, so that Duetto had history already, and being able to go through our training before our testing and go live, helped too because we were able to get in and start making some tweaks as we needed. And then we could also set our pricing up, all that fun stuff!
We set up the split environment with three properties. So, of course, we're doing everything three times as well.
I don't think I could have be happier with it. It definitely exceeded my expectations for a system conversion!
What advice would you give to other hoteliers considering implementing an RMS right now?
There are three things to consider:
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Staying agile, focusing on local and exploiting your database, these experts share their tips for what could boost your revenue in the year ahead.
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