Hotel revenue teams are having to adapt constantly as the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change on almost a daily basis.
Talking to our customers, I often get asked for advice on how they should be pivoting their strategies right now.
Having spent more than 15 years working in hospitality and revenue management, many of which were spent as a Duetto customer, I have truly sat where they are.
Here are my four top tips for areas to focus on in the months ahead:
Target Loyal & Local
Double down on your existing customer base from a loyalty standpoint and find ways to target those that may have been traveling in the past that have slowed their travel, and then provide a marketing enticement to make it a bit sweeter for them to travel.
A lot of the hotels that have seen relative success during COVID times are hotels with a strong drive market, not only from weekend business with regards to people looking to escape, but also as a fresh work location; that leisure traveler who wants to get away for a few days, take their family with them and work from the hotel during the week. Personally, I've done this several times in an effort to help contribute to the hotel economy, staying Monday through Thursday with my family, and I’ve found hotels that have made attractive offers to get me to do that. Staycationers or workcationers are a blossoming market for a lot of hotels, and specifically resort properties.
Room Type Differentials
Now is a time to really rethink your room type differentials.
Target those staycationers or workcationers by offering great deals on your larger rooms and suites, which you know you may not fill anyway. But for someone looking to combine work with family time the ability to spread out, have a dedicated desk space or work zone, is a real benefit. So price and market those room types appropriately.
Use room type pricing rules and make those rates conditional, so that they are only on offer while occupancy is low, or the booking window is more than seven days from arrival, for example.
Maintain Brand Integrity
Don't fall into the trap of what a lot of hotels saw in coming out of the 2008/2009 recession where they were so heavily reliant on OTAs just because that was the easy choice. Really try to maintain brand and rate integrity on your own brand.com websites to allow you to attract that traveler who may already know where they want to book but is just comparing you to what you have on OTA websites.
Ensure that you don't have better offers on OTAs relative to your own sites. Perhaps even finding ways to provide a little bit more value to that traveler for booking direct.
Book direct perks could include: preferential treatment at the restaurants, upgrade opportunities, food and beverage credits that are tapped into the rate offering, where you may not necessarily offer that on an OTA.
Don't fall into relying on OTAs simply because it's the easy choice. Find ways to be creative with your value offering.
Employ Controlled Automation
Before you reach for the ‘off’ button on your revenue automation, take a step back. Look at the strategies you have built into the system, such as the min/max bounds you have set on your rates.
Ultimately, your RMS is going to work within the framework that you provide and work to your comfort levels. Automation enables the system to truly unleash its power with the ability to automatically publish new rate recommendations multiple times a day.
The reality is that a lot of business is being booked on the day for the day and that means Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Hopefully you are not sitting behind your desk over the weekend pushing rates. Having a system that can automatically interact with that pick up is a powerful tool.
With Duetto’s AutoPilot Scheduler you can turn it on but also make it conditional. You can set it to auto-publish rates under certain conditions, such as when your property is above or below a certain occupancy threshold, or only for certain days of the week, for example.
You determine the strategy and then the system operates within that framework. And you get to go home at the weekend – unless you’re already working from home, in which case you can most definitely shut that laptop and go relax until Monday morning!
Discover top tips and best practices for building out your Resort Revenue Strategy for 2021 in our latest eBook ‘Resort Revenue Tactics: Building Robust Strategies For 2021.’ Download for free here.