I was delighted to participate in the recent Hospitality Industry Club (HIC) Dublin Evening Camp, which welcomed a great mix of hoteliers from across various areas of expertise - revenue management, operations and sales. These hoteliers came together keen to explore the latest advancements in hotel technology, and to discover how they could use them to yield better engagement with their guests, while driving better profit margins and more efficiency in processes.
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The event covered many topics, including how revenue management technology can automate processes and empower revenue managers to make smarter decisions, what strategies to use to increase direct conversion and how to strengthen engagement throughout the guest journey.
How Revenue Automation Assists Strategic Thinking
Tackling how Revenue Management technology can automate processes and empower teams to make smarter decisions, hoteliers gained a greater insight into data aggregation and demand forecasting, and how automation can help them to manage by exception.
It has become more important for hoteliers to be able to predict demand and spikes in that demand. Key demand signals are readily available to aggregate and through the use of analytics revenue managers can identify key dates that require their team’s attention and focus - these are the days that help hotels drive rate and profitability.
In order for teams to spend more time on strategy they need to be relieved from manual recurrent processes, such as data entry and running reports. Rather, Revenue Strategy technology should support them with these mundane tasks, empowering the revenue manager to bring their expertise to managing opportunities and risks for the business and devising new strategies.
An integrated tech stack, that brings together the PMS, CRS, IBE, CRM and RMS, can and should offer seamless connectivity to enable real time rate recommendations. Revenue managers are tired of working with stale data and getting once a day snapshots of their business. They want real-time integrations and real-time rate recommendations to react to the market and leverage opportunities.
The Dublin event also saw providers and hoteliers discuss opportunities for groups business. Groups are an essential segment in many hotels and one of the most difficult to predict. Building a healthy base of group business is essential to ensure hotel companies stay profitable and make informed decisions knowing how much revenue and profit they are displacing from other segments in the business by looking at total revenue and profit contribution.
Strategies For Increasing Direct Conversion
More and more hotels are driving a ‘book direct’ channel, as they work to break free from high commission third party channels.
There were many strategies put forward during the Dublin event, with lots of great suggestions of technical tactics hotels could employ, including:
- Using SEO campaigns and Google Ads to increase visibility in search engines
- Making the journey very simple for the guest to book on the hotel’s direct web
- Tracking consumer engagement with your products to understand behaviour and how to target different segments of customers in real-time
Other suggestions and discussions focussed on making sure any promotions/discounts are available and always open on your booking engine to avoid rate-mixing practices from OTAs and make sure you flex those discounts on live demand to avoid leaving money on the table.
More localised suggestions included staying on top of your local events and then promoting them to leverage on your location to drive more awareness, and giving extras complimentary to guests who book direct, such as late check out, free parking or cycling tours.
Strengthening Guest Engagement
Improving guest engagement prior, during and post stay, in a bid to retain their loyalty, was a third topic at the Dublin HIC event.
Many suggestions were put forward, including using Facebook to engage with guests pre-stay and have them share their travel plans with the community. Online check in and providing guests with the option to select their own room, such as airlines do with seats, was another idea presented.
In-room guest relations technology, including offering QR codes to access apps to connect to concierge or reception, was another topic explored.
The aim of guest engagement is to retain loyalty, but from a revenue standpoint, it should also provide opportunity to upsell based on intent signals and to monetise on guest preferences through ancillary spend.
The Hospitality Industry Club (HIC) Dublin Evening Camp provided a great setting for hoteliers to come together and share best practices. I look forward to returning to Dublin in a few weeks for a similar event, which we are hosting in partnership with Avvio. Check out https://www.avvio.com/revenue-lab/ for more information.