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Palladium Hotel Group was quick to respond to the needs of its team members, local communities and travelers when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. Not only did it offer up properties for healthcare purposes, but it also quickly adapted to a ‘work from home’ policy for many staff members, and refocused its revenue strategy to better navigate dynamic demand and traveler restrictions.
We caught up with Diego Fernandez Perez De Ponga, Corporate Director of Revenue Management, Palladium Hotel Group, to find out how the company reworked its forecast to focus on source markets, and to hear about his hopes and expectations for 2021.
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How did you adapt your revenue strategy?
We changed completely the way we forecast. We took all the external information that we had at that time, and we tried to do scenarios. We worked with the hotels saying to them this is our best case scenarios and this is our worst case scenario right now. And this was a tremendous success for us. Before COVID we were updating the forecast once a week in Europe and once a month in the Caribbean. Now, we are forecasting twice a week and we try to forecast two months in advance.
It has been a tremendous success for the company because we incorporate more information and we try to forecast based on the nationality of the client. Before we forecast on channels and charge markets: tour operations, OTAs, etc. We changed radically the way we forecast, changing from channels to nationality of the client. We review all our reservations and we enter the nationality of each client. To each nationality, we look at the situation of COVID and the restrictions in their home country, and we put a specific cancellation rate.
How has the day-to-day revenue operation altered?
Even before COVID we had been working on a protocol to work from home in the revenue department. This was because we have teams in Santo Domingo where a hurricane could close the office, so the protocol came from that.
We have all our reservation departments centralized here in Ibiza for Europe and in Santa Domingo in the Americas. And in 12 hours, both the reservations and revenue departments were working home-based and all systems were updated. We continued working like that until the government gave us the option to return to the office.
How important was your technology stack at this time?
We had our technological structure adapted to this. We had laptops in the department in order to take home. It was prepared.
Everything is centralized in our company and we run on a cloud-based tech stack. With our technology Duetto was at the center of this change.
The key was the accessible information that we had in Duetto because at that time we needed all the information possible, and I know that, without Duetto, it would have been impossible to do this.
At that time it was impossible to raise prices or to make our pricing strategy. In the Caribbean we needed to adapt to the market, but in Europe we maintained our pricing strategy and right now we have the same pricing structure as last year. That is not possible without Duetto.
What is your focus for the rest of 2020 and 2021?
We're working on the re-opening of our resort in Punta Cana. The focus of that re-opening campaign is going to be the open air. The hotel has a lot of open spaces.
I think now people have a lot of fear of going into closed spaces and big buildings. Our resorts are spacious and provide space between the guests, so this is going to is one of our USPs. This is definitely the focus for our resorts in the Caribbean.
In Europe it is more difficult because, for the moment, everything must stop. We have restrictions in Spain where our hotels are located and there are also restrictions in our feeder markets, such as the UK.
We are also working very hard to open our year-round hotels in Tenerife and Madrid.
The two main factors right now are to try to accomplish America, to make a ramp up over there, and in Europe try to open Madrid and Tenerife, try to have a very good Christmas, and try to open the season in Ibiza in April.
What have been your main learnings from 2020?
We are more professional than ever. It has been the most difficult time in my career, but we have learnt a lot from the situation. We have learned a lot about our teams and about our families. In every crisis we have the opportunity to improve ourselves. One day this is going to finish, and we will be stronger than ever.
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