Revenue Strategy Round-Up: Hospitality Sector Continues To Adapt And Recover

October 7, 2021 | Claire Middleton, Contributing Editor

Stay up to date with the latest trending hotel news stories that will impact your hotel Revenue Strategy.

1. Hotel Revenue Strategy Impacted by Labor Shortage More Than Ever

According to experts at the 2021 HSMAI Revenue Optimization Conference, Hotel Revenue Strategy has been more affected over the last year and a half by labor shortages than ever before. 

During the session - "A View from the Top: Chief Commercial Officers Take on the Big Issues" - speakers talked about how lack of labor affected revenue management, including the lack of housekeepers limiting inventory and problems filling revenue strategy positions. 

Garine Ferejian-Mayo, Chief Commercial Officer for Sonesta Hotels said: “Finding good talent has been very difficult.” She added that hotels have been reliant on outsourced labor which has put pressure on revenue managers to make sure they're pricing rooms correctly in order for the hotel to stay as profitable as possible despite the increased labor costs.

"When you look at the bottom line, we're not able to deliver to our stakeholders in the ownership group" (if rates are too low), Ferejian-Mayo added. 

Full story: CoStar 

2. Hotels Adapt & Embrace Tech During Pandemic

According to industry chief information officers who took part in discussions at HITEC Dallas last week, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has actually helped some hotels become more creative and efficient, making the most of the ‘dynamic technology landscape’ that has emerged since March 2020.  

With hoteliers from six different hotels speaking during the CIO panel, it seems clear that different hotels adapted during the pandemic and adopted tech in varying ways, from reprioritizing projects and property portfolios, relying more heavily on vendors, and even - in the case of one hotel - maximizing on their almost-empty properties in order to focus on and implement new tech, even taking on more staff to do so!

The panel also discussed how their approach to work and their colleagues evolved during the pandemic, especially with the increased use of Zoom. Mohammed Al Qassim, Managing Partner at The Manor by JA, said: “We included our staff’s family often, too, since everyone was at home,” he said. “It created a sense of belonging to the company and that we care about you and your family.” 

Full story: Hotel Management

3. Building Trusting Relationships Now Will Reap Rewards Later

Brands that have invested in building solid relationships with their customers, shown their value and expertise, and have nurtured trust during the pandemic, will be more successful in retaining high-spend clients down the line, according to Kuoni’s product director, Claire Ross. 

Speaking on a panel during Global Travel Week in London, Ross said: “We have an opportunity now to demonstrate our value, demonstrate the expertise that we can bring to the process and really generate loyalty. 

“We should have confidence in our experience through the last 18 months and share our opinions,” she added. 

She went on to say: “At the end of the day, the way we’re going to encourage our clients to stick with us is to make sure that our guests can trust us. And I think as long as we continue to be opinionated and confident in the service that we can offer, we will deliver that.”

Full story: Travel Weekly

4. Flexibility Is The Future of Travel for Airbnb

Airbnb is trying out a new API-powered display which enables channel managers and distribution platforms to load multiple rates plans for properties, giving bookers much more flexibility when booking a stay. 

The move comes after Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said that ‘flexibility is now a permanent part of travel’, which was followed in May by the company giving bookers the options to search without fixed dates or destinations. 

This latest attempt at increasing flexibility is not only meant to be beneficial for guests, but hosts also, and it’s also hoped that it will boost Airbnb’s attractiveness to traditional hotels. 

Full story: Phocuswire 

5. ProfitSword Industry Leaders Discuss the Value of Data

At HITEC Dallas 2021 ProfitSword CEO Robert Ryan and Vice President of Sales and Marketing Paul Bennie took part in a Q&A session with Lodging Magazine, which explored how important tech integration is for the hospitality sector and how data sharing has changed recently, amongst other issues.

When asked if they had noticed any changes in the way vendors are using data and how they’re sharing that with clients, Bennie replied: “All vendors have been affected during COVID, and at HITEC, I’ve noticed that everybody is rethinking how to go to market, add value to a solution, sell products more. Vendors have been talking to us about not just integration, but taking our relationship to a new level, creating a value that maybe wasn’t there before. People are expanding on not just the data sharing, but how products integrate. That’s new: seven years ago, people were hardly even sharing their data. Now, they want to go to market together. What used to be a differentiator has now become a survival tactic. It’s been interesting to see.

Full story: Lodging Magazine

6. Victory for Hoteliers with Fair Per Diem Rates

As the hospitality industry starts on the long road to recovery, a significant victory has helped it on its way. 

On August 12 the General Services Administration (GSA) confirmed it would freeze FY 2022 federal per diem rates for government travel in the continental United States at FY 2021 levels. These are based on rates during pre-COVID-19 times. The FY 2022 CONUS per diem rate is $151, which includes $96 for lodging and $55 for meals, which is the same as FY 2021.

This is good news for hoteliers because if the rates were based on data from last year - the height of the pandemic - the result would have been an artificially low per diem rate.

The victory is due to the efforts of American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) members and state associations across the country, who have been campaigning for the Government to look at this issue, with the argument that such a move was critical to the recovery of the U.S.hotel industry. 

Full story: Lodging Magazine 

7. Glasgow Hotel Occupancy Nearing 90% for Climate Change Conference

On the books hotel occupancy for Glasgow during the time of the UN Climate Change Conference is almost up to 90%, according to data from Forward STAR. 

The conference (COP26), is taking place in the city from November 1-12. With occupancy during this period ranging from 80% to 89%, this is a considerable rise from levels for dates during the rest of the year, which are below 40%. 

Robin Rossmann, STR's Managing Director, said: "Provided there are no late setbacks, these dates in early November will be a huge win for Scotland's hotel industry."

Full story: The Caterer   

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