Seamless integrations, shared data and embracing every opportunity – those were the main topics up for discussion in our latest webinar, ‘How to Optimize Your Hotel Revenue Across All Channels’, which brought together industry experts from GuestCentric, StayNTouch and Duetto to tackle the issue of revenue optimization.
Daniel Lofton, Director of Hospitality Solutions, opened the webinar with a closer look at the importance of a well connected tech stack and how can hotels benefit.
“It’s all about ingesting a tremendous amount of data and capturing that data in real time, so that we can give the hotelier actionable insights they can apply to their strategy,” he said.
Pedro Colaco, President and CEO of GuestCentric, drove home the message that, by working together, a PMS and RMS can really drive conversion. Coupled with an integrated booking engine, hotels can have the ability to significantly increase direct bookings. “The key is to have a seamless data flow between your PMS, RMS and online structure,” he said.
Aldrich Sholtz, Technical Sales Engineer at StayNTouch, rounded out the discussion with a look at personalized offers and how an integrated tech stack gives hotels the opportunity to create experiences from the data.
The Number Cruncher
Duetto’s Lofton provided a quick summary of the role of the RMS.
“From the PMS we get reservations data, transactions data, cancellations, group blocks, no shows, etc., and we are ingesting that in realtime and serving up a really good forecast," he explained. "Using that forecast, we return information to the property management system (PMS) to deliver your rate strategy."
Lofton talked of the synchronistic relationship between an RMS and a booking engine and how, working together, the two can create fenced rates online enabling hotels to capture more direct bookings and increase loyalty members.
Lofton also tackled how insufficient forecasting leads to reverse yield and missed opportunities.
“The one variable that drives our rate strategy is time," he says. "Depending on time, we might not be as aggressive. Your RMS should be working to make revenue as simple as possible for the hotelier because you’ve got other things to do, too.”
Lofton played out an example of a date on which there’s a big conference and the host hotel has sold out. “Suddenly there’s a tremendous number of people going to your website and booking a lot of rooms. It might be 24-48 hours before you get to see this spike. This is where we need systems to analyze this, so that we see that demand coming and increase rates for those days. Any time we are not doing that is a missed opportunity.
Lofton also talked about using your RMS to drive marketing.
“Your RMS should power a strong loyalty program," he said. "Hotels are working with GameChanger so that customers can log in online and see their fenced loyalty offers. Once a person comes to your booking engine invite them to sign up for your loyalty program right now and immediately enjoy benefits such as 20% off on certain days. This is just one way we can really grow our marketing database.”
Pedro Colaco of GuestCentric looked at demand signals for the hotels, and how important it is to get the right data and how critical to have seamless integration between all your systems to put the best offer in front of your guests.
However, he was quick to urge that your front of house technology—your website—must be as streamlined as your back-of-house tech stack.
“The experience on website must be similar to the experience you have on property, with great imagery, great content etc. Your booking engine and website have to be as one,” he said.
On the webinar, Colaco shared images of how GuestCentric uses heat maps to understand where and how people navigate on a web page.
“What’s important to understand is that the website is a tool to sell. It’s a way to captivate the guests and get their imagination going, but at the end of the day we want the reservation. We need to understand what they are looking at and what they are clicking on,” he explained.
Colaco also looked at webpage data and how that can help shape your revenue strategy.
“If you know which countries are booking, which channels are performing, then you can make better decisions to structure that online presence to deliver maximum results,” Colaco said, before ending his presentation with a tip: Websites are not static.
“It is critical to engage consumers, truly send them unique messages that drive urgency, fear of missing out or build trust,” he said, explaining how messages that highlight ‘today’s best offer’ or that explain that others are searching the same dates and inventory is limited, can make people feel they are getting relevant information, helping them decide whether to book now or book later.
“To drive direct bookings, it’s a process," he continued. "You need to do a lot of different things. A good tech stack that enables you to do that with agility makes a difference.”
The Amazon Effect
Aldrich Sholtz of StayNTouch ended the webinar with a look at personalization. He cited how 35% of Amazon’s revenue comes from upselling or recommendations.
“To understand this is to understand why customers buy," he said. "You need to place the right item in front of the customer at the right time.”
Sholtz looked at ways in which the StayNTouch platform helps hotels and guests get the experience they want in as frictionless a way as possible.
He said upselling was about letting the guest decide on the experiences they want to enjoy and even create experiences for others they are traveling with. “It’s about presenting opportunities guests did not think of,” he said.
Early check in, late check out and room upgrades where just some of the upsells Scholtz looked at in his presentation.
He also looked at the growing importance of mobile and the ‘mobile wallet’ in driving hotel revenue.
“Technology has made it easier than ever to spend money. People use mobile devices as electronic wallets. More than 70% of last-minute bookings are done over mobile devices and 50% of accommodate search is done on mobile, according to Google,” he explained.
“People have changed from being active buyers to being passive consumers," he said. "Make the experience easy, make it seamless, and consumers perceive it as less impactful to their bottom line.”
Missed the webinar? Don’t worry, you can still catch the full discussion here.