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Oxford Collection is a family-run hospitality business comprising 16 Suites and Boutique properties.
The collection has been running its revenue on Duetto since mid-2017 and was an early adopter of AutoPilot to automate pricing.
Like all hospitality businesses, it has been impacted by COVID-19, which has led to a scaling back of teams, including its centralized revenue function.
The Oxford Revenue Team is restructuring, and is currently run by Emma Dow, Revenue Strategy Manager, Oxford Collection.
The Revenue Team successfully navigated the business through 2020 by taking full advantage of new functionality in Duetto.
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, the Oxford Revenue Team turned off AutoPilot, but turned it back on again in May.
“I find having AutoPilot on is more beneficial than when it is turned off,” said Dow.
“We are running leaner as a company, and department. So, AutoPilot acts as another set of eyes and hands to assist everyday revenue optimizations,” she added.
In September 2020 Duetto launched Scheduled AutoPilot, which enables revenue teams to decide when and what to automate by setting restrictions, such as occupancy levels or booking window.
“We were super excited for Scheduled AutoPilot and have been on it since the beginning of November for all of our 16 properties,” said Dow. “We’ve set up rules to be applied when Duetto optimizes for market segment and rate plans, which has been really helpful. It allows the team to not be 24/7 and has allowed me to find more work/life balance.”
Currently Dow has Scheduled AutoPilot set on occupancy-based restrictions, but she plans to add in new rules around inventory and season.
One trend that has really been accentuated for Oxford Collection during the pandemic was ultra-short-term booking windows, with many customers booking on the day for the day, usually between 3pm and 8pm for arrival that same night.
Having a system that is agile and able to respond to quick changes and work on a short-term forecast has proved vital.
“Travelers expect rooms will be available. With county and state restrictions changing frequently we have needed to respond in a more flexible manner,” said Dow.
Oxford Collection operates both boutique and all-suite properties. Those targeting contracted and project-related business have fared better than more traditional approaches, according to Dow.
“Our properties in tertiary markets that are more negotiated, government and project driven, have done well in the current COVID-19 environment. Government is not traveling as much but contract business and projects are still occurring, so those properties are performing better than properties in major metropolitan areas,” she said.
Despite the volatile nature of the market right now, Dow is still working hard to strategize and plan ahead. And she has been using Duetto’s new Restriction Rules for this.
Also launched in the September Release, Restriction Rules is now the fastest way to create, manage and deploy restrictions across properties, room types, and segments. A Restriction Rule takes only a few minutes to set-up or change and can be deployed at scale manually or fully automated via AutoPilot.
“I am loving the Restriction Rules!” said Dow. “I am a planner and so I like to plan further out, even if it changes. This is not only allowing us to plan for right now, but also plan for the spring, summer, and fall. We can look back at where we were in 2018 and 2019 and plan for what we're going to apply in 2021 and 2022.”
Dow builds out Restriction Rules and then leaves them ready in Duetto to be activated when needed. The system enables her to provide full transparency to her revenue strategy with various stakeholders in the business.
“Anybody can see the rules that has access to Duetto GameChanger. The team can see the restriction strategy that is being optimized and applied right now, and what we are planning for future time frames.”
Since the start of the pandemic, Oxford Collection has reduced their revenue team, today Emma is leading the revenue strategy. As such, she pulls on the industry experience of our Customer Success Team to help build out her strategy.
“The Customer Success team is resourceful and quick to respond to give their honest feedback from their experience with Duetto and experience in the industry. I am young in my hospitality career, so I am always looking for guidance and knowledge from those who have been in the industry longer.”
“I have leaned on Kenneth Lu and Gary Glodowski and appreciated their support. I am in the trenches daily, having their help to focus on the birds eye view has been beneficial,” Dow said.
And her final word on Duetto?
“It's very user friendly and easy to customize and adjust strategies to assist in maximizing revenue 365 days a year, which is amazing!”
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