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The Sage Hotel, located in Santa Fe, offers 145 guest rooms and suites for short or extended stays. This unique property, boasting an interior decorated with Native American patterns and authentic craftsmanship, is part of Concept Hotels.
Concept Hotels offer a portfolio of eight unique boutique hotels which deliver a feel-good ‘Xperience’ that is anchored in service, style and great value.
Like all hotels, The Sage has been greatly impacted by COVID-19. But the property’s team has constantly adapted its strategy to take advantage of every opportunity presented, from accommodating hospital staff to taking in negotiated contract business from the construction industry.
The property’s selection of room types, including kitchenettes and suites, has made it a popular choice for those looking for a home away from home right now.
“Direct booking segments have proved to be most resilient for us, but we’re starting to see other segments come back. Negotiated Rates has proved to be strong regardless. While white collar corporate travel has almost completely disappeared, blue collar workers, such as construction crews, have been producing throughout the last six months,” explained Tushar Patel, Director, Revenue Management, Sales & Marketing, Concept Hotels.
“Given the extended stay nature of a lot of business between March-June, we ensured that the best rate based on length of stay was offered by booking directly. We created weekly rates, monthly rates, custom extended stay rates, you name it,” he added.
Central to keeping the hotel running as smoothly and as profitably as possible has been the integrated technology stack in use by Concept Hotel Group, which includes cloud-based PMS StayNTouch and Duetto’s Revenue Strategy Platform.
StayNTouch and Duetto started working together in 2016. Together the two tech providers have more than 110 hotel partners using both systems through a two-way integration.
In this roundtable discussion, we catch up with:
Here, we find out how these integrated technologies are helping The Sage remain agile and efficient in its approach to revenue.
What are the benefits of running an integrated tech stack?
Tushar Patel: When Concept Hotels started going down the road of an integrated tech stack, we quickly realized three huge benefits: time saved on manual tasks, access to a larger data pool, being able to take a truly holistic approach to revenue strategy and marketing.
We all know revenue management 101 is selling the right room, to the right customer, at the right time and for the right price. Having an integrated tech stack allows you to see the data, strategize for your target segments and then be available and in front of the type of customers you want.
Nicole Dehler: In order to thrive in the post-COVID era, hotels will have to implement a technological ecosystem that can streamline operations, increase revenues, promote social distancing and enhanced hygiene procedures, and personalize the guest journey. And none of this can happen unless hotels create a fully integrated tech stack, built around a cloud PMS with an open API architecture.
Gary Glodowski: Managing inventory and pricing in a manual environment is painfully inefficient. Integration is key to proactive revenue optimization. The Sage is currently integrated with Duetto’s 2-way interface with StayNTouch PMS alongside Duetto’s 1-way interface with Sabre SynXis CRS.
How does the integration between Duetto and StayNTouch work?
Nicole Dehler: The integration between Duetto’s GameChanger and StayNTouch’s Mobile Property Management System (PMS) is essentially a 2-way, push base model. Here, StayNTouch sends Duetto information on reservations, groups, inventory and its folio, and Duetto responds with optimized rates, restrictions, and overbooking strategies. The result of this exchange is a fully automated data transfer between the two systems, which can greatly improve the accuracy of demand forecasts, heighten the speed of reaction for pricing and rate updates, and optimize the hotel’s distribution and revenue.
Tushar Patel: Anytime a rate needs to be updated or a restriction needs to be placed or lifted, we process it in only one place, Duetto. Once the change is published within Duetto, it will deliver the update to StayNTouch. The update doesn’t need to be made in multiple places. Duetto also delivers the update to the CRS. So with one click, both the CRS and PMS are updated accordingly.
In today’s volatile market, how can hotels use automation?
Nicole Dehler: COVID-19 has placed hotels between a rock and a hard place: They are expected to deliver enhanced hygiene and service to their guests, while operating with a reduced staff and occupancy levels artificially suppressed due to social distancing requirements. Automation can help hotels escape this dilemma by increasing staff efficiency, promoting guest loyalty, and maximizing occupancy, ROI and ancillary revenue.
Gary Glodowski: Revenue teams can use Pricing Rules, which enable them to automate yielding in terms of discount percentages based on specific demand conditions. For example, Room Type Automation enables revenue managers to automate pricing between room types based on inventory consumption. Pricing Rules enables teams to automate pricing between room types based on conditional factors such as demand, inventory consumption, days before arrival, day of the week, etc.
At a more strategic level, our Enterprise Rate Guidelines enable revenue leadership to maintain pricing strategies from one central location, such as head office.
Our new AutoPilot Schedule helps teams decide what and when to automate, while our Restriction Rules helps teams spend less time managing restrictions and more time analyzing the results.
Tushar Patel: With so much uncertainty, there isn’t time to sit back and wait for a strategy to blossom. You’re trying to throw as many strategic darts as you can at a wall and evaluating, modifying, and recreating over and over again.
Given just how volatile things are, automation makes life so much easier because you’re creating these strategies with various parameters and depending on where things stand you’re confident that you’ve set yourself up with the best chance to capture business.
How does technology help you to improve productivity?
Tushar Patel: We spend less time preparing to strategize and more time analyzing before and after we actually strategize. Both systems are also very adaptable, which is really important because given the uncertainty with all that’s going on, we need to be quicker and more concise than ever with decision making.
Gary Glodowski: Real-time integration allows Tushar and his team to make real-time decisions. This is beneficial across the board in terms of distribution/inventory availability, pricing decisions and financial/operational forecasting.
How has using cloud-based systems helped you to continue to work remotely during the pandemic?
Tushar Patel: In terms of my team and I working and collaborating, it’s been business as usual. These cloud-based systems have allowed us to do everything we need from a business standpoint. Being cloud based was a mandatory requirement for us when it came to choosing an RMS and PMS. We didn’t foresee a pandemic, but even without that being the case the convenience and ease of it cannot be overstated.
Gary Glodowski: Cloud-based systems are accessible anywhere there’s an internet connection. This enables 24/7 revenue optimization opportunities regardless of whether the user is working on or off property.
Nicole Dehler: Because StayNTouch’s Mobile PMS runs on any smart device, revenue managers can adjust rates from anywhere on the planet, whether on the hotel property or not.
What piece of advice would you give you other hoteliers building out their tech stack?
Tushar Patel First and foremost, be knowledgeable about what’s out there but also on what you specifically need. Don't jump the gun and go for the newest and shiniest things, no matter how tempting it may be. Determine what you need to have to improve and enhance your business. Take a measured approach and build up, step-by-step.
Also, make sure your tech stack compliments one another. There may be some redundancy in technology, so you don’t want multiple things doing exactly the same thing.
Tushar Patel, Director, Revenue Management, Sales & Marketing, Concept Hotels
Tushar joined Concept Hotels Group in 2009 as a front desk associate. Since then he has worked his way up and taken on many varied roles, from Experience Manager to Revenue Strategist. Tushar has worked in revenue since 2014 and is certified in both Revenue Management and Sales & Marketing by Cornell University.
Nicole Dehler, VP of Product for StayNTouch
Nicole spent more than 12 years in the Regional Divisions of MICROS Systems, divided between Product and Project Management of Property, Sales Force and Central Reservations Systems. She led the Enterprise Team in Asia Pacific as Director of Operations, looking after large scale software implementations as well as managing the regional launch of E-Commerce products and Smartphone applications.
Gary Glodowski, Director of Customer Success, Duetto
Gary Glodowski, CRME CHDM, is a trusted advisor, with more than 15 years of hospitality and revenue management expertise. He assists clients in maximizing all that Duetto products have to offer; understanding customer requirements, facilitating implementation/training and providing thoughtful data-driven recommendations that align with specific business needs.
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