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Understanding Hotel Rate Shopping Software

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  2. UNDERSTANDING HOTEL RATE SHOPPING SOFTWARE

Our latest roundtable discussion looks at market intelligence and how important hotel rate shopping software is. To understand further what a rate shopper is, how it works with an RMS, and if we can trust the data, we catch up with: 

Understanding Hotel Rate Shopping Software - In Blog (1)

Amadeus offers solutions across Business Intelligence, Media, Reservations and Booking Engine, Sales & Catering, Service Optimization, and Distribution that are designed to enrich every stage of the traveler's journey and help hospitality providers acquire, service, and retain guests by profitably driving demand and converting them into loyal fans.

RateGain's rate intelligence solution helps in making faster and more informed pricing decisions. It solves one of the biggest problems faced by the revenue teams: ‘Data Inference and its usability’. Its end-to-end solution combines the power of four data points - Demand Forecast, Competitive Rate, Rate Parity, and Reviews & Ranks - to bring forth actionable insights. 

How important is market intelligence to shaping a revenue strategy?

Mudasser Tariq: Incorporating market intelligence allows hotels to make data-driven decisions, optimize revenue, enhance customer satisfaction, and gain a competitive edge. It enables them to anticipate changes, seize opportunities, and navigate challenges effectively in the dynamic hospitality industry. 

Here are some examples:

Consider how a five-star hotel chain might launch a bespoke marketing campaign targeting guests with customized packages as per their needs. Picture a curated email sent to guests coming for leisure offering a personalized package that includes a gourmet dinner at the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, all based on their dietary preferences. Or even a spa promotion to business travelers to relax after their tiring day of meetings.

Picture a resort in London, utilizing data from customer feedback to introduce a new butler service, where your butler assists you throughout your stay, ensuring a stay as splendid and smooth as possible. 

In each example, market intelligence isn’t just a point to check; it’s the golden key that unlocks a treasure trove of opportunities, enabling hotels to dazzle their guests with impeccable service, enchanting experiences, and, of course, a revenue strategy that is as sturdy and splendid as a diamond tiara. 

Katie Moro: Market intelligence is one of the fundamental pillars of effective revenue management. It involves collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data about market conditions, demand forecasts, competitors, and customer behavior.

Market intelligence helps hotels to understand:

  •   Traveler behavior, preferences, and booking patterns
  •   Pricing strategies, occupancy rates, and promotions
  •   Demand trends and seasonality in their market

When using market intelligence data, hoteliers can implement data-driven revenue management strategies, making adjustments based on real-time data to maximize revenue potential.

What does a rate shopper do?

Katie Moro: A rate shopper, used to monitor and analyze market pricing and trends, is a crucial tool in the hospitality industry. Rate shoppers monitor market rates across various distribution channels, including the hotel's website, global distribution systems (GDSs), online travel agencies (OTAs), and other booking platforms.

When integrated with a revenue management system (RMS), this data helps hoteliers make informed decisions to optimize and adjust their revenue strategies in response to changing market dynamics. Strategies must extend beyond rate shopping to also consider the full context of what is happening in your market, including occupancy trends, channel mix, and forecast to capture more market demand.

Mudasser Tariq: A rate shopper plays a crucial role in revenue management by monitoring, analyzing, and reporting on the pricing strategies of competitor hotels. 

A rate shopper essentially acts as the eyes and ears of a hotel’s revenue management team, providing them with the critical data and insights needed to formulate effective and competitive pricing strategies. 

For a rate shopper to work its magic, an important thing is to consider where the rates are coming from and how frequently they can be updated. 

How does a rate shopper work with an RMS?

Mudasser Tariq: Working with an RMS without the complement of a rate shopping tool would be like trying to conduct an orchestra without a violin section — technically possible, but missing the depth, harmony, and insights that elevate a performance to a masterpiece. 

The synergy between a rate shopping tool and an RMS is pivotal for hotels to ensure their pricing strategies are not only competitive but also revenue-optimized.  

The rate shopping tool provides the necessary market and competitor data, while the RMS analyzes this data, along with internal data, to formulate, implement, and manage effective pricing and inventory strategies. The accuracy, recency, and consistency of rate shopping data has to be maintained to match the parameters set by the RMS. Without the former, the latter cannot provide accurate forecasts.  

Katie Moro: A rate shopper and an RMS are two distinct tools used in the hospitality industry to optimize pricing and revenue strategies. The rate shopper gathers external market data, including market pricing and trends. The RMS uses this data in combination with internal data to optimize revenue strategies. While they have separate functions, a rate shopper is typically integrated into an RMS to support comprehensive revenue management strategies.

How can I trust the data?

Mudasser Tariq: RateGain has been one of the earliest adopters of machine learning and AI to not only get accurate rates from over 1100+ sources but also validate the quality of the data.  

Data accuracy and reliability are achieved by employing data cleansing algorithms and validation processes.  

We provide 95%+ data accuracy and sufficiency through a defined algorithm called Data Sure. The checks and balances are made before the data is provided to the subscriber. 

Katie Moro: Validation processes, such as cross-checking information from multiple sources, help ensure that the data is as accurate and up-to-date as possible. Regular monitoring and maintenance of data sources and systems are crucial to maintain data quality.

When selecting a rate shopper, consider the depth and quality of the data provided, as well as how this data is acquired. Ideally, the data provided does not rely heavily on screen scraping or unsanctioned data extraction but instead come from a reputable API.  

How can this data help me lead the market?

Mudasser Tariq: By leveraging RateGain's data and insights, you can identify pricing gaps and opportunities in your market. This vast landscape of rate shopping data is sourced through tracking 500+ demand sources (global and regional OTAs, vacation rentals, and partner sites); OTA members, CUG rates, multiple POS, promotional rates, across LOS discount rates (refundable/non-refundable). 

This allows you to proactively set competitive rates and optimize your revenue strategy. Leveraging data effectively can empower a hotel subscriber to not just keep pace with its compset but to potentially lead it by making strategic, data-driven decisions. 

By strategically utilizing data, a hotel can formulate and implement strategies that not only match the compset but potentially outperform it. This involves optimizing pricing, enhancing guest experiences, implementing effective marketing, innovating offerings, and ensuring operational efficiency. Leading the compset requires a blend of competitive pricing, unparalleled guest experiences, and innovative offerings that are uniquely tailored to the target market, all underpinned by a robust data-driven strategy. 

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Claire Middleton, Contributing Editor

Claire is a Contributing Editor with Duetto. An experienced editor and copywriter, with more than a decade of experience working for various publishing houses, private companies and agencies, she is now a full-time freelance writer, providing regular editorials on the hotel industry for Duetto.

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