Virtual RSF: Data & Automation To Lead Revenue Recovery

May 20, 2021 | Sarah McCay Tams, Director of Content, EMEA

Yesterday’s virtual Revenue Strategy Forum was attended by over 900 hoteliers and industry leaders from around the globe as economic experts, leading hoteliers, and technology visionaries came together for the virtual half-day event focused on ‘Mastering the New Rules of Revenue Strategy'.

Hosted by Silver Hospitality Group, in partnership with Duetto, the event kicked off with a keynote speech from Bernard Baumohl, Chief Global Economist, The Economic Outlook Group.

Baumohl gave the audience some hope that recovery is on the horizon, forecasting that in the US there will be more consumer spending on services, including travel, in 2021 and 2022.

When asked about the recovery of the hospitality industry he said: “We will begin to see the travel industry resume close to prior to pandemic levels by mid to late 2022. Profitability not until 2023 or 2024.” He advised that leisure would lead this due to a pent-up demand to travel, and predicted that 15% of business travel could disappear entirely.

A panel discussion moderated by Caryl Helsel, Founder & CEO, Dragonfly Strategists, and attended by Priya Chandnani, VP of Revenue Management, Benchmark Hospitality, and David Rochefort, President, Graduate Hotels, followed with the two hoteliers providing insight into how their respective companies had navigated through Covid-19 closures.

Using the Duetto platform was central to both companies’ strategy.

Tech Clean Up

“One thing we did take as an opportunity was just cleaning house – auditing across all our systems - and relying heavily on automation as well,” said Chandnani, adding that the team had spent time teaching the Duetto system to adjust to the new demand trends. “The experience of our portfolio was that Duetto picked up really quickly and adjusted to the new demand trends, which helped us to continue to make decisions based on data and not on emotion,” she added.

Graduate Hotels still had a number of its newer properties ramping up, so historical data just wasn’t available anyway.

“We took the view that Duetto was more important than ever. We used predictive analytics and looked into the future. Not every hotel is made equal, we saw shifts from channels and demand patterns and our RMS was really core in us having a better understanding of what was really happened in the world in real-time and allowing our team and organization to really adapt,” said Rochefort, adding that the reporting from Duetto had become a real talking point with partners and investors as the company navigated through the pandemic.

Next, Michael Levie from citizenM took to the screen to talk about how hotels need to zoom in on the new use case for their properties. The innovative hotel brand made many changes and additions to its business model during the past 15 months, including a Corporate Subscription model offering a work-sleep-meet-entertain hybrid.

The Bigger Picture

In his presentation, Levie explained how revenue teams need to zoom out and look at the bigger picture, and then zoom in again to fine-tune it.

“We see everyone has moved out of the cities to the suburbs, perhaps 2-3 hours commute away from the office. Then, each week they travel back into the office for 2-3 days. They travel into their own office, back into their own city. At citizenM we tried to offer something with a subscription for this new market,” he explained.

Levie went on to urge the audience to also focus on their own business intelligence. “Only your own business intelligence will give you the key to unlock new opportunities. You need to generate it yourself and become rich in your own data,” he said.

The virtual conference ended with a Fireside Chat between David Woolenberg, CEO, Duetto, and Joanna Todd, WW Head of Accommodations and Lodging, Amazon Web Services.

Todd talked through the six trends Amazon has identified as important to its hospitality customers:

  • Saving money – Every company has to do more with less. Hotels need to manage costs to get to profitability quicker.
  • Digital transformation – Companies have emerged that are digital natives. Their businesses started without the challenges of on-premise systems. As those disruptors come into the marketplace, legacy players are moving to digital transformation at a pace we have not seen before.
  • Optimization and automation – Hotels are leaning on tech more to keep core business elements up and running. This will extend beyond the pandemic itself; working smarter, doing more with less, will be critical for recovery for the industry as a whole.
  • Personalization – Hotels need to execute against a vision that is customer-centric. This is something that is going to be key in driving profitability.
  • Security and data privacy – No company wants to be that new headline on a data breach.
  • Sustainability – Industry looking to enact meaningful change to the business to be more sustainable and greener. Companies do it because they want to have less of an environmental impact, and to build guest goodwill.

“The Covid crisis has accelerated the hotel industry's move to the cloud to innovate and adapt more quickly,” said Todd, going on to underline the importance of revenue management fed by robust data.

“Hotel companies are sitting on a wealth of data today but quite often this is sitting in siloed buckets. If you can’t access your hotel data in one spot and create actionable insights from it in real-time you are at a huge competitive disadvantage,” she added.

Missed yesterday’s event? You can still subscribe to watch the conference On-Demand at a time convenient to you. Visit  https://www.duettocloud.com/rsf21

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