As mentioned in a previous blog post, there are several key buying considerations when evaluating which next-generation revenue management solution is optimal for your property. A few key considerations include technology integration capabilities, channel management and optimization, customization to user and property needs, and group sales optimization:
Technology integration capabilities.
No revenue management solution can be treated as a standalone application. It needs to seamlessly integrate —preferably, in a real-time manner —with multiple data streams, starting with the hotel property management system (PMS). It needs to integrate with marketing, sales and distribution systems as well as with OTAs and other third-party channels. Internally, point of sale (POS) data needs to integrate with PMS data to provide a holistic view of a guest’s stay, including their ancillary spending on food and beverages, guest services, spa visits, etc. Buyers need to know that all technology components and data sources are compatible with the solution and also that all historical data can be readily extracted and validated.
Channel management and optimization.
A hotel’s room rates as well as its inventory need to be up-to-date across all OTAs and other partner-and guest-facing channels. Rates and inventory information need to be reflected accurately across all systems and touchpoints. Otherwise, the prices that are presented to prospective guests on some channels may be lower than desired or rooms presented on some channels as available may, in reality, be unavailable, and the property may be overbooked. Inputting room rate and availability changes manually can result in errors that damage the brand’s reputation damage and lead to revenue loss. An important buying consideration, therefore, is the extent to which room change updates are handled automatically rather than manually, and what the average lag time is to implementing channel updates before they update across the board.
Customization to user and property needs.
Because users of revenue management solutions have differing needs, any solution will invariably require some degree of customization. Revenue managers should be able to create notifications based on their own predefined triggers. They should be able to define the data inputs and dashboard views based on their own priorities and display preferences. Flexibility in configuration is needed to mine the right data and generate actionable insights. Prospective buyers should have a high level of confidence that any solution under consideration has flexibility and customization capabilities to meet the needs of the property as well as those of the revenue manager(s) and other end-users.
Group sales optimization.
Prospective buyers with a significant amount of group business or function space business should check that any solution under consideration provides group sales optimization. This means that the solution can be used to evaluate group requests by forecasting the impact and displacement of transient guests while calculating ideal group rates. Some advanced solutions offer pricing recommendations by room type to maximize inventory and can provide meeting planners with a blended price quotation. Some solutions can suggest alternate dates for flexible groups based on projected demand and availability to drive business to dates where the hotel stands to gain the most profit. Some solutions can offer simultaneous evaluation of multiple properties to identify which one would be most profitable to the business.
Once you assess the weight of importance your hotel gives the above considerations, download the Rainmaker Evaluation Checklist as a handy tool to compare between possible vendors.
For more on buying considerations, including details on the cloud versus on-premise hosting, data processing power, and for a list of must-ask questions, download the 2017 Rainmaker Smart Decision Guide for Hospitality Revenue Management!