A hotel’s marketing and revenue management departments each hold keys to data that could drive more hotel revenue. Often, however, revenue managers and marketing managers keep this intelligence within their own departments. Bridging those data gaps and removing barriers that separate the two groups will allow for enhanced performance across the revenue continuum. Rainmaker and Tambourine paired up to create an eBook, “The Hotel Power Couple,” and interviewed Jennifer Pochedly, Corporate Director of Revenue Management for OLS Hotels & Resorts, and Jonathon Capps, Vice President of Revenue for Charlestowne Hotel for insights on what marketing can learn from revenue management. This post explores a few specific data points that revenue management can share with marketing to increase the efficiency of both departments and ultimately result in a more effective cross-pollination to drive measurable revenue growth.
1. Data to help marketing target more effectively
Capps says it’s critical for the revenue management department to share data that can help the marketing team target customers more effectively. Which dates, segments, seasons, and channels are performing the best? Which rooms are bringing in the most revenue?
“Revenue management must keep marketing in the loop at all times,” he says. And, while revenue management and marketing have different perspectives, they must ultimately set a common goal if they are to be successful. “In the revenue world, it’s about following the data; in the marketing world, it’s about A/B testing. Merging these two worlds means starting with a goal and then checking in often so that adjustments can be made in order to reach that goal.”
Capps also notes that many disparate elements are involved in this process. For example, if the hotel’s goal is to grow its book direct website channel, then the funds, the content, and the vendors that go behind it must line up, as well as the pricing strategy, booking engine strategy and promotion strategy.
2. Identifying periods of weakness to avoid a last-minute crisis
Clearly, identifying your property’s periods of weakness in advance helps you avoid crisis-driven rate-cutting and last-minute campaigning. Identifying periods of weakness in order to avoid crisis situations is critical.
For example, imagine a scenario where Christmas is slow in Los Angeles, so OLS, located in California, creates package promotions and ‘members-only’ promotions. “You layer it and try to get the most business you can,” according to Pochedly. Capps said Charlestowne Hotels also plans well in advance for slow periods. “We know what’s in the pipeline, so when there’s a period of weakness, we can just tweak an offer or adjust a campaign to make it more targeted.”
He said it’s also important to identify trends and patterns, both in demographics and geographic regions. It may be that certain patterns emerge at the same time each year, for example, and the property can make the necessary adjustments. Yet, even with the best planning, emergency situations can occur. “We’ve learned that as much as you try, things happen,” said Capps. “That’s why it’s so important for revenue management and marketing to have a close working relationship. If you have that, then dealing with a crisis becomes much easier.”
3. Which segments need more attention and when – leisure, group or corporate?
Pochedly says the time of year plays a big role in the segments OLS targets. During December, for example, the company focuses on leisure travelers. She said the day of the week also factors into the decision-making process. Most corporate travelers arrive on Tuesday and Wednesday, whereas most leisure travelers arrive on the weekend.
She also notes the industry is seeing an increasing number of ‘bleisure’ travelers – people who combine business with leisure. There’s opportunity to market to these consumers with special weekend promotions. Capps said Charlestowne Hotels is heavy in the leisure market. “We keep up with all the trends, but especially those in that segment.”
4. Analytics to help marketing tailor campaigns to the hotel’s most valuable targets at the right time through the right marketing channels
Data, not intuition, enables the marketing team to craft campaigns. And the better the data, the more accurately the property can target its most valuable guests at precisely the right time and through the most effective marketing channels.
Strategic revenue management considers the total value of each guest based on all available revenue streams, including food and beverage, wellness, gaming and retail. Analytics that provide a 360-degree view of the guest enable the property not only to predict future behavior but also to tailor marketing campaigns that hit the right note at the appropriate time and through the most effective channels. At OLS, the revenue management and marketing teams meet weekly to review the data. We look at rate code analysis and country analysis. Most importantly, we look at the market-to-market code analysis to make sure they are all producing properly.”
These are only 4 of the Big 8 topics on what marketing can learn from revenue management, from our eBook, “The Hotel Power Couple.” For the remaining 4, including trends in purchasing behavior, the reports RM works with each day, OTA/third party campaign execution, and knowledge of research and booking window, download the eBook!