Revenue managers have much to gain from digital transformation, from providing them with new ways of analyzing and converting data into timely decisions, to increasing reliability and flexibility — all while enhancing the on-site guest experience.
As the industry reemerges in a new normalized environment, many C-suite hotel executives are in the market for the material benefits that digital transformation and the cloud can offer.
In the past, digital automation of hospitality operations has primarily taken place in back-office administration. However, it’s now playing an increasing role in revenue decision-making as new tools designed for specific revenue management use cases come to market.
More and more, hotel revenue managers are realizing that tech excellence is a prerequisite to customer service excellence. But digital transformation is not just about technology — it enhances the on-property experience of guests.
As Duetto’s CEO David Woolenberg said in a recent interview with Skift, “Adopting a revenue management system is not about replacing the skills and the work [revenue managers] already do, it’s about enhancing those skills, making them more strategic and more effective in their jobs while automating repetitive manual tasks to help them do more in less time and in periods of growth to help them scale quickly and efficiently.”
Here are five insights to guide enterprise-level hospitality leaders as they consider a path toward modernization, digital transformation, and upgrading to integrated, cloud-based technology.
Trusting and Embracing Automation
Getting buy-in from staff at all levels across all departments among all properties is a prerequisite for digital transformation. Automation is counterproductive if an individual’s or department’s mindset is to manually check everything that has been automated. Elsewhere, proof points are always useful to engender trust in new processes — and in a data-driven organization, these validations should always be available.
Automating how upgrades are sold is one area where proof points confirm improvements in performance, often with percentage increases beyond the scale of even the most optimistic top-tier salesperson. Lloyd Biddle, Duetto’s director of product marketing, referenced its recent integration with Oaky, a hotel upselling solution. “Together we deliver analytically powered, highly targeted upgrade offers to guests, yielding 45 percent higher guest spend per upgraded night, while also creating an overall better guest experience in the process,” he explained.
Ensuring a Stress-Free Revenue Management System Deployment
Deploying a new revenue management system will have direct and indirect operational impacts during the transition, whether the new system is a standalone replacement or part of a broader upgrade. Duetto has experienced industry and technical resources on hand to help see the shift through, including a dedicated team of system experts that streamline the deployment process and provide online resources, 24/7 support, and virtual training sessions.
In addition, there are many initiatives that hotel chains themselves can employ — in sync with Duetto’s experts — at a property, regional, or portfolio level. And because deployments need to succeed locally as well as globally, letting staff members know in advance how their day-to-day tasks will change is table stakes.
Michael McNames, corporate director of revenue at the Sandman Hotel Group, summarized what is needed to keep stress levels low: “While this system is primarily for the revenue management team to utilize, it’s vital that all departments are involved in the decision-making process and during the go-live.”
Understanding Enterprise Rate Guidelines
Duetto introduced Enterprise Rate Guidelines to help make revenue management teams more efficient and protect brand identity — and it’s a strong example of how a data-driven, cloud-based hotel management platform can develop tailored solutions that address specific needs.
This feature allows enterprise-level revenue managers to set scalable strategies across regions or an entire portfolio, creating business strategies by brand, property type, or source market, with the ability to flex these guidelines instantly in response to market data.
Sandman Hotels’ McNames dived a bit deeper. He added, “Enterprise Rate Guidelines create a baseline for the properties to operate. It allows us to maintain brand and rate integrity but also to control our discount levels. During the pandemic, we slotted our properties into different groups, with a different structure applied to each group — an initiative led by our revenue department manager, Ling Tong. This allowed us to efficiently update their rate strategy and distribution as conditions for each property changed. We simply changed their grouping and quickly applied a new structure.”
Enabling Dynamic and Flexible Reporting
A flexible reporting structure enables hotels to analyze and adjust pricing strategies in line with demand, in as close to real-time as data transfer will allow. And because historical data to make future pricing decisions is less predictive than in the past, given shifts in guest behavior and booking patterns over the past two years, hotels now need the flexibility to examine different time frames — measurements such as “same time last year” are not necessarily the best benchmark right now.
Biddle explained, “Profitability is always the first consideration when analyzing commercial performance [and] should include total contribution from sleeping rooms, food and beverage, meeting room rental, and other ancillaries. That is a lot of data — nearly impossible for a human to consume and analyze — which is why enterprises rely on the data science of commercial strategy platforms like Duetto to make it actionable.”
Staying Ahead of the Innovation Curve
To not only keep up with — but get ahead of — the innovation curve, hotel revenue leaders need to embrace new ideas, technologies, and trends in the first place. This means accepting that revenue strategies can best boost the bottom line when hosted in the cloud and when once-siloed functions, such as distribution, marketing, and personalization, are fully integrated.
When a hotel management technology platform and a hospitality company partner together to maximize the benefits of the collaboration across an entire portfolio, revenue management has the potential to become the driving force in hospitality. McNames added, “We need to steer away from internalizing revenue management. Even if you’re fully or semi-automated, you’re frankly going to fall behind the curve without having a seat at the table of your tech partners.”
Meet with Duetto at HITEC Orlando. Visit with hem at Booth #317 or book an appointment here: https://go.duettocloud.com/meet-team-duetto-hitec2022
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