January 2019 - Climber Revenue Management Strategies

Revenue Management Glossary

If you are new to Revenue Management you might quickly get overwhelmed by the amount of jargon RM´s use on a daily basis. You needn’t worry! In this article we will be covering the ABCs of Revenue Management’s most important terms. **Average Daily Rate (ADR) or Average Room Rate:** A measure of the average rate […]

If you are new to Revenue Management you might quickly get overwhelmed by the amount of jargon RM´s use on a daily basis. You needn’t worry! In this article we will be covering the ABCs of Revenue Management’s most important terms.

**Average Daily Rate (ADR) or Average Room Rate:**
A measure of the average rate paid for the number of rooms sold.

*ADR = Actual daily room revenue / total rooms sold.*

**Average Length of Stay (ALOS):** It is the average number of days guests stay at the hotel and can be calculated for a particular period of time.

*ALOS = total occupied room nights in a hotel or segment / number of bookings in the hotel or segment.*

**Average Rate Index (ARI):** ARI is a KPI that compares the performance of a hotel´s ADR to their competitive set during a specific and similar period of time. The information about the competitive set is available through third-party providers such as STR (Smith Travel Research). An ADR of above 100 means that the hotel is achieving more than its fair share of ADR, wheras a result below 100 suggests that the hotel is achieving less than its fair share, and the competitive set is achieving more than their fair share.

*ARI = (hotel ADR / ADR of the competitive set) * 100*

**Best Available Rate (BAR):** BAR is the best avaiable rate of the day to the Public (unqualified guests). The BAR rates, does not require pre-payment, include any addititonal services or benefits and the cancellation policy is the one normally followed by the Hotel.

**Booking curve:** An important tool that shows bookings over a period of time in a graph. It includes pickup, number of bookings, availability and yielding capacity of the hotel over time.

**Booking window:** Booking window can also be called Lead Time. It is the the number of days between the day a reservation is made to the actual arrival date to the hotel. This can be calculated for an individual guest, or an average can be taken for a group or segment.

**Capacity:** The set number of rooms in a hotel.

**Central Reservation System (CRS):** A system that is used by hotel groups to centralise key hotel information such as data from the Property Management Systems (PMS), inventory and rates to be able to manage the reservation process. A CRS provides hotel room rates and availability for many different distribution channels. The software is often acquired from a third-party vendor.
Channel management The methods and systems used by hotels to update hotel information, room inventory and rates for each of the distribution channels.

**Channels:** The different methods by which or locations where a customer can books a room at the hotel.

**Closed to arrival (CTA):** A mechanism used by revenue managers to control inventory by blocking guests from arriving on a certain date, meaning no new reservations can be taken for guests arriving on this date. (You may stay through the date, but cannot arrive on that date)

**CTD – Closed to Departure:** A mechanism used by revenue managers to control inventory by blocking guests from departing on a certain date, meaning no reservations can be taken for guests departing on this date. (You may stay through the date, but cannot depart on that date)

**Commission:** The payment that a travel agent or OTA receives per reservation that is made through their channel. The charge is usually a fixed percentage of the room rate, ranging between 10% and 30% depending on the size and influence of the OTA as well as the size and popularity of the hotel.

**Competitive set (comp set):** The competitive set or “comp set” for short is the group of hotels by which a property can compare itself. Usually this group is made up of hotels that can be considered competitors as they have similar concept, pricing, target market and location.

**Conversion:** Once a customer transitions from shopping and/or enquiring into purchasing.

**Day(s) Before Arrival (DBA):** The number of days before the date of arrival.

**Demand:** Hotel demand is the level of interest in a hotel, specific room type, event, conferencing space or other. Revenue managers need to be aware of the demand in their market of reference to make informed pricing decisions. Seasonality, special events, holidays are all factors that might impact demand.

Types of demand might be:

*Constrained demand:* Demand for a particular date respective of a hotel’s capacity (100% demand being full capacity).

*Unconstrained demand:* Demand for a particular date irrespective of a hotel’s capacity.

*Elastic demand:* Demand that is sensitive to fluctuating pricing levels.

*Inelastic demand:* Demand that is not sensitive to fluctuating pricing levels.

**Displacement Analysis:** An analysis that is conducted to determine whether it’s beneficial to take rooms out of a specific inventory that could be filled by another segment of business and generate higher revenues. For example a hotel can calculate the value of the group booking compared to what transient bookings would generate by contrast, if the group booking generates more you would keep it, if transient bookings would generate more, the group inventory would be moved to transient segment of business.
Dynamic Pricing The practice of selling the same product at different prices. Sometimes referred to as surge or demand pricing. It is a pricing strategy in which businesses set flexible prices based on current market demands.

**Rate fence:** Rate fences are restrictions that require customers to take on higher risk or forego flexibility. In exchange, appropriate discounted rates are offered which helps to prevent high-ended guests from trading down.

**Forecast:** Forecast is used in order to have a realistic picture of probable future of occupied rooms and rates to us and show the amount of revenue that is to be expectes based on forecast analysis, which includes predictions of occupancy and average rate.

**Full Pattern Length of Stay (FPLOS):** A pattern indicating whether a rate is open (available) for the arrival date and length of stay. FPLOS controls allow a hotel to accept a discount rate up to a peak period, removing the disocunt on the peak days and offering them again for longer lengths of stay, thus improving occupancy on the less popular days (shoulder days) and increasing overall revenues.

**Gross Operating Profit Per Available Room (GOPPAR):** A KPI that measures total revenue minus operational and marketing expenses per room.

*GOPPAR = (Total Revenue – Controllable Expenses / Rooms Available for Sale)*

**Group Displacement:** The process of evaluating a group’s total profitability in comparison to the profitability of making those rooms available to other types of travellers or channels.

**Leisure traveler:** Someone traveling for personal reasons not for business.

**Length of stay:** The number of nights a specific guest has booked at the hotel.

**Lose-it Rate:** The rate at which the hotel does not profit from selling the room, so it is better to leave the room unsold and not incur the variable costs that selling it would bring.

**Market Penetration Index (MPI):** MPI is a KPI that compares the performance of a hotel´s MPI to their competitive set during a specific and similar period of time. The information about the competitive set is available through third-party providers such as STR (Smith Travel Research). An MPI of above 100 means that the hotel is achieving more than its fair share, wheras a result below 100 suggests that the hotel is achieving less than its fair share and the competitive set is achieving more than their fair share.

*MPI = (hotel occupancy percentage / occupancy percentage of the competitive set) * 100*

**Minimum Length of Stay (MinLOS):** An inventory control mechanism used by revenue managers to optimize stay patterns. This could help for example to ensure that a peak demand nights do not get filled with one-night stays.

**Net rate:** The rate after subtracting commisions.

**No show:** When a guest makes a reservation but does not make use of the room and does not notify the hotel they will not be coming. This means the hotel room cannot be put back on the market. Often hotels will charge the full amount or charge a no-show fee (if they have the creditcard details or have pre-paid).

**Occupancy:** Occupancy is a KPI usually represented as a percentage. It is the percentage of the available rooms that were sold during a specified period of time.

*Occupancy = rooms sold / rooms available*

**Online Travel Agency (OTA):** Online Travel Agencies are a third party selling the respecative hotel’s rooms on it booking site. The amount of inventory to be sold by OTA’s is usally agreed upon and the hotels pay a commission on rooms sold by OTAs.

**Open Pricing:** The method of pricing all room types, channels and dates independently of each other with the intention of maximising revenue.

**Overbooking:** The practice of accepting and confirming reservations beyond a hotels capacity. It can either be by error or as a strategy to fill the hotel to its capacity considering a certain percentage of rooms will be cancelled last minute or be no-shows.

**Pace or Pickup:** The pace at which reservations are made for a particular date or time frame that can be measured by rooms, average rate and revenue

**Profits per available room (ProPAR):** An emerging KPI that calculated average room profits, instead of the more conventional revenue. This factors in all costs a hotel incurs to acquire and host a guest.

*ProPAR = total profit / total number of rooms*

**Property Management System (PMS):** Hotels local software that is used by an individual hotel to facilitate and store data of reservations, check-in and check-out and guests profiles.

**Rate parity:** A strategy to maintain consistency in room rates where the same rate structure for a hotel exists across all its distribution channels. Is usually a legal agreement between a hotel and an OTA where they agree to provide the same rate for the same room on all the distribution channels.

**Revenue per available room (RevPAR):** A KPI used to assess how much revenue an hotel have made within a certain period of time.

*RevPAR = occupancy * ADR*

**Revenue Generating Index (RGI) or RevPAR Index (RPI):** A hotel KPI that can be used to determine whether a property is achieving its fair share of revenue compared to their competitive set. The information about the competitive set is available through third-party providers such as STR (Smith Travel Research). An RGI of above 100 means that the hotel is achieving more than its fair share, wheras a result below 100 suggests that the hotel is achieving less than its fair share and the competitive set is achieving more than their fair share.

*RGI = (RevPAR of the property / RevPAR of the competitive set) * 100*

**Revenue Management:** The practice of predicting customer demand and optimizing the price and availability to best match demand. The goal of Revenue Management is to increase and optimise revenue by selling the Right Room to the Right Client at the Right Moment, at the Right Price on the Right channel.

**Revenue per Square meter of function space (REVPAS):** A KPI used to measure the performance of a hotels function space.

*REVPAS = total function room revenue / total square meter of function room space*

**Revenue per available seat hour (REVPASH):** Similar to RevPar for rooms, REVPASH is a KPI used to monitor the performance of food and beverage outlets in a hotel.

*REVPASH = total revenue per hour / total number of seats*

**Revenue Strategy:** An approach to revenue management that encompasses the entire hotel business into a holistic plan to increase the company’s revenue in the short and long term. A strategy includes ways in which the hotel will manage pricing, demand, distribution channels and products and services amongst many other elements.

**Shoulder Date:** Specific hotel hights that are next to dates that are highly desirable and expected to be sold out. For example, if Friday and Saturday are forecasted to be sold out and Sunday and Thursday are not these would be considered shoulder dates.

**Stay Pattern Management:** A process whereby revenue managers seek to optimise the hotels capacity by analysing stay patterns on the books. Revenue managers might use stay control techniques to ensure that the stay patterns do not result in un-sellable stays.
Transient “Leisure and business guests where rooms are sold at rack, corporate, package, or government rates and corresponding revenue

**Total Revenue Per Available Room (TREVPAR):** It is a KPI that gives a preview of the total revenues of the hotel while RevPar only takes into account revenue generated by room sales. As such TREVPAR is an indication of overall financial performance of a property.

*TREVPAR = Total Revenue/ Number of Rooms Available*

**Total Revenue Per Client (TREVPEC):** It is is a KPI used to calculate the total revenue a hotel generated per guest.

*TrevPAC = Total Revenue/ Number of Guests*

**Unconstrained Demand:** The forecast of demand (in number of rooms) that is irrespective of the hotel capacity. Revenue Managers identify when unconstrained demand is above the hotel capacity as part of their revenue management strategy.

**Regret:** A regret represents a prospective client that has been shown a room rate online but the guest did not book the room. This could be for a numer of reasons from the guest deciding to cancel a booking or not completing it in full. Hotels often keep track of Regret statistics to assist in forecasting occupancy and setting prices.

**Denial:** The response that the hotel gives to clients that attempt to book the hotel once the hotel is fully booked at that time is called Denial. Hotels often keep track Denial statistics as a measure of unfulfilled demand, which can be used to yield more effectively.

*Yield = (Actual sales/ Potential sales)* or *Yield = (RevPAR/ Rack Rate)*

**Yield Management:** Yield or Revenue Management is the process of understanding, anticipating and reacting to customer needs and behaviors with the intent of maximizing revenue/profit out of the limited and perishable inventory of hotel rooms. A part of Yield or Revenue Management is implementing a variable pricing strategy.

 

Want to know more about Revenue Management and Climber RMS?

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The Battleground for Customers

Technology and economic growth have contributed to many changes in the life of hoteliers. Technology has contributed to a massive increase in the reach that hotels have over the past 20 years. Previously hotels were unknown outside their local community and could only gain reach through traditional Travel Agency listings plus they were using fixed […]

Technology and economic growth have contributed to many changes in the life of hoteliers. Technology has contributed to a massive increase in the reach that hotels have over the past 20 years. Previously hotels were unknown outside their local community and could only gain reach through traditional Travel Agency listings plus they were using fixed rates and can now benefit from flexible pricing due to additional visibility of demand. Technology brought autonomy to hotels, as they were now able to sell their inventory on different platforms via different sellers at different rates. Technology seemed to be a savoir for many hotel owners, even if that meant paying a 3rd party a commission.

The apartment rental business however, was not seeing the same success as hotel were. There were laws preventing privately owned apartment short-term rentals and therefore also not as many marketplaces or Tour Operators for Apartment rental as there were for hotels. Families and groups were looking for accomodation options that had a living room and facilities such as a kitchen. AirBnB discovered the need for flexible and convenient short-term housing and created a platform, which matched people with apartments and the guests looking for apartments, simultaneously laws surrounding apartment rental were changing. The immense success of Airbnb came from a larger group of customers than just families and groups, including young people that might have booked hotels before Airbnb. Although Airbnb is not considered a direct competitor for hotels, we think there is a large pool of young people that is sitting on the fence when booking their accommodation and check both Airbnb and OTA´s when booking their travels. There are actions hotels can take to become more attractive to this group and in turn to make them pick hotels over Airbnb.

There are many trails of thought surrounding what the government or other institutions should do to ease the problem of “unfair” competition for hotels and traditional apartment rentals, such as the Bristol Hoteliers Association (BHA) calling for ‘exclusion zones’, where they want local residents to have the option and authority to block any properties or rooms from being offered in the street in which they live. AirBnB is a major competitor for independent hotels and it does not look like they will be going away anytime soon. So what can hotels do in order to compete with AirBnB?

Whilst hotels are taxed in order to operate, apartment renters have had the luxury of not having to pay as many taxes. With close to no additional fixed cost and few variable costs, apartment renters can charge low prices, that are difficult for hotels to compete with. With help of technology to assist back office practices like waste management, hotels have a great opportunity to improve operations and lower the cost of running a hotel. Doing that, in combination with the use of Revenue Management software, hotels can have good revenue return and sell their rooms at the optimum price.

Hotels have become infamous for the often unnecessary and unattractive “bureaucracies” such as set early breakfast times and the extra payment for early check-in or late check-out. Removing these will attract the guests looking for flexibility and all inclusive price.

Hotels need to focus on and market what makes them unique as an industry, and the main strength of hotels is exceptional service. Hotel guests appreciate services that are not available through Airbnb, for example the concierge that can offer advice on how to get authentic local dining experiences, the storage of bags after checkout, the 24/7 staff on site and immediate assistance in any circumstances.

AirBnB offers a user friendly booking experience, one that hotels can learn from. Hotels can and should invest on making the booking experience for clients booking on their own website more user friendly. However, as a large percentage of guests book hotels through Online Travel Agents such as Booking.com, hotels have the opportunity to take full advantage of the options on these profiles to enhance the guests booking experience for their specific hotel. Find out your guests preferred method of contact through the OTA and send them a customized welcome message. Or make sure your profile on the OTA is complete with tips about the neighborhood you are situated in, such as little-known walking routes, great cafés or amazing restaurants nearby.

To summarize, here are a few options that can increase your hotels competitiveness to Airbnb for those guests that could go either way in their booking:

Lower fixed costs and optimise prices – With the use of back office and Revenue Management software, hotels can take advantage of the cost-cutting and revenue optimising opportunities.

Remove the bureaucracies – Hotels have become known for the often unnecessary and unattractive “bureaucracies” such as early breakfast times and the extra payment for early checking or late check-out. Removing these will attract the guests looking for flexibility and all inclusive price.

Service – Sell your industry strengths, the exceptional service! Hotel guests appreciate the service a hotel offers that is not available at an Airbnb, such as the concierge offering authentic local experiences and the ability to store bags past checkout time.

User Interface – Work on creating a user friendly and complete profile for your hotel on OTA´s, and customise the guests online journey at every interaction.

New strings and attachments

Surviving on your own has always been and will always be difficult, but being an Independent hotel has never been as easy as it is today. Before the rise of technology and technological companies, only hotels that belonged to big multinational hotel chains were sure of survival in the uniquely seasonal hospitality industry. Hotels belonging […]

Surviving on your own has always been and will always be difficult, but being an Independent hotel has never been as easy as it is today. Before the rise of technology and technological companies, only hotels that belonged to big multinational hotel chains were sure of survival in the uniquely seasonal hospitality industry.

Hotels belonging to multinational chains benefitted from their distribution network, brand awareness and technological solutions. Independent hotels on the other hand relied heavily on third parties such as agencies for customers, but suffered from the lack of individual reach. This caused several independent hotels to merge with bigger players in order to survive. In the recent years companies serving independent hotels and small chains have flourished and given them more power and chance of survival in the market. Some of these companies started out as small tech companies and grew into powerful OTA’s and others started out as rivals but saw an business opportunity by using their know how’s in order help the smaller players in the market such as AccorHotels.com

Expedia Group, Inc., Booking.com and TripAdvisor are some of the biggest players that levelled out the odds between independent hotels and chains. As these companies keep on developing and stepping into new businesses they continue to change the game as we know it.

The world travel platform Expedia, which debuted as Expedia.com in 1996 has continued to empower people around the world and change the travel industry. As they grow and the world changes they discover new business opportunities and in September 2016 the world travel platform of online travel brands stepped in to a new business, as they officially launched Rev+. A revenue management tool designed to provide hotel partners with smart, actionable data and insights, aiming to help hotels to manage their properties and rates.

TripAdvisor, founded in 2000 with the mission to help travelers around the world plan and book the perfect trip, has not only swore to their mission but also stepped into new businesses. In 2015 TripAdvisor transitioned into a booking site, making the hotels visible also bookable. Due to a difficult transition from metasearch channel to booking channel the platform emphasised on partnerships and navigated consumers to book via their partners.

The reach that comes with collaborating with these companies, which provides hotels higher occupancy rates, comes with a cost. A commision cost, which is so high that competitors are helping each other in order to decrease the bargaining power of OTAs. In June 2015, Accor opened their online bookings site AccorHotels.com for independent hotels to load their inventory, a very bold move of the hotel chain, which are also relying on OTAs in order to sell their rooms.
It is no secret that direct bookings and loyal customers will increase profit but close to no hotel is able to only use their own channels in order to reach their revenue targets, and Accor hotels are no different. This is caused by the fact that many customers are not interested in being loyal to a company and prefer convenience and price. Making business such as Expedia group, Booking.com and TripAdvisor very important for hotels.

From direct bookings to business analysis

The strategy behind AcccorHotels.com was to offer the chosen hotels a platform with lower commissions than OTA’s, in an effort to reduce OTAs’ bargaining power and encourage more direct bookings. Traditionally direct bookings were the fastest and the most famous way for hotels to increase profit but as the industry develops new and more efficient ways have been created. Where Hotels that have invested in analysing and understanding its distribution system, the market trends and potential and historical data, are the ones that have been able to significantly cut cost and increase profits.

In addition companies specialised in Revenue Management have in the recent years been booming through their quest to help hotels. Revenue Management Systems (RMS) were created in order to help hotels to maximise their revenue potential. RMS companies target distinct hotels, depending on the complexity and price of their system. Some offer solutions for large hotels with sophisticated revenue strategies and extensive know-how on how to use complex Revenue management systems. Others offer solutions for hotels that are just starting to work on developing a Revenue strategy and need a simple, user-friendly system.

Most of these systems are not specifically recommending prices to those segment that buy in volumes, which tend to be discounted aggressively, such as rooms sold to the segment “Group”. What most of them are doing is using the market trends and opportunities and the hotels historical data to create pick-up and forecast reports, as well as recommend prices in order to maximise revenue coming from the segments, which buy in relatively low volumes but that generate a high contribution margins. The combination of the reporting that these systems can do and the dynamic pricing recommendation they can give are helping hotels to take advantage of the real opportunities that sellers in all companies across industries have been struggling with, namely finding ways to connect products sold in high volume at low price and products sold at low volume at high price.

To conclude

The world is changing and it is only collaboration ahead. The hospitality industry is getting more dynamic and technological everyday and hotels need to embrace the changes in order to compete. Tools created to help are out there so do not fall into the trap of being too busy to notice that the world is changing around you, as that might just be the reason for your downfall.

How To Create a Budget for Hotels

This is the time that GM’s, Revenue Managers and Sales hate the most as it is the time for budgeting. A lot of hours will be spent in meetings analyzing data late into the night. This is when the GM gives you the speech that he would like to see an exponential growth because the […]

This is the time that GM’s, Revenue Managers and Sales hate the most as it is the time for budgeting. A lot of hours will be spent in meetings analyzing data late into the night. This is when the GM gives you the speech that he would like to see an exponential growth because the demand has been increasing or simply because he has already made some “compromises” to the owners before even looking into numbers. By this time, the sales department is already terrified by the speech, screaming that it was quite a difficult year and they are not foreseeing an increase in demand. If you’re somehow involved in this process, it is time for the Revenue Manager to step in and try to harmonize their expectations.

Here are some tips and tricks that can help you out in structuring your budget.

Step 1

Make sure that you have accurate data. It is vital for any organization, but this is not a process that you need to put your hands on only when you’re budgeting. This is something that you need to manage the entire year. Conduct regular audits into reservations, and check if market segmentation, rate plans, source codes or profiles are correctly in place. If you see that there’s no consistency, maybe you will need to train your business associates in the reservations department and highlight the importance of having all the correct data in every single reservation.

Step 2

Now that you have consistent data, try to do something different (for me, it works most of the time). Ask your sales department to give you their best estimates. Ask them the number of room nights sold, ADR and room revenue for each company/tour operator, per month, that they feel comfortable. This will work as a foundation and make people from sales happy because your starting point meets their expectations already. Even if you have to increase their goals, they will feel like they have been part of the decision making. It is also good for you to see if they are aligned with your strategy. As an example, if corporate rates increased by 5% next year, you will realize if this is being taken into consideration in their projections.

Step 3

Forecast your last months of the year, and do not use the budget of the year that you are into as a reference. The reason behind it is that you have produced those numbers more than a year ago, and usually either you are far away from them, or you have already surpassed them. By forecasting the last months you will more likely to be closer with your budget accuracy.

Step 4

Produce a “demand calendar”. Check your occupancy for each day of the year that you are into. Do this in an Excel sheet, with a “conditional format” by “painting” occupancy levels. As an example, 0-25% paint it in black, 26% to 50% in blue, and so on. You will then see where the demand is low or high and also analyze if there are revenue opportunities. Which day of the week is stronger or weaker? Did you have holes in your high demand period, that maybe next year you would like to apply restrictions? Or just maybe that group you thought was a good business opportunity at the time prohibited higher revenue opportunities by blocking transient room sales. By doing this colorful chart you will have a bird’s eye view of the demand patterns of your hotel.

Step 5

If you have a large conference hotel, make sure that you produce a daily budget and not a monthly budget. The reason is that sometimes large groups can create spikes in your weekly occupancy, and that will turn away business, or taking out days of the week where your typical leisure segment is. If you are not doing a daily budget, please be prepared as you might have a significant deviation from the reality of your hotel.

Step 6

If you have a benchmarking tool, make sure that you will do the proper analysis. Check where the revenue opportunities are. Is it in the Occupancy or the ADR? Is it weekends or weekdays? Try to do this exercise: if you know your competitive set occupancy and you know how many rooms they have, then you will have the number of rooms sold. Once you have their average rate just multiply the number of rooms sold by the ADR and you will have their room revenue. If you have this data from the last two years, you can easily identify their growth percentage vs yours.

Step 7

Review any special events in your town or region, and measure the impact that they could have in your business. Usually, you should categorize them as positive events or negative events. Both of them have a direct impact on your demand. If you have a resort, a bank holiday could drive business to your hotel, in which you should categorize it as a positive event. If you have a corporate hotel and a bank holiday on Wednesday, you should be prepared in advance and reflect that info in your budget.

Step 8

Revise your room inventory and if this fits your needs. There are a lot of hotels that oversell their standard rooms and then upgrade guests. If you are one of these hotels, maybe is time for you to review your rate modifiers or even your room types and try to figure it out the reason why are you not able to sell those rooms. Sometimes it’s not about rates, it’s how you are marketing your room types, where either could have the wrong room description or lack of quality in your photos.

Step 9

Check your competitors. Not only benchmarking reports. Check their online performance and digital strategy. If you see that they are making online campaigns or other activities, maybe is time for you to allocate some resources and money into this. If you don’t have the knowledge try to find some company that can help you out and built a roadmap, with specific targets.

Step 10

There are tools available in the market that can help you out to gather all this information and save you a lot of time. Climber distills your data into actionable insights.