With the new customer acquisition and channel needs of a modern hotel, revenue managers and marketers are overlapping in thought and action more than ever before. And while both departments have traditionally worked independently, large hotels chains are learning fast that cross-collaboration between these two vital departments can bring more business, strategic partnerships, insights, and revenue.
In order to make the most of the revenue management/marketing partnership, savvy revenue managers are embracing marketing-forward thinking. Here’s how:
1. Think Beyond Room Rate KPIs
Think like a marketer by focusing on growth in non-room related charges and put your creative talents into finding the best ways to encourage spend in these areas.
Proactive revenue management takes a more holistic view of how much guests spend during their stays, spanning their scope beyond room rate and occupancy. That spend includes on-property food and beverage purchases, services (like a spa) and other ancillary charges. While the most important metrics associated with a successful hotel revolve around average daily room rate (ADR) and revenue per available room (RevPAR), gaining a broader understanding of how your hotel can continue to grow its revenue through on-site purchases is key.
Yes, this is a lot to ask of revenue management teams. Being charged with the care of multiple revenue streams can be taxing, but emerging hospitality products like Onyx’s Analytic Data Services can make ADR and RevPAR analysis and prediction easier than ever, giving revenue managers reliable data and more time and ability to focus on ancillary revenue.
2. Understand Your Hotels Segments
Think like a marketer with a hyper focus on different client profiles, their preferences and habits, and how to promote spending with the amenities and offers they’ll respond to.
If there’s one thing to remember about marketing in the digital age, it’s this: personalization is everything.
Study after study finds that customers expect personalization as a baseline level of service. In other words, it’s no longer optional. Personalization must be a core part of your marketing and service offerings and understanding your customer segments is a big component of that.
We know that different segments stay and spend in different ways. But today’s market demands an even more granular understanding of customers. There is no longer, for instance, a one-service-fits-all business traveler.
Thankfully, improving guest experience through personalization is becoming easier because hospitality technology has caught up with today’s marketing needs. The right tech can help revenue managers understand customers better and create the best budget and strategy to maximize revenue.
3. Find Your Inner Data Scientist
Think like a marketer by taking advantage of the wealth of data afforded by modern technology.
With the increasing sophistication of new hospitality revenue management systems, property management systems, and other new solutions on the market, you no longer need to gather all data from separate and/or disparate sources and organize that data yourself to make it useful for your hotel’s overall strategy. If you’ve been thinking of upgrading your hotel’s technology, now is the time.
In the same way that marketers dig deep into data from one or two reliable sources (think customer relationship management and marketing automation platforms) so can revenue managers.
As a revenue manager, this is where you can release your inner data scientist and get a better understanding of your hotel’s business. But keep in mind that choosing the right tools can make all the difference. Determine your needs and gaps in knowledge and meet with a few key prospects to see how their product can help you achieve your goals as a revenue manager.
Processes like machine learning and artificial intelligence are bolstering the revenue managers data toolset by not only giving you a current outlook of your business health, but they’re also predicting the future. For example, Onyx’s Analytic Data Services gives revenue managers the tools to mitigate risks to expected revenue represented by unconfirmed bookings.
4. Proactively Seek Online Reviews
Think like a marketer by being proactive about generating positive online reviews.
According to a study conducted by Cornell University, raising your online rating by one point on a five-point scale:
- Makes potential customers 13.5% more likely to book with your hotel
- Allows your hotel to increase room rates by 11.2% while maintaining the same occupancy
Some of the best ways to encourage positive online reviews are pretty obvious: better service, clean facilities, etc. But even an exceptional customer experience doesn’t always guarantee a review.
This is the perfect opportunity to work hand-in-hand with your marketing team. You live in online travel agencies, they may not. Keep your pulse on the ups and downs of your review score across your most competitive and lucrative channels and raise your hand if you notice an issue.
Your marketing team will formulate the strategy for generating more positive reviews by experimenting with the timing and delivery channel for requests.
5. Optimize Your GDS Content
Think like a marketer by staying on top of current trends in B2C marketing and making sure your GDS content is every bit as compelling as your messaging on other channels.
Never forget that you’re selling your property to travel agents just as much as you’re selling it to future guests who are booking direct. After all, the travel agent is essentially staking his or her reputation with a client on the quality of your property. Yet many hospitality professionals fail to put the same level of care and creativity into luring travel agents via GDS listings as they do when seeking direct bookings.
There are many ways to make your GDS content more engrossing, both visually and verbally. Try injecting more vibrant and colorful language into your descriptions or augmenting your property photos with rich content like videos and 360° tours. Again, you will need marketing support for most or all these initiatives, so be sure to request these elements from them.