Chroma Hospitality is a partnership between two regional hospitality industry leaders, Filinvest and Archipelago International, which encompasses the four innovative brands Crimson Hotels & Resorts, Azure Beach Club, Quest Hotels and Canvas Hotels & Resorts. Currently, Chroma looks after a growing portfolio of hotels across the Philippines and Indonesia and provides both business and leisure travellers with inspired, memorable stays.
During a recent chat with Sunish Sadasivan, Vice President of E-Commerce & Revenue Management at Chroma Hospitality, we learned more about how he uses the Rate Insight business intelligence (BI) tool in day-to-day operations. He shared the challenges he faces in dynamic markets and how he uses Rate Insight to improve rate parity, be competitive and save time.
Since our hotels all attract a different customer mix and operate in highly dynamic markets, it’s very important for us to keep an eye on our online rates and our compset. Unfortunately, our previous BI tool often did not fetch data correctly and left us with outdated information on availability, room types and rates.
Among other things, this prompted me to search for another solution and led me to discover Rate Insight. The reviews online were excellent, so I decided to give it a try. I was impressed by the quality of its live shop updates which provide comprehensive overviews of the market, demand changes, our compset’s rates and upcoming events in the area. This real-time information is a good benchmark and starting point for our decision-making process.
Now, I can look at the next 90 days for all six hotels within only an hour and quickly decide where to increase or decrease rates based on market demand and primary compset rates. The live data also shows me opportunities to yield in my different markets which I can directly act on to drive more revenue.
"Since using Rate Insight, we have been able to decrease the number of rate disparity cases from between 25-30% to 13-15% which contributed to our direct bookings going up by 5-7% depending on the hotel."
Apart from showing us live rate and market information, Rate Insight also uses historical data to provide important details about rate evolution. This shows us how our rates have evolved compared to the compset and the whole market and it allows us to see how we are doing with rate management. I can see what went well and where there was room for improvement over the last few months and together with the e-commerce team, I refine our strategy and make better distribution decisions.
Rate Insight’s interface has a very user-friendly layout which makes it easy to find exactly what we are looking for whenever we need it. My team and I were quickly able to learn how to use it and could make the most of the tool from the very beginning. Once you put all the information together which Rate Insight provides, you have the perfect combination of data and a complete picture of your performance in the market.
Before using Rate Insight, it was very tedious, and it took us a long time to analyse our compset and the market overall on the various sales channels. Now, we can easily check all rates daily, review our positioning in the market for the next 90 days and understand demand changes. This allows us to immediately yield rates where necessary to stay in line with our strategy as well as our RevPAR and ADR goals. To ensure we are doing well on all fronts, I do a quick check every morning, make the needed rate adjustments and start the day feeling confident that I know exactly what is happening in the market.
We also save tremendous amounts of time when conducting parity checks. In the past, one team member could review cases for two or three hotels a day. With Rate Insight, they can check for rate disparity at all six of our hotels in a single day. Overall, we save around six to eight hours a week on rate and parity checks and with Rate Insight.
Rate disparity has been a problem for hotels for many years and it only got worse with the convergence of metasearch engines. To make sure we get the most out of our online distribution, keeping an eye on rate parity at all our properties daily is a must.
We used to regularly lose business to OTAs who undercut rates or to channels selling wholesale rates publicly and we only found out once the damage was done and bookings had already come in. For example, we would notice a property suddenly getting more wholesale vs. direct bookings at a lower price. To find the true source of these disparity cases we did test bookings and manual rate shops using VPNs. This sometimes took days, only brought limited results and cost us a lot of revenue. Rate Insight helps us tackle this by showing us rate parity issues as soon as they arise.
Now, we check for cases first thing every morning to see where we need to act. With Rate Insight, we can discover where the wholesale rate is leaking from within a day and take the appropriate steps at once. Being able to address rate disparity so quickly saves us hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on the volume of bookings coming from the channel in question.
Before using Rate Insight, around 25-30% of the time, our rates were in disparity and showed up better on OTAs than our website. Since using the tool, we have been able to decrease this number to 13-15% which contributed to our direct bookings going up by 5-7% depending on the hotel. We hope to continue this trend in the coming years.
"I was impressed by the quality of Rate Insight’s live shop updates which provide comprehensive overviews of the market, demand changes, our compset’s rates and upcoming events in the area."
Since Rate Insight makes it so easy for us to see where disparity cases arise, we have been able to identify channels that repeatedly sell our offline rates online or sell private member rates publicly. To counteract this, we now take decisive measures. This starts with a friendly reminder of our agreement when we first see a case of rate disparity. If it happens again, we suspend the channel for a week. Finally, we close it for 30 days or longer depending on how eager our partner is to resolve the situation.
While this approach may not be the easiest and most permanent solution to the rate disparity problem, it is a good start for us. We now experience less rate disparity and work more closely with the partners who respect our contracts.
I absolutely recommend that revenue managers try Rate Insight, whether they work for a chain and oversee several hotels or operate on a property level. This tool can help you better understand your market, compset, positioning and performance and thanks to the insights it offers, you can refine your strategy and boost your hotel’s performance.
However, don’t start using it just because people around you are. Put it to the test first. Do a trial and see for yourself if there is a place for Rate Insight in your day-to-day operations and if your business can benefit from it. Once you see the immense value of what it offers, you can make an educated decision.