San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants is the original boutique hotel company, which pioneered the idea of unique, distinctive, design hotels in the United States in 1981. Today the group is part of IHG and operates more than 60 hotels in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and greater China.
Here we look at The Kimpton Everly Hotel - Hollywood and the Kimpton La Peer Hotel - Los Angeles, which bring Kimpton’s inspiring design and personalised service to one of the USA’s most popular destinations.
The two hotels my team and I look after operate in the highly competitive, quickly developing urban environment of Hollywood and West Hollywood. Our transient-heavy market is made up of both leisure travellers and corporate business from the entertainment industry, which is in season year-round.
In this competitive setting, it is crucial to understand the market and keep a close eye on how demand shifts day-by-day and week-by-week. Our previous business intelligence tool made this difficult for us, as it only generated reports with year-on-year comparisons. Since both hotels are still only a year old, we frequently did not have enough data to create proper comparisons. To track our performance and know which strategies and promotions were working, we had to manually curate this information in spreadsheets.
Because we were not able to see which approaches worked and which ones we should replace, we had to stick to blanketed strategies such as evergreen promotions even though we wanted to implement advanced rate fences and yielding.
"Particularly since both our hotels are still young and have limited amounts of data to work with, this has proven to be useful."
When I joined Kimpton Hotels, I learned about OTA Insight’s business intelligence tools. Since the team was already working with Rate Insight very successfully, I was keen to also put Revenue Insight to the test. This decision was quickly rewarded.
Particularly since both our hotels are still young and have limited amounts of data to work with, this has proven to be useful.
For example, I use custom filters to look at busy months like June and October, which both have big conventions. I can dive in and find out on which dates I need to change my rates, which rate codes are underperforming or how individual segments are behaving. Seeing all this on an easy-to-read dashboard gives me the chance to understand trends and immediately take the necessary steps and revise my strategy.
"With Revenue Insight I can easily see which accounts are up or down and by how much they are picking up compared to last year or last month."
With Revenue Insight I can easily see which accounts are up or down and by how much they are picking up compared to last year or last month. It is also possible to examine my leisure business and see exactly which OTAs are producing and where there might be an issue we need to inspect.
The tool also makes it very easy to spot trends and challenges as they develop, even several weeks in advance. Without Revenue Insight, I would not be able to pick up on them as far out. Today for example, I looked 60 days ahead and saw days where our pace was lagging compared to last year. By checking more closely, I could see this was due to a change in the promotions and rate fences we had put in place. Having understood this, I was able to act quickly. Without Revenue Insight’s information, it would have taken a lot longer to become aware of this situation.
Forecasting accuracy has improved drastically thanks to Revenue Insight because I now have access to more detailed historical and future data as well as pace. When my property is ahead of or behind our forecast, I can see where the pickup or lack thereof came from and gauge the impact on the coming days and weeks. It is also possible to look back at similar periods in recent months, like the weeks leading up to big events and compare their pickup to my current situation.
When preparing the forecast summary for the team, Revenue Insight helps me quickly identify our need periods, where we have been growing or declining and why. Now that I can clearly see what works and how we can do better, I can save several hours when compiling the report and writing my commentary for senior management and the head office. The time I saved can be dedicated to other revenue-related tasks.
We are now able to track which days are pacing up and down and which market segments are most strongly affected by this. This lets me identify need periods and when to add restrictions on rates. I can also see each of our segments and separately analyse lead time, length of stay and the respective booking window. Being able to drill down into those parameters so deeply gives us the chance to fine-tune our pricing strategy and make more informed business decisions in a way previous tools did not.
The integration between STR benchmarking and Rate Insight, another OTA Insight tool we subscribe to, is a great way to see our total historical performance. With a few clicks, we can compare our market positioning to the rest of the city. This shows us whether our properties are responding in the same way as our competition or if there are discrepancies we need to be aware of and investigate.
As both of our hotels are new, we are still working out our revenue and rate strategies. Since we are doing a lot of testing, Revenue Insight has proven very useful because it quickly shows us which approaches are successful and we no longer have to spend time guessing. In short, Revenue Insight offers us a great way to harness historical and future data to make the best business decisions.
Apart from offering us actionable, accurate insights, Revenue Insight saves us around three to five hours every week. When creating reports for the owners or our head office, I can export data in an easy-to-read format and present it. For internal meetings, I highlight relevant information on the dashboard.
The tool is very user-friendly and highly customisable. By dragging and dropping you can adjust your dashboard to display data you want to focus on. Drilling down to get more detailed information only takes a few clicks. Training my staff to use Revenue Insight only took 30 minutes.
Overall, Revenue Insight saves me time by automating data extraction from the PMS and allows me to spend more time managing demand and making the right decisions. That way we have been able to improve all segments, achieve fair share market penetration and maintain the double-digit month-on-month growth both our hotels have been experiencing since the opening.