Emilie Allain - Group Revenue & Digital Marketing Manager - Marlin Apartments and Aparthotel
Since being founded in 2003, Marlin has become the largest independent operator of serviced apartments in London. Marlin’s 800+ premium apartments and aparthotel rooms are spread over seven prime locations in London, all of which are serviced under the company’s ownership. In 2019, Marlin will expand to Ireland by opening their first hotel in downtown Dublin.
The environment our serviced apartments operate in is highly competitive and very dynamic. Holidays, as well as London’s many events and trade shows, impact all our properties significantly. While high-demand periods lead to a predictable price increase in the market, it is often the slower periods which are most dynamic regarding rate changes.
On some days we have to update our rates several times to stay in line with market developments. In order to do this effectively and find our place among our comp set, we must be able to see exactly what is happening in the market in real time.
OTA Insight’s Rate Insight tool was already in place at Marlin when I joined the team and I immediately understood why our company was one of their early customers. Especially in a city as competitive and dynamic as London, a static market report sent once a day is not enough. This is why the ability to get a live overview of the market and see the latest rates by simply hitting ’refresh’ at any time makes Rate Insight a game changer.
Apart from sharing live information about our competition, Rate Insight also informs us about various upcoming events in London, which are a potential source of last-minute pick-up. We can also use the spikes in our comp set’s rates as an indicator of demand during a specific period. By making this information so easily available to us, Rate Insight solves the problem of having to collect data manually.
The forecast calendar gives detailed insight into our competition’s rates, which we would previously have had to collect on our own. This way we can clearly see how we are positioned in the market and quickly take note of changes as they happen by refreshing the calendar and accessing updated information.
Rate Insight’s live market insights can be like an alarm signalling that we need to change our prices. This is especially true for properties like our aparthotel, which is set in an area where it can be necessary to yield our prices almost every hour on some days to stay competitive.
The tool also helps us look further into the future. By letting us see market rates for the next 365 days, we can scan the coming months for dates where our competition has corrected their prices up or down. If there is no other indicator in the market, such as an event or holiday, then seeing these fluctuations on Rate Insight helps us make the most of them. So we don’t miss any of these trends, we check six months out on a weekly basis and look at the coming days and weeks every day.
When we are interested in a specific date, we see the ADR curve, which highlights the changes we made for those days. Looking at the rate evolution we see how the market has developed over the past days or weeks and how we can yield to the max.
To ensure we are well positioned in the market, we use Rate Insight to monitor our pricing compared to our comp set. By looking at the live rate calendar, we can immediately see on which days we might be off and where we need to make adjustments. This way we can maintain competitive prices, make our offer more attractive to potential guests and reach KPIs such as RevPAR, occupancy and ADR.
By implementing competitive rates, we can boost last-minute bookings. With the help of Rate Insight’s live information and a set ADR target, even if we see the market is demanding lower rates, we can work on driving occupancy to achieve our RevPAR targets.
Apart from contracted rates, a significant portion of our business comes from OTAs. Rate Insight helps us monitor these channels in order for us to dynamically adjust prices in response to market changes, thus letting us maximise our revenue potential.
Apart from letting us keep a close eye on the market, Rate Insight also helps us improve internal communication. Rate Insight makes it easy to download and share reports that are as detailed or general as you need. By using the tool’s reliable competitor data, presented in an easy-to-read format, we can explain our decisions or clarify why some things might have gone differently from planned even to departments and stakeholders not directly involved in the day-to-day challenges of revenue management.
Since I started at Marlin, I have never looked for other tools as I am completely satisfied with OTA Insight. After only about an hour of training, my team and I were able to fully benefit from it. It’s easy and quick to use since we don’t have to switch between interfaces or make manual changes to the backend to see the data we want. Everything can be customised directly from the dashboard in a few clicks. For example, we can check for different lengths of stay, varying number of guests per apartment and by room category by simply changing a few filters.
The tool also allows us to build our own comp sets. We have put one in place based on the area our properties are in and another one to monitor competitors in the same category, i.e. serviced apartments. Once we have made the changes to our comp set in the system, it only takes an hour for it to update all the information. Being able to do this ourselves without having to submit a request to our provider and waiting for it to be handled has saved us a lot of time and gives us great independence.
On top of this, the service and support we have received from OTA Insight’s team have been very quick and professional. Their interactive chat box is great to get in touch with them directly and have any issues solved as fast as possible. Since we have met several of their team members at events, we usually know the person responding to our query. This adds a wonderful personal touch we greatly appreciate.
Receiving my OTA rates info each morning is such a time saver as a General Manager since there are a lot of duties to perform and not enough hours in a day. I am able to look at competitor rates or changes they made on future dates that happened overnight and have everything in one place.
It reduces my research time in order to make quick strategic rate decisions as we are in a market where rates needed to be changed more than normal to stay competitive. My OTA emails are one of the first things I open each morning so I can get that taken care of right away and not lose revenue.
Because of the success of our management company’s first hotel implementing OTA Insight, it has made our revenue management strategizing that much easier to the point we are implementing this tool at 10 more of our properties!
The set-up was easy, support is readily available, and the new Revenue feature just made this tool that much more valuable. I have worked for many hotel brands, and with a very reasonable monthly fee, this tool’s ROI ranks as one of the best!
I am really enjoying using OTA insight on a daily basis. The system is user friendly and gives important parameters to improve your business.
Overall, I gain time and could directly see an impact on my average rate as it gives me market intelligence, all combined in one solution.
The simple and user-friendly interface of OTA Insight really sets the platform apart from the competition.
I get all my key decision making factors being measured and reported on one easy to follow screen.
It's an intuitive and user friendly tool extremely helpful for our revenue managers, providing timely and accurate rate shops straight into our RMS solution.
Live shops are done within seconds and all the rates are live linked in case you want to check the data.
We were actively looking for a powerful tool allowing our revenue managers to efficiently manage online rate and inventory parity, screen our rate competitiveness and gather additional market insights to improve on market knowledge.
OTA Insight provides all of these as a one stop solution in a very user-friendly platform and offer great instant support for our teams.