Gary Glodowski, Regional Director Revenue Management – West Coast – Sydell Group
A partnership between Ron Burkle and Andrew Zobler, the Sydell Group is the creator and manager of unique hotels rooted in their location and architecture.
Sydell’s core expertise is their ability to collaborate with original talent within the world of design, food & beverage and retail, and bring them together to create compelling new hotels which engage the communities around them.
Sydell Group’s diverse portfolio of award-winning properties include the NoMad New York and Los Angeles, the LINE LA and DC, Freehand Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. New openings are coming up in Austin and Las Vegas.
Competing in the fast-moving market in southern California demands a well-thought-out revenue management strategy from our West Coast team at the Sydell Group. Keeping a close eye on our competitors and knowing which events will impact demand in the coming days, weeks and months is essential for us to achieve our revenue targets.
To stay up to date on changes in the market, monitor our competitors and compare our current strategies, our team had to comb through countless emails sent by our previous revenue management tool. Instead of highlighting key points however, these messages simply contained alerts but did not reveal important details. For full information, it was necessary to click through to the website, log in and review each set of data separately. That made it time-consuming and cumbersome to keep an eye on the market and get a bigger picture, as important insights were spread out over various windows and views and could only be consolidated manually.
This led to delays in getting the information we needed and resulted in us not being able to make important pricing decisions fast enough. Chasing after the market in this way made us lose many opportunities to capitalise on periods of peak demand, even though our team worked hard to keep current. Due to our delayed reactions to new developments we were often lagging behind the market and our competitors.
To stay ahead of the game, take better advantage of peak demand periods and find a steady place among our compset, a new solution was needed. It was important for our group to be able to recognise opportunities in the future and prepare for them by adjusting our rates. This would give us the competitive edge we needed to achieve our short-, medium- and long-term revenue goals.
It was at a time when these challenges significantly impacted our performance that I met a representative from OTA Insight at the Revenue Optimization Conference (ROC) in Toronto.
Although at the time I was not sure a different revenue management tool would solve our issues, I let them walk me through Rate Insight’s dashboard and capabilities and was immediately convinced we needed to make the switch. The interface was so intuitive and the information it provided was so complete, there was little doubt in my mind that the entire team would benefit from Rate Insight. After all, everybody loves a tool that just works.
The only resistance I met came from our executive team who had gotten used to seeing information presented in a certain way. Once they became used to the new style and saw the many benefits of Rate Insight’s capabilities and live updates, they were immediately on board as well.
Sydell is a small group with a portfolio of different styles of boutique hotels operating in a very convention-driven market. This makes our needs quite different from those of larger properties or international chains. From the beginning, it was clear that the extensive data we got access to through OTA Insight addressed our specific requirements and would provide the business intelligence we needed to be successful.
For example, when analysing our competitor and market trends, Rate Insight lets us choose which metrics we want to see, we can easily change our comp set and how the information is presented.
Being able to get detailed data about upcoming events and how they will impact the market as well as the option to even add our own events to the system has been another game changer that enables us to connect the dots and plan ahead.
Also, one of our properties is a combination of a hotel and a hostel. With our previous tool, checking the competition was difficult as the comp set we monitored, only corresponded to part of this property. Rate Insight allows shopping for rates by room type and even lets us add a secondary comp set which makes it easier to track players related to both aspects of this one business.
Being able to shop for rates live and on-demand has had a huge impact. Rate Insight makes it possible for us to understand which channels are performing well, which ones we need to stimulate, and which consequences our pricing decisions have. Thanks to the real-time updates, we no longer have to wait hours for a new report but can immediately see when something happens in the market or one of our competitors reacts to our rate changes.
This and the possibility to drill down on flexible as well as fenced rates and add length of stay restrictions to our searches gives us deep insights into market trends and our competitors’ strategies. Of course, getting this kind of insight gives us a decisive edge when making decisions on pricing now and in the future.
Parity monitoring is another aspect of OTA Insight we greatly appreciate. At the click of the mouse, we see if an online channel is undercutting rates or if there is an error from our side causing a parity issue. That gives us the chance to correct it or contest rates offered by third parties immediately and avoids negative repercussions rate parity infractions can have. Especially now that we signed a deal with a large wholesale provider, this tool will become even more valuable as we can police new offers coming up.
When starting to work with OTA Insight, it was important to me to have a US-based account manager who could support our team at the regional office as well as the revenue managers at the properties. A dependable point of contact was provided from the start and made the transition from our previous tool to Rate Insight smooth, quick and easy.
Having support tailored to our company has been very valuable. It helped quickly get over some initial hiccups and is making it possible to get the most out of the tool at every establishment.
The overall excellent performance of Rate Insight at great value for money paired with OTA Insight’s responsiveness is why I highly recommend partnering with them to every hotelier, whether they operate a single boutique property, a group of luxury resorts or a cluster of international hotels.
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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.