Customer Spotlight:

VARIANT Apartments

“Market Insight completes the picture of demand and enables us to capture it - thus increasing ADR and RevPAR.”

Tatiana Matveyeva | Director of Revenue 

Customer Spotlight:

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About VARIANT Apartments

VARIANT-apartments-logoSituated across the historic heart of Saint-Petersburg, VARIANT Apartments are bright and cozy with all the amenities a travellerwould wish for.

We recently spoke with Tatiana Matveyeva, Director of Revenue for VARIANT Apartments to discuss how she and her team are using Market Insight. Tatiana explained how the solution came to play a vital role in guiding them through the pandemic up to present day, by spotting demand ahead of competitors and growing bookings on important dates, and among crucial market segments.

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"We use Market Insight to promptly respond to changes in the market. We optimise our site based on the demand trends, while continuing to gradually increase the share of bookings from our Brand.com."

Detailed demand analysis used by the entire commercial team

When the pandemic started, no one understood what would happen with travel and when guests would return to hotels. Fortunately, Russian hotels in St. Petersburg still had demand until the end of July 2020, but historical data became irrelevant and forecasts were inaccurate. We could only check pick-up and make hypotheses, realising that the market would behave totally differently with COVID-19. At this moment we decided we should start using more specialist instruments to monitor the market. And then OTA Insight with its Market Insight came into our life, giving us the opportunity to scan what’s going on around us and what is the pace of recovery.

Our whole team fell in love with Market Insight. Our CEO - like myself - immediately understood the potential of the demand analysis: Who are the guests? Where are they coming from? How long until they will arrive and what location they are looking at? We use Market Insight to promptly respond to changes in the market.

We optimised our site based on the demand trends, while continuing to gradually increase the share of bookings from our Brand.com. We always look at the heat-map of Saint Petersburg - to understand which new properties to sign up for management, especially as we launched 6 new mini-hotels under our management for arrivals from April 30th. So we have 15 hotels in our network compared to the 6 that we had recently.

Capture all relevant traveller segments

Every day of the week demand is different across different parts of the city, and according to Market Insight data, you can see, for example, more tourists gather in the city on weekends - as they prefer centrally located hotels. And then when business/corporate tourism re-starts, specific locations throughout the city will show noticeable increases in demand, and they will be tied to the venues hosting forums and conferences, etc. This means that if you suddenly miss an active business event in your event calendar, Market Insight will clearly show this activity, and you will be able to capture these bookings in time. Market Insight is very convenient, informative, and detailed in this respect.

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"Demand data I get from Market Insight has become so familiar I have already forgotten that before I used to have to spend so much time manually analysing the market situation."

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Accurate, real-time data to help increase bookings

The information we receive from Market Insight is 100% up to date. In Russia there is a tour operator called Biblioglobus, which in September 2020 launched a program of charter flights to St. Petersburg from several cities, several times a week. As part of the Biblioglous package, tourists receive: flights, accommodation and excursions. Market Insight displayed a significant volume from the cities which Biblioglobus were chartering flights from, so we then also partnered with Biblioglobus. We now get additional occupancy that we weren’t getting before using Market Insight.

By looking at Market Insight we can see that demand is increasing, which is really great. When Russia closed flights to Turkey earlier in the year, for tourists who already had tours planned this was difficult but we looked at it from a more mercantile standpoint. Immediately after this news, we noticed the booking activity for St. Petersburg was doing well, those who were still deciding between the seaside and the cultural capital, finally decided on St. Petersburg.

The May holidays were supposed to take place from May 1-3 and May 8-10, but the government announced that they would be extending the May holidays to 10 consecutive days. This led to guests starting to search and book for longer length-of-stay, from April 29 to May 9 inclusive, opposed to the 3 night stay they were looking at booking before.

Drive revenue on key dates

St. Petersburg hoteliers closely follow the May holidays, because these are some dates where you can generate very good income. Market Insight helps us with this by quickly updating demand trends. Guest booking for the May Holidays generally starts on April 30th in most cases, but there is also a slight increase in demand on April 28. Moreover, on this day, the guest is often looking for hotels with stays of 7 days or more, which means he plans to spend a vacation in St. Petersburg until May 9. The demand for arrivals on May 6 is also increasing. All these slight changes are immediately acknowledged by the tool, and all you have to do is put the insights into practice. Adjust the price, update your advertising campaign and ultimately get higher revenue.

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"All you have to do is put the insights into practice. Adjust the price, update your advertising campaign and ultimately get higher revenue."

Attracting guests in the search phase of the customer journey

The first thought that came to me when thinking of Market Insight was: “It's so obvious why everyone should use Market Insight.” It’s hard at the moment for hoteliers to be able to understand and predict which trends are emerging. You need to have vast experience. For me personally, the demand data I get from Market Insight has become so familiar I have already forgotten that before I used to have to spend so much time manually analyzing the market situation.

Market Insight shows several important details with a few clicks: what dates are popular, what location is most interesting to travellers, from which cities are the potential guests travelling from, how many are searching, what LOS is most searched for in my city, and how demand is evolving. As a result, we get a detailed picture of demand for our market. One specific aspect of Market Insight which provides benefits is the fact that we’re watching real “warm” demand, it’s not a reservation yet. It means that we still have the opportunity to capture this guest by attracting their attention, using different revenue and marketing strategies.

Get the full picture of market demand before your competitors

Another benefit of Market Insight is the opportunity to find out how the market is going to shift before competitors will see it in their pick-up. If you look at your pick-up and other analytics and are still hesitant to make a strategic distribution decision, you can examine Market Insight data because it gives you the most up-to-date information about the demand for the year ahead. We really have our eye firmly on the ball now. We also use the hints we see in the smart compset function, scanning the advantages of the hotels we are competing against, that our guests look at together with us.

 

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"If you suddenly miss an active business event in your event calendar, Market Insight will clearly show this activity, and you will be able to capture these bookings in time."

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A word to your peers

Overall, Market Insight is a very helpful instrument for our revenue, sales and marketing team. Along with other tools and analytic data we use, Market Insight completes the picture of demand and enables us to capture it. Thus increasing ADR and RevPAR. We’d recommend the tool for all hoteliers who want to excel as professionals.

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