Like any vocation, revenue managers have a technology toolbox at hand to help them do their jobs well. Each tool automates otherwise impossible tasks, making you more efficient, and allowing you to spend your time crafting and executing revenue management strategies, instead of being bogged down with mindless data entry.
Your PMS is the heart of your hotel because it’s the key to efficient front desk management. Instead of using spreadsheets which are manually updated and therefore prone to human error, your PMS automates much of the operational tasks around managing a guest’s stay and their booking.
It’s worth investing in a robust PMS which can track the right KPIs and data for your hotel. Not only for efficiency’s sake - but because the operational data within will give you all of the reporting you need for granular revenue data analysis.
A channel manager is necessary if you want to efficiently manage your inventory across all of your booking channels in one place. Instead of logging into several booking sites to manage your online rates and inventory, you can do it all from your channel manager, which is always up-to-date.
Some channel managers use the pooled inventory model, where you can allow all of your online inventory to be sold at once without any risk of overbooking, because it will ensure that all of the booking sites are updated once a room is booked. Having one that integrates with your PMS is crucial because it will also incorporate your direct channel - meaning that when someone books over the phone and you create the booking in your PMS, the inventory is automatically reduced across all of your online booking channels.
Your online booking engine is what manages your direct online channel, because it is attached to your website. From the traveller’s point of view, it works very much like the booking function on OTA websites, so they’re comfortable booking through it. Booking engines facilitate international bookings - not only because they process online payments without human intervention, but because many allow for international currency and language conversions. Travellers will receive an automatic confirmation email, and many allow you to set up other templated emails to be sent. Having a booking engine that integrates with your PMS and channel manager is key, because it means that your direct online business’ inventory is automatically managed and updated, and you don’t sell rooms that you don’t have. Your booking engine should also be able to connect with your rate shopping tool so that the latter can monitor not only your OTA rates but also your own website’s rates.
As a revenue manager you are knee-deep in data. Information which is crucial to shape the perfect revenue strategy, but hard to interpret at the best of times. Look for a tool that visualises big data, highlights pricing opportunities and allows you make informed yield decisions.
No-one wants to leave money on the table. With a parity monitoring solution, you’re able to track rate parity across all your OTAs, your website, and metasearch channels - and see exactly where you are losing revenue. The tool should be able to help you spot your parity discrepancies, ensure your direct channel isn’t being undercut and avoid brand-mandated fines.
Keep an eye on your competitors’ rates with a rate shopper. Look for a platform that can shop rates in real-time, across your different booking channels, and room types such as Rate Insight. Crosscheck these rates with local and international events and holidays which will affect your demand. This way you can understand future market pick-up with an accurate snapshot of demand for hotel rooms in your region, allowing you to be proactive instead of reactive.
Analyse your historical and future performance in order to optimise your channel mix. By leveraging your PMS data into a user-friendly dashboard, you can get instant insight into where your business comes from, looking at your revenue KPIs (occupancy rate, ADR, and RevPAR) and key business levers. This tool should show you whether your strategy is working and what impact it has on your KPIs in a glance. Look for a solution that can drill down to revenue data on a granular level, and make it actionable.
Benchmarking data is useful - but make sure you choose a provider who specialises in your market. Business intelligence tools partner with different data providers to automate market data transfers for you.
For example, OTA Insight works with STR, MKG, Fairmas and Benchmarking Alliance, suppliers of hotel market data and benchmarking solutions. This means that users can access their benchmarking data regarding occupancy, RevPAR, and ADR indexes alongside their Rate Insight data.