How to understand your PMS data - a quick guide for revenue managers

How to understand your PMS data - a quick guide for revenue managers

An average day in the life of the revenue manager will likely start, well, with a cup of coffee and a quick hello to the colleagues. But revenue management doesn’t allow for much spare time; quite the opposite in fact. Daily tasks start early in the morning: looking at the hotel(s) forecasts in your Property Management System (PMS), what happened yesterday, what was the pick-up overnight, what the forecast is looking like for next week, next month, the next 3 months etc.

After gaining a top-level overview of the hotel’s position, most revenue managers will start exporting numerous reports from their PMS; reports needed to analyse what is driving the business in those forecasts at a granular level.

Identify your business drivers in your PMS

Before you start analysing data, it’s crucial to know where your business comes from, and what the key drivers for your property are. Your PMS is the main source for this ‘on the books’ data, as it’s where every single reservation and group booking is recorded, manually as well as automatically.

Here are some of the key drivers you should be able to record and find in your PMS:

  • Market segment - Which market segment this reservation falls under (transient, group etc)
  • Rate code - Which PMS price code is attached to the reservation (BARBB, CORP1 etc)
  • Channel - Which distribution channel is used to make the reservation
  • Country - Where the guest is travelling from
  • Day of week stays - Which days of the week are being booked
  • Length of stay (LOS) - How many room nights the reservation is for
  • Lead time - How much in advance the reservation is made
  • Company - Whether the reservation is linked to a company with a negotiated rate
  • Agency - Which travel agent made the reservation (CWT, etc)

This ‘on the books’ data in your PMS is the foundation for any future decisions you make. So you should have a clear naming convention for rate codes, channel codes etc. It is equally crucial to train your front desk and reservation teams on the importance of data input. Explain why it is important to record the country a guest is travelling from, or using the correct rate code for a walk-in.


Export data from your PMS

A PMS is no analytics platform, so in order to make its data actionable, it needs to be moved across to a tool which can make sense of it. For many hotels, this means exporting into Excel spreadsheets.

With as many key business drivers as this, it comes as no surprise that your PMS is unable to export all data in one single report. Instead, it is often a reality that revenue managers need to export multiple reports on a daily basis, applying different filters for each report.

For example, in order to see market segment data and statistics on room types from 1st March - 31st March 2018, two reports will need to be exported from your PMS; one report containing segmentation data, and one containing room type data. If you want to look at future data, you will need to apply a different date range and export again.

It’s a task requiring significant time and effort but key to getting access to your customer data. Once you have exported all your relevant reports, the focus shifts on comparing and correlating the data, so you can make revenue decisions.

Cross-checking and granular revenue data analysis

A great many clicks and exports later, your PMS data is now accessible per business driver. In order to make sense of these separate silos of information, you will need to combine all reports, correlate the data and cross-check your different key drivers.

For example, compare a specific rate code with lead time to find out how long before the arrival date certain rate codes are booked, or with ‘day of week’ to see when people tend to stay in your hotel(s) for that rate code. Wednesdays and Thursdays may have a large number of BARRO Rate Code reservations, but the BARBB may not be producing on those days.

Cross-checking all this information identifies trends, and helps you see where your revenue and distribution strategy needs adjusting and yielding.

Adapting your revenue and distribution strategy

Now that you can see how certain revenue levers influence others, you can start taking action. Maybe certain channels need to be closed, or you need to apply rate and LOS restrictions on certain dates.

If you discover that a specific OTA is resulting in many deluxe room bookings on days you need them, talk to your OTA market manager. They’re there to help you drive revenue to your hotel, and may have ideas about how to increase bookings further.

Your ‘on the books’ data in your PMS changes constantly, with new trends arising and opportunities to be leveraged. It’s a labour-intensive, continual task for revenue managers to make changes, test the results and improve.

There are ways to help crunch the data, though, freeing up more time for analysing and decision-making. 

How to leverage PMS data and make the most of your system

These crucial factors can help you understand and leverage your PMS data: 

  • Robust PMS reporting - Every hotel has a PMS but if your system is no longer keeping up with your needs, consider changing and implementing a more reputable PMS with robust reporting functionality.
  • Revenue analysts - Even highly regarded PMSs like Opera don’t deliver the data you need neatly packaged and visualised, ready for analysis. In reality, it takes over a dozen clicks and steps to get to the granular data you need for revenue management. Some hotels have resorted to employing revenue analysts who start their days at 6am, generating reports into Excel and taking dozens of steps so revenue managers can start analysing data at 9am. As you can imagine, this is a costly option for hotels.
  • Revenue Insight - If you want to stop fighting your PMS for reports, consider a business intelligence solution like Revenue Insight. The product is built to sit on top of your PMS, giving you a full picture of where your business comes from. You have instant access to a consolidated dashboard and can compare historical and future performance of all business drivers in a simple click.

Using OTA Insight's ROI calculator, we found that spending 33 minutes per day on a Business Intelligence solution (equating to 6 working days a year), you can save up to 81 working days a year through elimination of manual PMS reporting. So you can focus on what really matters.

Ready to calculate how much time you could save?

Want to see how Revenue Insight helps you turn your PMS data into actionable insights in a simple click?

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