Industry Update
Opinion Article30 October 2020

Why It’s Time For Revenue Managers To Shift Focus To New Data Sets

Advertorial by Gino Engels, Co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer at OTA Insight

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As revenue managers navigate the current landscape, the number of variables impacting travel is making it incredibly difficult to accurately predict and stimulate demand.

Let's take a look at the reasons why:

  • Comparing your hotel's performance versus same-time-last-year does little good when we know demand is nowhere close to where it was last year.
  • A timeline regarding the end to the COVID pandemic is unclear - we simply don't know exactly when travelers will feel safe hitting the road again.
  • With no corporate meetings or conventions, hotel demand has shifted almost entirely to leisure, meaning hoteliers are solely focused on what was previously only a small part of their business.
  • Any travelers that are venturing out are booking within days of arrival, and the compressed booking window is making it nearly impossible to use on-the-books data to make decisions.
  • As demand shifts and some hotels remain closed, the hotels you competed with prior to COVID are likely not the same hotels you compete with today. Not only are you competing with more hotels than before, you're likely competing more with alternative accommodations as well.
  • During shifting market conditions, Revenue management systems that base their pricing recommendations on historical data and on-the-books data can be unreliable. While revenue managers prior to the COVID outbreak were working toward automation, today's real-time strategies require much more human oversight.

Today's hotel revenue departments are scrambling to determine the best sources of data to help them make informed decisions around operations, sales and marketing. Fortunately, top-of-funnel data with deeper insights into traveler intent is available to help revenue teams get a real-time glimpse into current and future demand.

Instead of being reactive, revenue managers are now forced to be proactive. They're looking higher up in the research and dreaming phases, attempting to understand traveler behavior before the guest has booked a room. Upper funnel data is an important supplement to OTB data - grabbing demand before it is booked.

Let's take a look at new sets of data that can provide hoteliers with a better sense of future demand and help them deploy strategies to capture it:

  • Search data provides a wealth of information, allowing revenue managers to see what destinations travelers are considering, what dates they're hoping to travel, and how long they're looking to stay. Revenue managers can see which hotels in their market are being searched the most and then determine how they stack up in terms of price and guest experience.
  • Flight arrival data is a great indicator of just how many people are coming into your market on a daily basis, as well as where they're coming from. This helps revenue managers target guests from particular destinations and ensure that incoming travelers aren't overlooking their property.

With new advances in big data and machine learning, we are now able to process and analyse unprecedented quantities of upper funnel data. This technology empowers commercial teams with the capability to detect an increase or decrease in demand levels and streamline their revenue strategies.

Consumer behavior regarding travel and lodging has shifted dramatically. Once revenue managers are able to better understand "traveler intent," they can then build correlations to their own demand to see where they are over- and under-performing. This data can be used to build marketing promotions that target exactly what today's travelers are looking for.

New approaches to revenue management will require a wide variety of inputs and insights to help gauge the earliest indicators of demand. Revenue teams must embrace change, act with agility and adapt to the newest data and technology available.

OTA Insight's newest product, Market Insight, was born out of the fact that revenue managers need additional, pre-booking upper funnel data to accurately measure their "unconstrained demand," outside of the business that's already been booked. Market Insight helps revenue teams analyze exactly what travelers are searching for and helps them craft promotions and offers to capture that demand.

In tandem with OTA Insight's three other products - Rate Insight, Revenue Insight and Parity Insight - revenue managers now have a full suite of solutions to analyze real-time data, build effective revenue strategies, and then measure success to ensure they're driving the most revenue to impact the bottom line.

Rate Insight allows hoteliers to "shop" the competition, easily see when competitors are raising and lowering rates, and ensure your hotel is positioned correctly in the market based on its unique value propositions.

Parity Insight helps hotels ensure their rates are in parity across all the different distribution channels, preventing undercutting from OTAs, metasearch channels, bed banks, or other distribution partners.

Revenue Insight is a business intelligence tool that helps hoteliers bring all their data from across the various systems into a single dashboard, making running lengthy reports a thing of the past and speeding up the ability to make critical commercial, operational and marketing decisions.

Summary

As revenue managers navigate the current landscape, the number of variables impacting travel is making it incredibly difficult to accurately predict and stimulate demand.

As such, today's hotel revenue departments are scrambling to determine the best sources of data to help them make informed decisions around operations, sales and marketing. In their search for new pockets of demand, revenue managers are looking less at internal reservations data and are instead shifting their focus to pre-booking data that helps them be more proactive in capturing business.

Fortunately, real-time/forward looking data is now available to shed light on the pre-booking phases of the guest journey, and hotels today have better insight into traveler intent. Data sets like search history and flight arrivals allow hoteliers to create promotions and offers that meet exactly what guests are looking for.

With these new, forward-looking data sets, revenue teams can better identify "unconstrained demand" by analyzing travelers' behavior in the research and dreaming phases. For example, search data provides a wealth of information, allowing revenue managers to see what destinations travelers are considering, what dates they're hoping to travel, and how long they're looking to stay. Flight arrival data is a great indicator of just how many people are coming into your market on a daily basis, as well as where they're coming from.

Consumer behavior regarding travel and lodging has shifted dramatically. Once revenue managers are able to better understand "traveler intent," they can then build correlations to their own demand to see where they are over- and under-performing. This data can be used to build marketing promotions that target the right traveler, at the right time and place in the buying journey.

Related Products

Market Insight

Harness real-time market intelligence Market Insight captures hotel booking intent in real time to uncover new revenue opportunities. With millions of data points and cutting-edge technology, Market Insight delivers location-specific, segmented demand insights.

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Rate Insight

Make smarter pricing decisions Rate Insight provides real-time rate intelligence information on your competitors" complete pricing strategy. Featuring granular insights on competitors" rates, ranking, reputation, and OTB occupancy, Rate Insight empowers hotel partners with relevant datasets.

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Revenue Insight

Unlock your revenue potential Revenue Insight is the business intelligence platform that unlocks the potential of your PMS data, delivering lightning-fast, actionable insights so you can confidently make better revenue decisions.

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Gino Engels

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    About OTA Insight

    OTA Insight empowers hoteliers to make smarter revenue and distribution decisions through its market-leading suite of cloud-based business intelligence solutions including Market Insight, Rate Insight, Parity Insight and Revenue Insight. With live updates, 24/7 support from our customer success team, and a highly intuitive and customisable dashboard, the OTA Insight platform integrates with other industry tools including hotel property management systems, leading RMS solutions and data benchmarking providers.

    OTA Insight's team of international experts are based all over the world, including the UK, US, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Singapore, Australia and India, and supports more than 50,000 properties in 168 countries. Named the UK's 17th fastest-growing private technology company in the Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 in 2019, Number 103 in the FT/Statista list of Europe's 1000 fastest growing companies in 2020, and Best Rate Shopping & Market Intelligence Solution in the 2020 HotelTechAwards, OTA Insight is widely recognised as a leader in hospitality business intelligence.

    For more information, visit www.otainsight.com and follow us on Twitter (@otainsight) and LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/company/ota-insight).

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