Do we need a new revenue management toolkit for 2021?
— 18 experts shared their view
It is no longer news that the hotel industry has suffered the worst decline in history. The resulting business failures are starting to make the news and most industry experts agree that it will be several years until the industry returns to anywhere near the health it had in 2019. While the global picture is still very gloomy, we are starting to see isolated upticks in reservations. However, whether it is traveler's slowly adjusting to the "new normal", or just pent up leisure demand, the booking patterns are different than ever before. And just like the periods following previous disruptions, the most aggressive and innovative hotels will gobble up all of this trickle of new travelers, leaving most hotels still staring at the horizon, looking for signs of life. Although there will be few winners and mostly losers during the early stages of the recovery, most hoteliers are still working with the exact same set of tools they had, pre-pandemic, including over half of the industry that uses no dedicated revenue optimization technology whatsoever.
So, we ask our panel experts: 1) For a hotel just getting started implementing a revenue optimization process, what technology and services are most essential, and how should they be selected? or 2) For a hotel with an established revenue optimization culture, what new tools have emerged that could be game-changers?
Director of Revenue Management Services at SHR, Sceptre Hospitality Resources, LLC
All hoteliers, whether just getting started with revenue optimization or already operating within an established RM culture, need a new revenue management toolkit for 2021. Our industry is notoriously slow to adopt new technology, and our current market situation should serve as a catalyst for *everyone* to re-evaluate their previous approach. For hoteliers that hadn't implemented a true revenue management process, or perhaps now find themselves without the staffing levels to support what was in place, the most essential piece of technology to add will be an RMS to consolidate their data into quick insights, provide forecasting for finance and operations, and utilize the latest machine learning techniques to automate their pricing.
The more hoteliers can take advantage of technology to handle their day-to-day, the more able they are to free up their limited human capital for the strategic management that will be critical in navigating recovery.
Hoteliers who are already working within an established revenue optimization culture would do well to evaluate new players in the marketplace for systems they already utilize. The time is now for tackling larger implementations projects, not once demand has begun to normalize. The potential game-changer for these hotels is not one specific tool, but to move beyond the lip service we always pay to "breaking down silos". A deeply integrated CRS/RMS/CRM, combined with new functionality like Google Pay Per Stay and other top-of-funnel marketing, will provide a holistic approach to loyalty and tailored guest offerings that gives these hotels the best positioning to shift share and drive profitability.