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?

Kelly McGuire
Kelly McGuire
Principal Travel & Hospitality, ZS

Revenue optimization technology, particularly the core RMS system, was critical to long term revenue success pre-pandemic and it will remain so as we move into the recovery. Even with continued low demand and changes in segment behavior, it is impossible for a person to manually manage the complexities of a dynamic marketplace. Now that the initial shock of the crisis has past, these systems have had time to adjust, and they can detect small pattern shifts across a larger horizon than an even-more-overworked-than-usual revenue manager can. 

What has changed, and will continue to evolve as we move into the recovery and "new" normal, is the data you rely on to inform both strategy and tactics. The systems and the revenue managers should be relying on recent past and forward looking data as opposed to historical demand patterns.  A revenue management system is essential, and I would also recommend working with a data provider that can give you some forward looking insight into market behavior, especially pricing and demand, in an easy to consume, highly visual format.  

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