You want to focus on guest experience and profitability. But large hotel groups with a data advantage force you to step up your revenue management game. What to do?
Here’s four shortcuts we’ve found smart hotels using to improve how they use data - without eating into precious time needed for all the other stuff that goes on in your property.
Complex interfaces are a barrier
Stay clear of tools that look and feel really complex. They will prevent you from getting your work done. Training is often required, but is not very effective due to high staff turn-over. In practice, this often means that only one person in the hotel (be it the General Manager, CFO or Revenue Manager) truly understands what’s going on behind the numbers. This poses a problem, as he/she is usually not the one dealing with guest reservations and bookings. Those who are, can usually be found in reservations department or, in small or mid-sized hotels, front desk. But when everyone bases their actions on different information, the bottom line is that money is left on the table.
All eyes on guest-facing staff
We often forget that frontline staff in our hotels have an incredibly powerful position: direct guest contact. Guest input has always been the most valuable resource in the hospitality industry and guest-facing staff are the most direct route to capture it. Additionally, they are the first point of contact for direct bookings in small- or mid-sized hotels, as mentioned above. Everyone aiming for higher profits knows that direct bookings have the highest margins (no commission!). Hence, it only makes sense that we should empower receptionists in any way we can.
Simplicity eliminates the need for training
Linking this back to the problem of complex system interfaces – wouldn’t it be more logical if we build systems that anyone, from revenue managers to receptionists, can use efficiently? Simplicity allows even low-trained staff to get quickly up to speed with room rates, occupancy and forecasts. But what does ‘simple’ interface really mean? In theory, our expectations of ‘ease of use’ are set by companies such as Google, Amazon and Apple. Your guest-facing staff are most likely no exception and expect the same experience on the work floor. Any system that is less user friendly than what they are used to will have lower adoption and have less impact on revenue-generating decisions.
Don’t start by giving data-tools to the people in the back of the hotel. The low-hanging fruit can be found at the front-desk. The benefits are quite straightforward: front office staff that are empowered by real time data can… perform better up-and cross selling of rooms offer adaptive discounts on the spot focus on guest experience rather than figuring out rates improve the direct bookings ratio This directly impacts revenue, guest satisfaction and retention.
At Pace, we believe that training should barely be necessary, business software should be as intuitive as consumer apps and technology should aim to understand you, not the other way round.