Analytics and automation are nothing new for revenue managers but recent advancements in tech take these areas to new heights.
Only a short while back predictive analytics, forward-looking data and live insights were still futuristic dreams. Today they’re a reality.
That’s a good thing for revenue managers, especially in the upcoming ramp-up phase, these new capabilities are crucial to making the most of unpredictable markets.
A shift away from historical data
In the past you could rely on your historical data to create forecasts and predict business for the year ahead but Covid-19 created unprecedented and long-lasting changes in markets and demand worldwide. As a result, historical data is no longer relevant when you’re trying to plan for the future.
Today, you can’t compare year-over-year data or even the figures from the past months. The many unpredictable changes in restrictions and resulting market shifts make it impossible.
So what should you base your forecasts on instead? The answer is simple: Live and forward-looking data. They are the only options to spot signs of growing demand early on.
Setting strategies as a cluster
Pre-Covid, the window for decision-making and strategy-building used to be monthly and quarterly. With unpredictable changes cropping up at irregular intervals, this has shifted to a weekly or even daily timeframe. Quick action is needed now to make the most of developments in the market and seize every opportunity. It’s essential to quickly collect and evaluate vast amounts of data to make decisions in this volatile setting. Otherwise, chances to drive revenue could pass you by.
This can be especially challenging when you’re looking after a cluster of hotels. The amount of data you need to collect and evaluate is higher. However, you still only have a limited window of time to make your decisions.
You may consider outsourcing data collection to the teams at the hotels you’re looking after. The issue is that they’re likely running on skeleton staff and have other priorities. Asking them to collect data for you would place an additional burden on them and it could also further delay your work of strategizing and making decisions.
The ideal solution here is for the Cluster Revenue Manager to use a system that automates data collection. First, this saves you time gathering information. Second, it gives you immediate access to the data you need to shape strategies and make recommendations for all hotels in your cluster.
Why faster decision-making is crucial now
During the ramp-up phase, fast data-focused decision-making will be essential. All hotels will compete fiercely for every bit of returning business, spotting trends before everyone else is the only way to seize revenue opportunities ahead of your competition during this phase.
Using live market and demand data is the most effective and efficient way to do this. However, it’s impossible to collect and collate it manually. This would be too time-consuming and by the time you use the data, it could already be outdated.
Using an automated system to collect live market and competitor data solves this problem. For the best results, pick a business intelligence (BI) solution that provides live, on-demand reporting. This will give you access to the latest numbers whenever you need them, otherwise, you’ll lose time again on updating old reports.
Save even more time by using a fully automated revenue management system (RMS) to speed up data collection and pricing decisions. Using an RMS reduces your manual workload because it provides optimized rate suggestions whenever markets shift. The key is to use a trustworthy system like Atomize that factors in a maximum of variables. They should include data points like flight search, search volume, search-to-book ratio, competition performance, and other aspects that shape demand for your hotel. Bonus points go to systems that use machine learning to improve their rate suggestions over time.
Leveraging today’s advanced BI tools and RMSs is especially beneficial for Cluster Revenue Managers. They give you immediate access to the data you need to make fast decisions and support all your properties equally.
Cut back on time spent selling your strategy
Convincing all stakeholders and commercial departments to follow your strategy can take time. Especially during crises, this can be difficult as everyone has their own ideas on how to face the challenges.
Revenue Managers have the reputation for working with number-focused, unwieldy reports. Those can be hard to follow for department heads less familiar with the topic. As a result, you’ll get a lot of questions and have to spend time you don’t have to defend your strategy.
Stop this issue from arising by using tools that automatically create visually appealing reports and forecasts. That makes it easier for you to outline your strategy and explain your reasoning. If questions arise, you can point out the clearly presented data to convince your team.
As you can see, automation helps Revenue Managers in many ways beyond just reducing manual work. It makes data-driven pricing easier and reveals emerging market trends in their earliest stages. Finally, it decreases the time you spend on back-and-forth communication and discussion.
For a cluster, this effect is compounded. The more properties you work with, the more time you can save with automation.
Reinvest this time into strategizing and guiding your hotel or cluster through the crisis and you’ll get the most out of recovery when it sets in.
If that’s something you want to work on, reach out to us today.