After several harrying weeks of lockdowns, it’s time for hoteliers to take on the next challenge: market recovery and rebuilding business in a future full of questions. While the past several weeks haven’t been easy, it’s no secret that the recovery period will also be a challenging time for hoteliers.
While this will be a trying time, having the right tools and a well-thought-out approach will help you get through this in one piece.
A strong revenue management strategy that lets you capture market share and maximize average spend is your ticket to success in this period of slowly rising demand.
In this article, experts from Oaky, a pre-arrival upselling platform, and Atomize, a fully automated RMS, share ideas for how to shape your revenue management strategy, so you can make the most of the first signs of market pick-up.
But first, let’s start with some good news.
First signs of recovery – prepare for growing demand
STR benchmarking recently shared insights that highlight positive market development in China. It shows that corporate and leisure demand has been gradually picking up since the beginning of March with a steady growth carried on throughout April, with occupancy rates reaching nearly 50% during the Labour Day holiday.
With travel restrictions loosening around Europe as well, occupancy and demand will probably develop similarly there soon, too. But while countries including Germany and France announced they would open borders with some of their neighbors by mid-June, plans for welcoming non-EU travelers are still uncertain.
Even though cross-border travel will be possible, many countries have implemented strict rules. The UK, for example, requires international travelers to submit contact details and to self-quarantine for 14 days. Measures like these as well as the perceived risk of going abroad will likely make domestic travel more attractive.
This, combined with people wanting a change of scene after the lockdown, will result in steadily rising demand. Now is the time to prepare for it!
Optimizing your revenue strategy post COVID-19
Since demand will take time to return, the dry spell for hotels isn’t over yet. But if you play it right, you can make the most of the recovery period by capturing market share and increasing your average spend per guest.
Boost average spend and customer experience with upselling
In the early post-lockdown days, you will probably face lower-than-usual occupancy rates. To maximize the average spend per guest and to be sure your guests have an unforgettable time, make upselling and cross-selling an element of your post-crisis revenue strategy.
Why should you implement upselling and cross-selling at your property now?
- To increase the average spend per guest in times of low occupancy
- To allow your guests to customize their stay experience with relevant deals and offers
You can start by pitching extras to guests when they check-in. Popular offers include paid room upgrades or value-based F&B packages (think in-room dining options, for example).
While on-arrival upsells are a good place to start, the results you’ll get from this time-consuming approach are limited. It will also get more difficult to do since contactless check-in is gaining traction.
To make upselling and cross-selling more effective and efficient, using an automated upselling platform like Oaky to promote deals, offers and services is a great start. That way you can let the system send pre-arrival emails to your guests automatically instead of having to push people to opt in when they arrive. This frees you up for other tasks, gives guests the chance to think about which deals they want and allows staff enough time to arrange things.
Using an upselling system has several more benefits on top of saving you time and energy. They include:
- Increasing incremental revenue by promoting in-house F&B packages or other hotel services
- Reaching guests who book direct and via OTAs with targeted, optimally timed pre-arrival emails
- Using segmentation to promote personalized offers and drive sales
- Allowing guests to customize their stay on their terms
- Tracking and optimizing your upselling revenue
Looking at all that, you’ll understand why automated upselling is not a sales push but the perfect way to ensure an excellent stay experience for your guests while boosting incremental revenue.
Here’s an example of how an upselling tool could help you showcase deals and services:
Increase bookings and revenue with rate optimization
Since most familiar booking patterns have disappeared, demand shifts will be unpredictable during the recovery phase.
This makes it more important than ever to monitor your market, so you can keep your rates in line with the competition and don’t lose bookings to them.
Always keep an eye on comp set pricing and demand shifts so you can maintain your positioning through optimized rates. That way you attract bookings in a time when markets are highly dynamic and competitive.
Of course, this is time-consuming and may be difficult to keep up, especially if you are working with a smaller team than before.
Using an innovative RMS (revenue management system) can solve this problem because it gives you a competitive advantage and saves you time.
Implementing an RMS lets you easily:
- Leverage data on comp set rate changes and demand shifts in your market
- Optimize prices automatically, 24/7/365, whenever demand changes
- Save time and effort on market and competitor research
- Access comprehensive BI-reporting provided by OTA Insight
Once you let an RMS do the heavy lifting for you, you save hours of valuable time and can concentrate on what’s most important right now: developing a revenue management strategy optimized for the current situation.
By following a strategy instead of blindly reacting, you can avoid pointless rate cuts that sabotage your performance and follow a strategic, well-informed approach to pricing instead.
To really get ahead of the game, try the Atomize RMS. When set to automatic, the system updates your rates for you whenever necessary, so you can benefit even from the smallest developments and attract more bookings at the best rate possible in this market.
Some may wonder how well an automated RMS can perform in today’s unprecedented market conditions when historical data is not representative of predicting the future. This is why Atomize flags data collected during COVID-19 and will not use it to base long-term forecasts on. Instead, the system will rely on real-time KPIs during this period since we believe this to be more important when responding to unforeseen, last-minute market changes during recovery.
To ensure the prices set by the system are in line with your brand positioning, it’s crucial that you can input tailored pricing rules that reflect your rate strategy. Relying on an automated real-time RMS will save you valuable time, so you can have all hands on deck 24/7.
In short, an automated RMS and a modern upselling platform are quite the power couple. While the RMS lets you attract guests with optimized rates, upselling maximizes your revenue from every reservation, all while making your guests happy.
No wonder these two elements play a big part in an optimized revenue management strategy, right?
To give you ideas on forming the best strategy for your property, the teams at Oaky, the world’s leading pre-arrival upselling platform and Atomize, the industry’s first fully automated RMS, have created a comprehensive Revenue Optimization Guide for you, for free.
Get your copy now and learn how to successfully take your hotel through these rough times.