Recently, we had a chat with Sam Kirsch, General Manager and Pink Yu, Director of New Business Development and Media at Robin Hood Inn & Suites. They shared how revamping the property’s facilities and stepping up their revenue management game with Atomize RMS allowed them to consistently reach a market penetration index between 110% and 230%, even in an unstable market. As a result, they were even able to increase their hotel revenue during the pandemic and the recovery period.
Before the pandemic hit, the Robin Hood Inn & Suites was on track to its best business year. As recovery sets in, their investment in high-quality facilities and cutting-edge technology is paying off by creating a unique competitive advantage.
About Robin Hood Inn & Suites
In 1963 the Robin Hood Motel opened its doors along the Gorge in Canada’s Resort City, beautiful Victoria, on the south tip of Vancouver Island. In 2017 and 2018, the Ullrich family undertook a full renovation plan to implement the physical, technological and strategic changes that would allow the hotel to set a new standard for value and services offered in Victoria. Renamed the Robin Hood Inn & Suites, the property is a favorite among local and international travelers thanks to its wide range of included services and its outstanding facilities.
A deeper understanding of our market and the compset
Before using Atomize, the team at the Robin Hood did manual research and rate shops to get an overview of their competition and demand shifts in the market. This cost a lot of valuable time and only offered a limited, static picture to base pricing decisions on. Finally, this manual process only allowed the Robin Hood to maintain a booking window of two months into the future since tracking dates and updating prices further in advance would have been too laborious for the small team. The travel market’s ongoing volatility only added to this challenge.
Today, the Robin Hood Inn lets Atomize handle market and compset data collection. This has created an entirely new outlook on the market and its competitors.
“When we did manual compset research, we always looked at a fixed group of hotels around us. With Atomize, we can cast the net much wider and examine more different properties. This has shown us that sometimes we compete with properties that weren’t previously on our radar as direct competitors. Using Atomize makes it much easier to understand who we are currently up against, and which properties potential guests are comparing us to. That helps us make more well-informed pricing decisions. It also gives us the chance to revisit our overall offering to ensure we always provide the best value for money and the best experience in the area,” Pink explains.
Immediate rate updates to reflect demand shifts
Sudden demand shifts have become much more common since the spread of Covid-19 and the frequent changes in travel restrictions. Having to rely on manual research and data collection made it very hard for Pink to ensure the Robin Hood’s rates always reflected the latest shifts. Using the Atomize RMS and its Autopilot function has solved this problem. The system takes live market changes such as search pressure and competitor rates into consideration when optimizing prices in real time.
“We used to lose time and revenue opportunities when we didn’t immediately catch a new trend. Now, Atomize automatically tracks live market developments and immediately adjusts the best rate for every situation. This saves us valuable time and helps us work towards our RevPAR and ADR goals more effectively. For example, when the travel restrictions for our region were lifted in June, we immediately saw an uptick in demand. Atomize reacted and adjusted our rates in time to make the most of this development from the start,” Pink says.
A tremendous increase in hotel revenue during the pandemic
This quick reaction to a sudden spike in demand made June 2021 the hotel’s best month this year by far. The Robin Hood also beat its competitors on several KPIs by a long shot. Their occupancy more than doubled from May to June in comparison with their competition.
The Robin Hood also managed to increase their ADR by around CAD 10 month over month and saw their RevPAR soar from just below CAD 30 in May to CAD 72.04 in June. Again, they significantly outperformed their competition which achieved RevPAR values between CAD 54.50 and CAD 65.78.
“With Atomize, we realized a $6 increase in RevPAR in July 2021, a revenue increase of 4%, compared to the same time pre-pandemic 2019.
For August 2021 we realized a $45 increase in RevPAR and a revenue increase of 34 % “General Manager, Sam Kirsch
It has also become easier for Robin Hood to better drive bookings for its higher room categories on targeted dates.
“With Atomize we can narrow down the rate changes to specific room types. That way we can make our higher room categories more attractive and generate more bookings for them. This allows us to maintain availability in our basic category rooms which we can use to yield when last-minute reservations come in,” Pink elaborates.
Ease of use and actionable insights to drive hotel revenue during the pandemic
Many legacy hotel technology systems have the reputation of having a steep learning curve and thus a low adoption rate among staff. Sam did not want this to be the case for his property’s RMS. When looking for a new solution, he wanted one that would be both comprehensive and easy to use. In Atomize, he found a tool that provides live market insights and rate suggestions in an easy-to-read and highly actionable format.
“Atomize is a straightforward tool that makes it very easy to optimize our rates according to demand. The tool is so user-friendly that the onboarding process could be completed very quickly, and we were able to start using it in no time at all. And whenever we have questions, the customer success team is eager to help and provide the needed guidance,” Sam elaborates.
An efficient solution for a lean hotel team
The staff reductions many businesses experienced in light of the pandemic forced many properties to work with leaner teams. As a mid-sized family-owned property, the Robin Hood’s staff has always had to wear multiple hats. Having the right tech tools at their disposal makes this much easier to handle.
“We have many different tasks every day, both on the operations and the commercial side of the business. It’s crucial for me that our tech tools help us complete our wide variety of work more efficiently and effectively. That’s one of the things I enjoy so much about using Atomize. It saves us several hours a week and provides us with live optimized pricing 24/7, it basically manages the heavy lifting for us” Sam says.
The Robin Hood’s team invests part of the time they save with Atomize into refining revenue management strategies and testing new approaches that will further boost their hotel revenue during the pandemic and beyond.
An ongoing focus on innovation and reinvention to drive hotel revenue during the pandemic and beyond
Since taking over at the Robin Hood, Sam has implemented several changes that drastically increased the property’s performance. They included adding a variety of new services, upgrading the facilities and offering a range of experiences that would guarantee guests have an unforgettable stay.
Sam was equally forward-thinking when upgrading the hotel’s tech stack. For example, today, the Robin Hood is one of the only properties in the area offering live chat via all major messaging platforms. Of course, their use of the Atomize RMS gives them another leg up on the competition, since it enables their property to be the first to adapt to emerging market trends.
However, Sam is far from done: “For us, implementing Atomize was only the first step. Being able to update our rates live according to new demand shifts is great. But we’re already looking forward to the many new developments Atomize has in the pipeline. This is another reason I enjoy working with this RMS. I appreciate that they’re always looking for a new way to help us maximize our results.”
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