Author: Olga Sommer, Award Winning Hotelier, WHTT Mentor, Revenue HACKS Host
The World around us is changing and so is our focus as revenue managers in hospitality! Due to the significant loss of base business as a result of the coronavuris and the lockdown, Revenue Management, in the short-term, will be more about revenue generation rather than optimisation.
During the last two episodes of Revenue Hacks the panel and guest speakers (Karla Brooklyn, Global VP, Enterprise at SiteMinder, and Fiona Reece, owner of Travel Tonic PR) dived into the leisure, domestic and business markets and ways to make the best of current opportunities.
Many countries in the EU have already reopened or are in the process of reopening. In the UK some parts of hospitality may re-open in July. Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality offered a very good overview and more detailed information on this announcement and help through the lockdown as well as restart programme.
It is expected that short drive leisure domestic travel will be the first to bounce back. If you have not invested your time and effort on staycations, then now is the time to do so. The rise of staycations has been reported in the UK and the same trend is continuing across the EU region.
Here are key takeaways we would like to share with you for the leisure and domestic markets:
Define the product, services and experiences. Be clear about your Unique Selling Points (USP) and target audience. Unique memorable experiences will be the key drivers to generate revenue in your property.
Translate your USPs to a wider audience through the right content and messaging, this includes, but not limited to inspirational images, videos, blogs, articles etc. One of the main concerns will be travellers' safety, so we suggest to include this topic in your messaging. Any protocol, health and safety awards or certificates which you can highlight will be important and should be communicated.
Use all channels available to you to reach your audience: emails, website, Online Travel Agencies, partners website and database. Do not neglect opportunities with pre-stay emails for upgrade and upsell. 85% of guests are willing to spend money to enhance their stay. Post-stay emails and feedback is a great opportunity to grow your loyalty scheme and gain direct business, which is more profitable in the long run.
4. Use Media, PR & Marketing to create a buzz about your property and create interest to drive traffic to your website. One of the best ways to achieve this is by creating inspiring packages. Do not forget that PR needs something different to write about. Make sure you stand out from the crowd. We are all looking for something positive and something to look forward to.
5. Be open for new collaborations and partnerships. If you are not yet working with travel and tourism boards, then now is the time to do so. This will offer opportunities to reach a wider audience.
Watch Revenue HACKS Episode 4 to learn more about business travel insights
6. Team up with local businesses, linking your packages to experiences in the local area including attractions, activities, gastronomic experiences etc. This will make your PR & Marketing campaigns much more interesting.
7.Explore opportunities to create new revenue streams in the current conditions. Have you considered renting out the entire property for a small intimate wedding? Change your restaurant model to take away? Interestingly restaurants catering for takeaway now are achieving greater revenue than before (remember supply and demand diagram?) Could you place your small hotel gym on a booking platform for 45 min individual sessions? Be open-minded and creative, we have been given an opportunity to do something different, outside of the norm.
8. Pricing. Places with low population density will be popular to visit. Hotels in the remote locations are perfect for weekends away and staycations, however, properties in the city centres may be trickier. Regardless of the location, keep a close eye on hotel pricing and be quick to respond to the market. Keep in mind that price elasticity is very different from pre-lockdown times.
For city-centre hotels, business travel will remain a key market and it is the reason we decided to explore this area in more detail, as well as revealing what you can do now to take a full advantage of this opportunity.
GDS platforms, which have been hit by the large scale grounding of planes and international lockdowns, are going through a huge transformation. But let’s not forget that 1 in 4 people will book their accommodation through GDS, making it a key opportunity for hotels to explore.
Having discussed this with Karla Brooklyn from SiteMinder, below is a list of actions you should take now:
Review your GDS content. Make sure that it reflects your latest changes in the hotel's policies.
Make sure that your listing includes local attractions, museums, places of interest. The same as Google, it will push your property on top of the search.
Ensure that corporate rates are visible and bookable. Reach out to your key partners to double-check it is the case.
Be prepared for corporate rate negotiations. Our panel has confirmed that hotels are still receiving RFPs from new corporate accounts as well as renegotiating current rates. Pricing remains a hot topic. Try to entice corporate consumers with greater value adds. Car-parking inclusions are more attractive than in the pre-lockdown period, as suggested by Karla. Blackout dates, restrictions and other yielding mechanisms are still relevant when discussing revenue maximization, however, blackout dates may be replaced with event dates increasing hotel visibility even during high demand periods.
Limited availability for corporate or government rates as well as rate parity issues have been a hot topic for several years, leading to a consumer lack of trust, in this case, corporate clients. Karla shared that we are seeing a growing trend of corporate rates moving towards a percentage of discount off best available rates in line with consortia rates.
Rethink M&E space and review your breakfast settings in line with government guidelines, work together with commercial and operational teams.
We hope this information offers some insights and ideas on how to approach these important markets.
Watch episode 4&5 of Revenue HACKS to learn more from our hosts