By Sophie Gallet on November 20, 2014 at 5:36 PM
On November 18th, the Yield Academy held its first successful conference in San Francisco, CA. The Yield Academy is an educative program created by PriceMatch, our valuable partner and provider of an innovative Revenue Management tool for hoteliers. The goal of the Yield Academy is to democratize revenue management and help hotels learn more about this vital aspect of property management.
The conferences organized by the Yield Academy are great opportunities for hotels to stay up-to-date on revenue management best practices. Frontdesk Anywhere, SiteMinder, Revinate and Travelnuts sponsored the event in San Francisco.
The conference was the first of its kind in San Francisco and we are very proud to have been part of it!
The event was held to answer this burning question: How to Leverage a Profitable Revenue Management Strategy?
The speakers were:
Frank Okun, Founder and Owner at RevMax Pros
Barbara Pressman, General manager at the Maple Tree Inn, Sunnyvale, CA
Frank Okun has over 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Here are the 9 best practices on revenue management that Frank Okun covered:
#1 – Learn from the Past
The first best practice is to keep track of rate changes and to monitor how fast the guest rooms are sold. Analyzing past bookings enables the hotel to identify trends and extrapolate to forecast future booking volume. Breaking down revenue by market segment in your Excel sheets is also a key point. Lastly, keep in mind that the identified patterns are not applicable when large conventions take place. These high-requested periods require stricter restrictions.
#2 – Content Management
Over the past few years the popularity of review sites has grown exponentially and they are now key components of the traveler shopping behavior. Here are some precious best practices when it comes to content and review management:
- Do not hesitate to research what is said online about your property.
- Encourage guests to write reviews.
- Be creative when writing your property’s descriptions on review sites.
- Download high resolution and multiple pictures of the guest rooms and others spaces, with good lighting.
- Switch your Internet Booking Engine (IBE) if it doesn’t accept more than one picture for a guest room.
- Make your best to bring the content level up to 100% on websites like Booking.com.
#3 Promotion Management
When it comes to promotions with Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), you need to control your business, test and measure, focus on need dates and always match your promotions on your Internet Booking Engine. Control the OTAs, not the other way around. Regarding Flash Sites, be careful and do the math! And calculate what your Cost Per Occupied Room (CPOR) is.
Another important best practice to maximize your revenue is to define minimum stays, non-refundable policies and extended cancel policies. Moreover, managing by bucket rather than rate enables you to save time. For instance you can create a bucket to gather your corporate accounts and if you need to close corporate rates, you can do it in one time instead of closing the rates one by one. You can also use product restrictions that are about managing specific room types. You can for instance close all your suites in one time.
#5 Comp Set
First thing important to know: don’t blindly follow the competitors, what if they’re following you? You know better than the competitors your hotel, needs, history, social reviews, budget, image positioning, etc.
Monitoring the rates of the competitors is time consuming. Visiting their websites to get all their rates is an impossible mission and this is when a Revenue Management System (RMS) can help because the algorithm puts the competitors’ rates together.
#6 IBE Maximization
Your website with its Internet Booking Engine is a low cost channel. Consequently, don’t miss the opportunity to generate direct bookings. Here are ninja tips to maximize revenue through your IBE:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC).
Do not hesitate to challenge your webmaster. For instance ask for the keywords list and ask your webmaster to optimize the keywords for the search that travelers could type in search engines when for instance they want to attend an event that will occur in the city.
- TripAdvisor Business Listing.
This TripConnect feature enables hotels to add information on their profile like phone number, website and email. Do not hesitate to negotiate the price you pay for your business listing.
- Think twice before using TravelAds.
TripConnect is a good alternative to TravelAds because travelers can book via your website.
- Internet Booking Engine optimization.
Your IBE has to be user-friendly, mobile compatible and has to display various and beautiful pictures.
- Value added rates.
Avoid complex packages. They have to be easily understood by travelers and employees.
- Pre-Post auto-letters with offers & incentives.
Emails can help you up-selling: for instance if a guest made a reservation for a standard room and a suite is available, your system can automatically send an email with a special offer for this suite.
#7 Single Inventory Platform
Single Inventory Platform means that a Channel Manager is integrated into the Property Management System. A SIP considerably decreases the risk of underselling, overselling and rate parity issues. A two-way connection between your Property Management System and the Channel Manager is nowadays necessary. One of the main reasons is that it enables you to synchronize your availabilities on all OTAs in real time. You don’t need to manually update each channel.
Do not distribute your inventory online through too many Online Travel Agencies. You can focus on your top producers. Keep in mind that high volume enables you to negotiate lower commissions. Regarding promotions, don’t forget that you steer the ship, not them.
#9 RMS Systems
Revenue Managers are used to hear “we have to be better than last year”. Revenue Management Systems are shaping the future of revenue management. They help Revenue Managers to save time and work smartly and faster.
Tips from experts are always greatly appreciated, but there are also plenty of things you can learn from the experience of your fellow hoteliers. The conference continued with Barbara Pressman, General Manager at the Maple Tree Inn, Sunnyvale, CA, who shared her experience as a hotelier. Barbara Pressman has a very strong background in hospitality. She held various positions in different hotels until she became General Manager.
Hoteliers are very busy people and it can be extremely difficult to find the time to improve. The ecosystem and resources around you can help. For instance, if your hotel is based in the Silicon Valley, it’s a big opportunity to take advantage of technology. If you are located in a region where agriculture is predominant, you can for instance put local tasty apples on the front desk in the hotel lobby. Sometimes it’s important to pause, and try to look around you what can benefit the hotel, your clients and how your environment can contribute to the story and identity of your hotel.
The event ended with an exciting networking session during which attendees from the hospitality industry could meet and network with their peers from the Bay Area.
We would like to thank PriceMatch for organizing this first Yield Academy conference in San Francisco and the Galleria Park Hotel for providing a fantastic venue. We look forward to participating in the next event!
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