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Group Bookings Boost Hotel Revenue and Profitability

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October 21, 2019
Branded Content
Fran Worrall

Groundbreaking Oracle Hospitality Integration Platform combines a single integration point, deep integrations and tight security.

In the ongoing search to increase profi tability, many properties focus so intently on guest room revenue that they often miss other high-value opportunities, namely group business, which can range from board meetings and receptions to exhibitions and conferences. Yet, event business can play an enormous role in a hotel’s success and bottom line.

“It’s all about total revenue optimization, which is more than just guest rooms,” says Tanya Pratt, vice president of product management for Oracle Hospitality’s OPERA Cloud. “Function space represents an enormous revenue opportunity. It’s already there, and it’s often underutilized. Potential for additional incremental revenue can be significant.”

However, Pratt admits that securing group and event business is not without challenges. Following are three of the biggest:

1. Guests are more demanding. Expectations have changed, and not only among younger customers. “Millennials certainly have diff erent expectations than previous generations, but even older long-term guests are becoming more demanding,” she says. “Today, everyone wants instant results.”

2. Requests have skyrocketed. As soon as information went online, it became accessible by everyone. “Hotels that previously received a dozen or so group requests a week started receiving hundreds,” Pratt says, adding that it’s impossible for most hotels to sort through them effi ciently.

3. Competition has increased. A variety of alternative spaces, such as social clubs, restaurants and even offi ce facilities like WeWork, increasingly market their venues to event planners. “Hotels are competing not only with each other but with all sorts of nontraditional providers,” she says.

Yet, despite these challenges, properties can become more successful at hosting group business, and it begins with the right technology, Pratt says. The OPERA Sales and Event Management solution is a comprehensive application built on Oracle’s next-generation cloud platform. The solution includes an intuitive user interface, web services integration and userdefi ned dashboards. It also features multi-language and multicurrency capabilities, single- and multi-property capabilities and international coverage as well as event templates, customizable proposals and contracts, and 50 out-of-the-box reports.

The advantages of the solution are numerous, beginning with mobility. The OPERA Sales and Event Management application can run on mobile devices using a variety of bandwidth and connection options without the need for VPN or dedicated connections. “Sales staff are no longer tethered to their desks,” she says. “They can take the solution to off -site customer visits, or they can roam the property with customers during site inspections, checking inventory availability and making changes to bookings in real time.”

Another benefit is full integration with Oracle’s OPERA Cloud property management system and Oracle Sales Cloud, so that every department views the same information. “With standalone systems, staff are constantly passing fi le folders back and forth,” Pratt says. “With our integrated solution, you have data integrity at all touch points.” Moreover, the application integrates with both Outlook and Gmail, which allows notes taken on mobile phones to go into the system.

The application also uses artificial intelligence to sort through requests and prioritize leads. “Using AI provides a more effi cient workflow and helps sales reps contact more customers and close more deals.”

Still another advantage is cloud delivery. “Upfront investments in hardware and software are much less for cloud-based solutions than for onpremise systems, and ongoing maintenance and operations costs are also significantly reduced,” she says.

Oracle offers two versions of the OPERA Sales and Event Management solution. The standard version, released in March, is ideal for small-to-mid-sized properties with a few meeting spaces; the premium version, which focuses on the more complex requirements of larger properties, is expected next year. “Regardless of the property size, sales staff now have more to do in less time, so we want to make sure their tools are fi netuned and effi cient,” Pratt concludes. “With our technology, hotels can streamline operations between departments and take control of all aspects of group sales to maximize revenue and increase profitability.”

©2019 Hospitality Upgrade 
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