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Enterprise System Pitfalls: Summary
Today I’m wrapping up a series of posts on the broad topic of Enterprise System Pitfalls. In this series, my hope was to help shed light on the primary problems that cause us to miss budgets, fall short on capabilities, or completely fail when implementing an enterprise system. 

The Year in Review
As 2019 comes to a close, it’s time to count our blessings. One of mine has been the privilege (and fun!) of being able to reach out to so many interesting companies and get them to tell me what they’re doing that’s different, disruptive, and game-changing. The list of things I have to write about in future columns has only gotten longer in the nine months since I started writing this column.

Sustainable Innovation
Sustainability can yield multiple benefits to hotels. Saving energy and water yields direct cost savings. Revenue can be generated by guests who prefer to deal with businesses that minimize their environmental impact. And many would argue that conserving scarce resources is simply the right thing to do.

Meetings Innovation
The sale and delivery of groups and meetings is perhaps the most significant and under-automated functions for many hotels. Even though groups often account for 30% to 60% of revenue, most group bookings are still handled manually for most if not all of steps, as they move from a meeting planner’s research to a confirmed booking.

The biggest enemy to any system is complexity. In a system of inputs and outputs, such as an enterprise system, more complexity means more parts are used in interaction with inputs to create the outputs. Every part that must be built and maintained costs time and money

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The Democratization of Sophistication: Revenue Management Tools Serving Mid-market Needs

by Josh Winograd

Traditionally an underserved market, mid-market hoteliers are being provided with out-of-the-box solutions to compare and analyze data in a manner that optimizes available resources.

When it comes to revenue management, size matters. Historically, it has anyway. The old adage, “it takes money to make money” has held true in the hospitality industry, particularly for larger, high-guest traffic hotels that have run the show by implementing complex revenue management platforms; once unobtainable by smaller properties with less resources at their disposal. With big properties shaping the demand for such solutions, revenue management’s technology landscape has consequently been shaped by hoteliers accustomed to sold out nights and being able to leverage an array of analytical resources. While commonly designed to maximize the best yield, such platforms focus on minimizing room availability for lower paying guests; a highly effective strategy in boosting revenue for larger, busier properties that sell out frequently. Tools catering to this aspect can be complex, designed for large-scale properties who typically employ experts dedicated to understanding the many intricacies of revenue management. To the mid-market hotelier who is short of time and may more realistically sell out one night in 10, this approach simply does not make good business sense.

For years, the sum of these factors has meant that the mid-market segment has been poorly served by revenue management systems. Times are changing and new technology solutions are changing the game by allowing mid-market properties and independents to match the capabilities of much larger and better-funded competitors.

With the myriad and constantly shifting forces that drive hotel RevPAR trends, boosting revenue and maximizing competitive advantage through effective revenue management strategies is definitely not for the faint of heart. With the advent of big data, hotels of all scales have gained some ground in their ability to develop a dynamic revenue management strategy that takes a wider range of market-specific data into account. Yet until recently, the tools that translate such vital and relevant information into actionable reports, have predominately been tailored to the needs of the large hotel chains and full-service resorts with multiple revenue streams.

Traditionally an underserved, yet substantially large segment of the global hospitality market, mid-market hoteliers are finally being provided with the business intelligence needed to compare and analyze data in a manner that optimizes available resources. Able to implement a revenue management strategy that emphasizes competitor rates over yield management, these properties are able to take advantage of a new landscape that stresses the growing presence of out-of-the-box solutions.

Backed by the power of the flag, these properties have the luxury of being able to implement best-of-breed solutions. Yet even for franchisee hoteliers who typically rely on their flag to supply technology, the ability to choose a platform or at least decide how it is implemented, can be critical as not all hotel market environments are created equal; often demanding a unique focus of a particular kind of data versus another. Such hotels therefore also carry their own unique set of nuances; a factor that heavily lends industry-wide favor towards greater customization in what tools are selected and what specific data is analyzed.

The hospitality industry as a whole therefore is now discovering and benefitting from affordable out-of-the box solutions, yet midscale and independent hoteliers in particular are profiting from applications that allow them to pick and choose the data most relevant to their needs  and in a way that conforms to tighter budget constraints. With fewer resources available to be directed at revenue management efforts, many midscale hoteliers understandably focus on comprehending what is happening in their own market, how competitors are behaving and how it compares to their own activities, performance and goals. The relatively rare occurrence of being sold out increases the importance of competitor rates within this market segment’s revenue management process. Rate shopping has consequently become a focal feature of many a mid-market hotelier’s revenue management efforts; allowing them to drive a strategy that is appropriate to not only their property’s market position but that of their competitors. With the ability to gain a quick, yet insightful snapshot of a hotel’s standing within its immediate market, mid-market hoteliers are vitally transforming the way they optimize revenue growth; with rate-shopping now serving as the core of basic decision-making and automation.

Once in place, such hoteliers soon discover the benefits of filling a critical informational void. Midscale properties equipped with an appropriate revenue management platform can significantly benefit from the ability to effortlessly filter and view information in a way that maximizes results while saving scarce time, resources, and the need for extensive knowledge. Presenting strapped-for-time hoteliers with a user-friendly interface that does not require a software support team, mid-market properties can likewise instantly implement the most competitive price, or ensure that the best rate for their own property consistently appears on all channels.
By virtue of its newfound cost-effectiveness and ability to be interpreted without the use of time-consuming algorithms, the changing accessibility of revenue management is ultimately providing hoteliers of all backgrounds with choice and flexibility in obtaining vital data when, where and how they want it. Platforms that for all intents and purposes have fostered a democratization of sophistication within the industry. The result has been a game changer in how lower market hoteliers gather data that is critical in maintaining a competitive edge and securing financial success.

About The Author
Josh Winograd
Managing Director
revcaster by Rainmaker

 Josh Winograd is the managing director of revcaster by Rainmaker.

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