It is an undeniable fact that in recent years there has been a great advance not only in the development of IT tools for hotels, but also in the hotel industry’s awareness of the need for software to help optimise the business.
In this context, let’s remember the importance of implementing technology for the evolution of the Revenue Manager’s role and the improvement of the hotel’s results. Coordination between the technological tools and the revenue management team is fundamental to the success of the business.
There is no global software that can manage all the details we need to control in a property, but rather each supplier has specialised in a specific task or group of tasks. This means that hotels work with many different systems, and these need to share information, creating a well-integrated ecosystem.
In this tangle of IT tools, how can we decide which are the best options for my type of business?
The Strategic Approach
As we know, Revenue Management is a diverse discipline: it is not only about correct or dynamic pricing, but also about brand image, distribution strategy, demand shifting, forecasting, segmentation, quality and reputation, etc.
And, as stated earlier, there is no unique solution on the market that can solve all aspects. So the first step in deciding which tools to use is to think strategically and set the objectives we want to achieve.
Based on these objectives, you should determine your priorities and from there look for the optimal combination of software, seeking efficiency not only in costs but also in operations. You need to build your technology stack to suit your market environment, the size of your business, your marketing tactics, your competitors and the distribution channels you want to work with.
In short: decide what are the most accurate performance indicators for your business, then define your objectives for each of them and develop a plan on how to get the results you want.
The Optimal Tech Stack
Automation will be an essential factor in achieving excellence in Revenue Management processes, aimed at optimising business results. The development of Big Data and artificial intelligence technology allows access to multiple data sources and their efficient processing. This provides a very deep reading of the context in which the business is located.
Working with tools that provide an advanced, dynamic and intuitive visualisation of the information is key to be able to combine the tactical work and the strategic approach of revenue management.
Once you have established your goals, you need to know what tools are available in the market that will allow you to better and more effectively achieve them. From our perspective, there are some basic tools that we consider essential to any hotel business, starting with the Property Management System (PMS) as the main tool for daily operations and performance data collection. From there you will need some tools to make your product available to the final customer, such as the Booking Engine, that allows the guest to book a room on your own website, and the Channel Manager, that helps you distribute your product in the different sales channels. Icing the basic ecosystem cake of the basic ecosystem, you will need a Revenue Management System that helps analysing internal and external data for an optimal decision making in your pricing and distribution.
In addition to this basic stack, there are countless tools that can deliver high returns in terms of reduced operational workload and improved decision making. These include Rate Shopper, Online Reputation Manager or Benchmarking tools, and others that will help you to optimise your total revenue, such as upselling and cross selling solutions, or to improve your guest experience, such as chatbots, communication apps, and many others.
Deciding which tools you need and choosing the right provider in each case will certainly depend on your priorities and objectives. But also, you should not overlook the importance of system integrations: one of the key challenges for hotels to benefit from proper RMS software is the need to provide their transactional data to the RMS provider. This is normally done by integrating the hotel PMS with the vendor RMS and providing the reservations data on a daily basis, so you need to make sure the integration is guaranteed between the software you are choosing.