I’ve been across so many articles on revenue management taking a back seat for a while as sales and marketing become the leading commercial department / service. It got me thinking about where reservations management and customer service comes into play?
In this new COVID-19 era, there has never been a more pertinent time to apply a holistic business strategy to ensure you are maximising the potential of all commercial components of your business.
Let’s start with Revenue Management
This is an imperative time for Revenue Management (RM). RM isn’t only about pricing and forecasting demand by market mix, it's about strategic planning and incremental revenue development. Equally important is your ability to analyse data, review inventory and room type configuration, look for new audiences, work hand in hand with your Reservations Manager to segment what type of business is coming to the hotel directly and lead strategies and procedures that boost visibility, drive demand and build connections across all available market segments.
Your hotel pricing strategy will need to be reviewed and I’m certainly not one to offer blanket advice on whether you should ‘hold rate’ OR ‘dump rate’. This will depend on your location, product, period of time, day of week, competitors and business mix.
My only message is don't dilute revenue by dumping your rate in an era where there is no market.
I can see shifts in how we segment our business as we dissect the leisure and corporate segments.
Accurate data entry and collection is pivotal during this period of time; a daily task for your Reservations or Revenue Manager.
As we see a shift for the larger brands steering towards central reservations environments, this department is key. The reservations team are the ones given the chance to turn the enquiry into the sale. Set the scene for them, empower them, promote positively in this environment and please thank them at the end of every day. They are an initial touch point.
This is the time to deep dive into customer’s needs and wants and take a closer look into PMS segmentation reporting to ensure it’s aligned with new business segments and new cancellation and turn away codes.
We all know the benefits of commission free, direct reservations – are your team driven to convert the enquiry into a sale?
One of my bugbears over the years, particularly in hotels, was not being able to accommodate families. I would chair yield / REVMAX meetings and passionately tell the GM "I’m turning away SO much business via this market as the only way to accommodate a family of four is to sell them two rooms!" Now the industry needs them – the business we’ve continued to turn away for years. No wonder JAYCO and BIG4 Caravan Park are profiting RIGHT NOW.
Perhaps it’s time to revisit your inventory and child policy in order to accommodate them?
How many of us are going to be missing our international holidays? So, who’s going to create some international destination escapes within their hotel? Maybe connect with event companies and bring that exclusive experience to your hotel.
Now is the time to build strategies that will prepare you for when travel fully rebounds and position your property for recovery and longevity.
And yes it’s certainly time for Sales & Marketing
It’s not only essential to be implementing newly developed government enforced standards surrounding health and safety; but also knowing how to develop content and messaging that helps your business build trust and loyalty with guests and potential new customers.
At this point of time it’s about building a profile that reflects your operational policies, procedures and practises surrounding health, hygiene and safety, and steering you on the road to securing new business.
How are you communicating your sanitation and safety practices to your guests and where?
What promotions and packages do you have in place to attract locals and the drive market?
What outreach and engagement strategies do you have in place for past guests to inspire them to return to your property?
Reputation Management is more critical now than ever before, how are you communicating to your guests to make them feel safe to travel now.
How are your competitors responding to COVID-19?
The market’s going to be competitive, especially CBD locations.
What will your point of difference be?
Do you have updated video and photography promoting your property to drive SEO?