Webinar - Unlocking Profit with Technology-Driven Revenue Management
Hello everyone, we're going to begin in a minute, just waiting for everybody to join. I see that we have our two panellists already online. So perhaps I can begin by introducing myself my name is Savina and I'm a marketing and product strategist at Userguest, I'm a former account manager so some of you may know me from this role in the company. Today's webinar is going to focus on technology in revenue management and we hope to share with you a lot of useful insights. This webinar is part of our monthly webinar series: Userguest Revenue Booster so make sure to follow us on LinkedIn to find out the next dates for our next webinar.
Joining me today we have Annemarie who is a founder and CEO of Taktikon Consultancy - welcome Annemarie. We also have Ed who is a business development manager for the UK at Userguest - welcome Ed. Thanks Savina, appreciate it. So before we begin and dive into the topic I just wanted to let everyone know that you can ask questions in the Q&A section at the bottom of your Zoom webinar so feel free to drop the questions there at the end we'll also have Q&A session where you can also ask more questions. So let's dive in and maybe the best way to begin would be to give a little bit of background so Annemarie a question to you, what do you think would be, actually maybe before we begin with the questions it would be good to probably give a little bit of an overview of the company so that we can let a few more people join in... so for those who are not familiar with Taktikon consultancy do you want to give us just a brief overview of what you do what you're great at? Well we are Revenue management Specialists and with that of course comes like digital marketing and distribution strategies as well I think from tactical consultancy part with our main focus is on Revenue management Outsourcing where we can take over the revenue management role within the company we always do this in very close relationship to the hotels or any any of our customers it should feel as if we are part of the team the other thing is we do tax Tech audits which means that okay if you're not happy with your technology come to us and we can look at okay what technology would you need to be ready for the coming five years I should add actually that we started a soft brand called Taktikon Hotels this is for independent hotels who want to remain independent together with us we do this together with SHR and their excellent windsurfing technology the wind server technology perfect so yeah perfect participant for today's webinar where we're Bridging the Gap between technology and revenue and Ed perhaps you can also give us an overview a brief one for what the user gets does because some of our attendees may not be familiar with user guests as well yes well done thanks for being I think uh you you hit the nail on the head there with bridging hotels to the actual you know technology and Technology Revenue um so I think with UCS what we do is actually maximize their online performance so our solution uses a huge range of notifications to assist Revenue managers to assist uh GMS or or owners to actually make sure they are maximizing that Revenue but also not missing out on key opportunities as well so I've I have stolen this line from one of my colleagues but it is turning Lookers into Bookers which I absolutely love and uh yeah that's the the main purpose a user guest awesome yeah we'll definitely discuss some of the Technologies to use on the hotel website uh but before we do that maybe let's have a look at how technology has evolved recently so Annemarie in your opinion uh what were the biggest changes in recent years in Revenue management when it comes to technology used in in Revenue management well I think I mean it all started back in the day with IGS the cave is like especially chains a very good techno technology a revenue management system um they were Market leaders and they are still very very very very very good uh I think they're very chain oriented they got challenged by d Duetto uh who came in a few years ago and started to um Revenue Management on on room types uh that was a revolution at that time it's common practice for Revenue managers right now and I think what you see uh today is like a lot of very very very good Revenue Management systems such as yourselves but every one of them have like a different type of philosophy so they are just like independent hotels and I also have just like the possibility to to choose the technology that to choose a system that is just like best for them and I I think that has actually changed recently yeah definitely a lot of choice out there uh I think we can if you have to maybe choose some of the Technologies the must-have Technologies uh for Revenue management can you at least let's say the top three or five the hotels should have on their website or in internally with their teams uh well I think from my point of view of course a revenue management tool is is actually the most optimal for us it makes us much more intelligent it makes us much more uh much faster we can adapt our strategies much much faster and I always think that that should be in close relationship to a revenue manager so to the human intelligence behind it uh benchmarking reports are for Revenue management if you want to count that as technology but Ben we can't do without that we cannot measure the results of our strategies if we can't measure that with our markets so that's the SDR which is like in most of the of the of of of the world commonly known benchmarking Alliance you have also in in Scandinavia and the baltics and of course rate shopping tools yeah yeah absolutely and um Ed maybe a question to you uh what do you think are the challenges that Revenue marketing is facing right now that can be addressed with technology yeah sure great question well I would say I mean in terms of hotels the actual the sheer volume of data is increasing at such a rapid rate at the moment you know times are changing and hotels are having to uh adapt and more so than that is the the time and effort that uh you know all different members of staff are actually putting in to trying to gain insights um and I think that's where Revenue marketing automation kind of stands on its own that it's taken away from those repetitive tasks such as reporting such as data analytics and it's just allowing for um a little bit of wicked decision making and different incentives to to make sure those those Bookers are actually booking with you rather than just kind of missing out on seeing them in general yeah absolutely agree I think automation is definitely not only in Hospitality but it's definitely something that's on the rise and it just gives people uh opportunity maybe to focus on more on strategy and creativity rather than all these repetitive tasks that uh just waste waste your time um more time more time for a coffee as well right yeah absolutely so um I guess the question to both of you um I think we we want to provide some practical examples so are there any success stories uh that you can share with technology that has really improved Revenue management uh maybe for a hotel that you have managed Anne-Marie or add for you one of user guest clients that maybe achieved results with with the tool so Anne-Marie maybe you can go first I think you know in Practical examples um it's quite difficult always to do that because I mean a certain strategy might work for hotel a it doesn't work for hotel B we typically see that when we start working with Revenue management we can increase their their revenue with 20 or more and we love it when we have like start with a hotel that hasn't done anything with Revenue management um I think for us uh the the Practical example comes very much in from the fact that we we should work with it constantly small changes make very very big impact and just like following up on the strategies that we have done and as I said I think we see that we can do this in a much larger extent if we have technology behind it uh that makes us much stronger actually yeah absolutely and uh do you have any any examples for us with maybe a strategy or something that was implemented and what were the results uh from from those strategies yeah for sure I think like Emery is saying every hotel is so different and especially at U's guest and and my role in the UK we see so many different examples and each day I'm kind of learning of new initiatives I think these hotels are using with RMA and uh and just helping them towards that but one example that comes off the top of my head is so we had a hotel that was actually based uh near a military base um and essentially with them they were they were getting uh loyal customers but they weren't really tracking that they didn't really realize so you know the reception staff were recognizing people and trying to uh you know to uh remember I suppose faces and names and do all that but they weren't giving out any loyalty programs or there wasn't incentives for them to to keep coming back and that's what we've uh managed to do with this hotel is by just using simple promo codes or saying you know welcome back um and putting that on the website it's making sure that that hotel is now renowned with the actual Air Base itself so if any visitors are coming that's where they're going to stay this is the main hotel and word gets around and then I think on top of that by having a nice website that's easy to book and you see the promo code there it just gives a nice personalized message to them and they were booking and we've seen huge success so now their actual Market itself has raised 39 and it's just growing so yeah we're very very happy with that yeah that's a that's a great example I think it also showcases I guess it goes beyond Revenue management a little bit also into marketing so also Bridging the Gap between those two teams uh so managing Revenue but also advertising the right offers all rates on the on the hotel website um yeah and I know that in our previous discussions with you Anne-Marie we discussed a little bit some of the importance of Market segmentation um what is the role that the market segmentation plays in Revenue management well I think you know Market segmentation we've been using mostly because we have not have the chance to work with like personas and we see that um this is this is um much more our way to uh to work with Revenue management so yes adapting your strategy to Market segmentations is quite nice adapting it to Persona so also personalize your pricing personalize your strategies that actually is much better so for our hotels we work a lot with like personas try to identify now who is going to you know so not only just like talking about Leisure markets or the the Leisure groups or uh because that is just like way too little information for us um so that is I think Market segmentation for us is I think it's it's it started to become a bit old-fashioned are there any um maybe any tools that you use that would be kind of a one fit all solution or you do use different ones when it comes to let's say bigger hotel chains or small luxury hotels for example we use different tools we always work in the technology given by us by our credit To Us by our clients we Love Actually this uh thing that you you do which which is very closely to to what we think is going to happen now so personalized Revenue management or what do you call it rev marketing automation right um so yeah no it's it's it's it's it's it's actually we we haven't really found the technology that does it for for for us uh other than other than yours maybe but we do look at personas in you know in our pricing strategies much better much much more to a much larger extent sorry and uh it in your opinion uh we already mentioned the Rev marketing automation could you give us a brief overview of uh what that is I'm sure that some of our people attending or listening to this webinar recording are not familiar with the concept so it would be good to introduce yeah so I think uh yeah actually in terms of Revenue marketing automation itself it is very kind of simply put um using different insights and different data to to match that inventory to what we're looking for so um it's usually with the inventory it's it's hard to see where that people are actually booking and and where we're going with that but I I think by actually using tailor marketing strategies and doing automating that process and segmenting customers and like Emery was saying personalized campaigns uh definitely the the main way to go and we're finding that as well so delivering those targeted messages to each segment um just really helps those those marketing efforts in general perfect thank you Ed and uh Anne-Marie what would you say is the future of Revenue management uh when we're talking in the context of Technology Revenue management is much broader right now so I think total revenue management we've been talking about this for years and finally we are getting just like uh some technology that is going to help us um and I think from a revenue management perspective we've been we've been waiting for that for years uh it's still a bit of a way to go because we really need to have to track the information about every guest uh to a much larger extent but it's coming uh I see that Revenue management also moves very much more into digital marketeers um part of our distribution strategy is understanding digital marketing and for that I think we need to understand also the billboard effect so the the broadness of the uh channels that we can use so not only the OTAs they are part of our billboard effect they are part of the the fact that that people notices us as a hotel and starts to look at maybe our website but also other social media use of that TripAdvisor I think we're much more involved in that and I see also uh I mean we've been working with FMB Revenue management and Spa Revenue management and we see that this Market is also just like looking much closer into Revenue management so we're getting much more uh projects in that direction as well so that's exciting news for us yeah that sounds very exciting indeed and Ed what would you say is the future of technology in Hospitality or Revenue management or both yeah yeah absolutely I think uh just to kind of Bring It On to um onto Revenue management first of all I think the future is bright I think it is going the the right way in in general I think people are being very kind of surprised by the capabilities I mean it's a bit of a personal Joy of mine as when uh I'm I'm telling people about these like different campaigns and what they can do and how they can do it is it you know just their brain explodes and thinks oh what can I do now can I do this can I do that which is great to see um but in terms of actually the the effectiveness of uh how how people are using it I think you know again it's it's down to that time saving so it's all about say if you're doing lead generation lead scoring email marketing campaigns or just general promotions um it's that that time saving tool that they can use and it is just nice and effective for them and they don't need to say painlessly go through our Excel sheets or bits like this it can just automate and and take over so yeah like I was saying I think the future is bright I think it's moving at such a rapid Pace uh that uh yeah it's it's just good to see you know I'm thinking we are just like 20 minutes out I'm talking to technology providers and I haven't heard the word artificial intelligence and I thank you for that [Laughter] yeah I'm like this I'm trying to not well now that you mentioned it on Marie what is your take on the artificial intelligence I think it's it's brilliant I mean I I noticed a lot of people are quite afraid of it it's like these artificial intelligence taking over from us humans and I think uh art artificial intelligence is making us much much better not only within the hotel industry but it it can save lives if it if if it should if we can use it right but I think this this this being afraid of artificial intelligence taking off from us humans we need to understand that these are machines they don't have a private life they don't fall in love they have they haven't they don't have the concept of of knowing what what it is to like something or to like somebody uh they don't even have the possibility to understand what a what a child's a human child can understand like you have a glass of water you drop it The Water the the glass breaks and the water spills out that is that simple con concept is something that artificial intelligence is never being able to do so there are things that we always need us humans for but I think we should embrace it I think it's it's it's it's it's it's it's it's it's brilliant tools and I think we should just like follow follow the technology I I think that's so true I think it's the mix of the two isn't it it's like a perfect mix and I um I've seen a one recently where it's it's all about checking in different check-in tools and there was the argument of saying well do we need receptionists do we not can we just automate this system and just make it completely automated and I think that's an ongoing discussion and the kind of the mix of the two like you said using both is is always interesting I think so you see I mean in in a in a time where we see that we have a lack of personnel we have we we don't have the hands to just like deliver the service actually I think this artificial intelligence actually can help us to be much more effective uh give the service that that we want to our to our guests but then you know in a much better way great I think at the moment also at least in the hospitality I think we're seeing more automation than actual um artificial intelligence per se or it is used artificial intelligence is used at the back end to automate certain like in our case in user guests we are collecting data it is being artificial intelligence is being used to process some of some of these data points um but I think in in more practical terms for hoteliers Revenue managers marketeers maybe not marketeers to that extent it's uh I think it's still mostly used for automation I guess for marketeers I mean we all know chat GPT everyone's using it to create copy these days um so it's definitely helping and thankfully not as intelligent as to take over which is I guess to the broader discussion no I think let me tell you I I've asked chat DBT write an article about Anna Maria bonski and knowing that I'm the only Anna Maria bonski in the world actually he thought that I wrote a written books about feel good uh and I'm really not much into that so GPT in all honors but then honestly you shouldn't always listen to him change yeah if we can give a practical advice I guess about chat GPT is definitely uh double check the information that it provides because it's not absolutely fully accurate um you know talking about practical advices uh what would be let's say your top two three tips that you have for hoteliers when it comes to revenue management right now with the rise of Technology AI or just for Revenue Management in particular especially now coming into High season for the European markets what would be your advice for them um I think one of the top advices I can give three tips much more to give but then I think the top three tips is one of them is that we see also with moving over to total revenue management we see that there's a collaboration between room revenue and ancillary Revenue which usually is like the same percentage so that that differs from hotel to hotel uh some of our hotels we see that they have I don't know 40 room Revenue 60 ancillary Revenue which makes them that total revenue management and that is called a collaborated so if we increase our rates we see that also this percentage just like remains so the ancillary Revenue the revenue spent on site is also more um and I think that for hoteliers that are here on this webinar try to find this collaboration for your specific Hotel especially if you have much more than only room and breakfast to offer that can be quite extensive and that also means that if you decrease your rate you might just like get more um more guests in your house but it also just like means that you get guests that spend less in your house so you take you should take that into your into calculation yeah I suppose especially for High season yeah maybe lowering the rate would not be the best solution no I mean I'm I'm not against lowering rates sometimes it just sometimes we just need the volume uh but yes we we have to understand that the the the personas or the guests that we are getting is more usually the ones that that might not spend that much as the the the the not so very price sensitive Market you can say I think uh number two is going into digital marketing and as I said before also um you need to understand your billboard effects and you can understand uh if you have a good billboard effect just like that's like um Google on your own hotel name or your brand name if the OTAs are bidding on you you know that there are many people just like looking at your hotel site because I mean we know a lot of things about the lgas we know they're not stupid but it also means that we can do that with them we we need to use like TripAdvisor Google but also our social media to just like see what is our billboard effect how how are we being found and are we being found only on all these channels and how can we use that and I think uh well the third one I think it's it's common practice within Revenue management Revenue management so I think the revenue managers looking at this is like going and John but I think the price point per room type is very important so uh sometimes it there needs to be like a larger gap between one room type and the other depending on the lead time we see for a lot of hotels that the less price sensitive Market books quite long in advance after that we have like a little bit of a prize War for the remaining room types and then we have like very short lead times again this not surprise sensitive um uh guess so we need to have the right price point per room type and that means that we the collaboration between lead time and and per shop of the personas booking at that at that moment are very important to track yeah if I may add to that as well I think having the different price points per room category and also finding the right as you mentioned persona for the right category this is actually something that weird user guests do we can navigate users directly to a room category which is which is great especially when occupancy is high in High season so we do have special notifications that are let's say specific for when your occupancy is above 70 percent for example which high occupancy varies from hotel to hotel but let's say on average let's say 70 so we are able for those dates with 70 occupancy to direct people to a higher room category which is I think something very exciting for hoteliers and for those of you who are not familiar with the two I encourage a free demo just so that you can you can see how how this works is that I think a lot of people just don't realize that so you're actually missing out on opportunities so a lot of the people that do do our free trial always find that which is exciting so they're going I can't believe I missed this before right it's because they just didn't know about it so that's the thing it's just opening up uh different say GMS or Revenue manager or owners eyes to the actual potential of what they can do but also with that time saving and making sure that they're not spending too much time on it and especially after you have spent all the money on marketing if they have applied your tip and Marie to actually have the billboard effect and to to be visible and for people to be able to find them it's then important how do you translate those as as you said at Lucas into Booker so it's always having the right offer displayed on the on the hotel website visible and easy to find so user experience is quite important um and Ed what would be your uh top let's say three tips for for hoteliers now for high things then maybe if we want to make it more specific more UK based yeah and stop tips I would say uh number one would definitely be investing in guest loyalty right so um especially during High season in in the UK somewhere say like the Lake District um there's a lot of uh tourists and that that comes in and there's going to be a lot of new tourism but it's also about remembering those old guests that are returning so what are you doing to make sure that they feel special that uh they feel like they want to come back each year that they're going to tell their friends about your hotel as well so that's always important look after your your you know your customer base and also with that and Anne-Marie touched it on earlier um becomes good reviews right so if someone's leaving a TripAdvisor review you think well that's fantastic because a lot of people do use say programs like TripAdvisor to to look into the the state of the hotel but it's also one of the things and it's one things that we do a user guest is you can use that TripAdvisor score and plant it onto your hotel website so again it's just creating that reassurance for Bookers I keep coming back and new book is um I suppose on my my second point I would say is all about upselling opportunities so um people do want to spend money especially me on pina coladas when I'm in the Caribbean so that's always important is upselling opportunities so are there excursions that you could advertise are there different you know opportunities where it's um like a nice breakfast a spa package that you can upsell and I think that's a very important thing to do is use those packages but make sure you're actually advertising them as well right so make sure they are at the the Forefront in in people's minds um and it leads me on to my my third point there is something that I think is extremely important and I know obviously all the the used guest team do as well it's just optimizing the hotel website for those direct bookings so Anne-Marie actually did touch on it earlier of the importance of OTAs we're not saying that they're not important ota's are extremely important to use if I'm on booking.com and then I think okay I'll click on this website I go over to the website and
it's just not looking great and it's not looking appealing you know am I gonna book most likely not right so it's making sure that they are that the the website is optimized that it is user friendly as well and just making it nice and clear and compelling so that people can book much easier um and again that's that's what we always use is those clear notifications that people could book in and just make the the process nice and smooth so yeah optimizing your hotel website number number one I would say really yeah absolutely if you want to generate direct bookings it's the it's a must I mean there are there is also so much information nowadays with the let's say top five things that you need to do so your website being mobile friendly having a very easy seamless booking process they recommend up to three steps uh so not really confusing people with different options and steps so making it as fast as possible this is also something that we try to do really make this process as fast as possible you the person lands on the website they find exactly the right offer that is personalized for them uh and then just completing that reservation is as fast as they they can also just uh sorry just finally add to that is uh and we did touch on earlier with OTA fees okay so you know every time without a doubt when I speak to hotels on a daily basis they talk about OTA days and spending all this money and and what's the the return so although we do know the importance of it it's can we actually eliminate those OTA fees a little bit so that we can make sure people are booking directly through you you know one one thing I think is yes having them booked directly through you and and decrease your your distribution costs I think the other thing is also if we're talking about personalization which is like one of the buzzwords for us at this moment I think it is very important that we have a direct contact with our guests and this is the best if they book directly with us because we have all their contact details and we can ask them what do you like how can we make your visits uh as personalized as possible so I think that is also one of the things that that is very important when it comes to the direct booking uh topic yeah I agree and then it just creates that loyalty doesn't it again so and that's where you want yeah you want the Bookers to keep coming back sure yeah well that was that has been a wonderful you have anything else that you would like to add for hotelier something that is um a best practice a tip or anything that we might have missed in our discussion today I don't know but I've learned a lot from Anne-Marie myself we have Revenue management courses which take like a whole year intensive courses I mean of course I mean we cannot really have cover everything but I to me I think we we cover the most important things but I get afraid but if we didn't get any questions from from the audience so uh I believe we don't have questions uh so far so everyone uh this is your moment if you do want to ask anything and Marie who is a specialist in Revenue manager management or Ed who can give you a lot of practical advice also how to use our Tool uh please feel free to drop them in the chat below um otherwise I think just to to summarize as Ed said the future is bright so we are seeing a lot of new technologies uh making our lives easier making hoteliers like lives easier more time for coffee and creativity and strategy uh so that is exciting to see uh we're all going to be you know paying attention to how AI is evolving and influencing our decision making uh but in general I think we do see a great automations and who are helping you both with Revenue but also with the with your marketing efforts so it's very important to be able to get those direct bookings as we said before um I don't think I don't see any questions coming in uh but everybody uh you can uh feel free to email us with any questions that might come up uh later on uh for everyone attending you will also receive uh recording of This webinar so feel free to share it with the colleagues or anyone who might be interested and be please feel free to follow us on LinkedIn both tactical consultancy and user guest we make sure to share a lot of useful tips for you and a lot of useful information that we hope can help you with your Revenue management um so I think that's all from us thank you so much for being here and Marie and thank you thank you for having me it was a pleasure thank you yeah thank you yeah it was good fun thanks very much thank you thanks everyone and have a lovely day thank you bye-bye bye