by Alan Campbell, Featured Contributor
The End-Year has started and the budgets are in, well they should be. The marketing forecast has been studied and the experts have voiced their opinion. Moderate to slow growth for the remainder of 2013. The luxury class fared somewhat better. The crisis struck, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and only time will tell what else, election, as said now the national debt and ramifications (stock market). Government shutdown. The oil prices get higher and travelers decrease. Uncertainty strikes again just when you thought it was safe to go back. Makes you wonder what is next on the list of things that can happen. Here is hoping that things go along smoothly and the industry progresses along the projected road to recovery. The recovery boils down to those properties that have a good revenue management system in place, not just software and be done, I mean a live human being that will watch it, who knows how the winds blow and can adjust accordingly. You information needs to tell you what you did last year month to date. What was your OTA rate what was your rack rate, and what was your actual rate. This will tell you where you are for this year and you can set rates accordingly. I know you will say I forgot the comp rate. Let me quote some past practices that have proven true.
1. Believing that discounting is an effective way to increase business. Not so it does not work and it will cost you more money that if you stand your ground. Upgrade the service concentrate on the value as opposed to occupancy.
2. Believing that the right price to charge for a room night is established solely on hotel’s cost and ROI expectations. We all know that market establishes the price. There should not be any excuses to owners that the economy is the blame for poor performance all of you have had ample time to adjust and recover business. Now is the time to demonstrate that you are able to actually make a profit. Managers are going to have to really be on top of their game if they wish to come out on top. It will take the entire team to make your property successful and profitable this year.
3. Thinking that artificial intelligence (RM software) is superior to human intelligence. How many times have you seen this happen? The manager relies on what the RM program dictates and nothing more, mainly because most don’t understand the RM process. Get educated on how it works take a class understand it.
Managers look at your comp set visit their properties see how they look how it feels sit in the lobby listen and look, not only at guest but employees are the well groomed, is their uniform clean, are they attentive to guest. Do you find them talking and being distractive to guest needs. All of these things reflect revenue gained or lost. You have to have a gut feeling as to what the market will bear at any particular time. Most managers have the luxury of knowing their area and property. I as a consultant don’t have that option I must rely on reports and audits and past performance to make a recommendation.
I say to all of you learn your market, and yes feel your market so that you are always ahead of the curve Please be aware that owners will no longer accept negative profits, you must show a profit this year if you expect to be employed. There are lots of different systems on the market look at which one is best for your needs, look at what other comp properties are using and check out if they are doing the job, and not all programs are the same. Remember that RM is used for all of the property not just rooms and if you are the RM manager have meetings with your team at least twice a week. I personally meet every morning with the RM Team. Be prepared and be alert as to what is happening in your sector of the world.