Who Else Wants a New RMS?
Dana Cariss, vice president of revenue strategy and distribution for CoralTree Hospitality, put it bluntly in HSMAI’s new guide to RMSs:
“There are a lot of frustrated people out there. Honestly, now, as we ramp up and accelerate, is the time to evaluate options.”
Monte Gardiner, managing director of revenue management services for Best Western, added: “If you’re running the revenue management department and you don’t have any concerns about your RMS, you’re not doing your job.”
Now is the time when many RM leaders are deciding if they want to stick it out another year or two with their current RMS provider.
Like all businesses decisions, it’s one they make in context of competing priorities and budget items. And oftentimes, it’s some other thing that’s on fire that gets the attention.
But one thing we learned in the HSMAI guide is that RMSs are THE FIRE for many RM leaders this year.
Why is that?
Read on to find out what RM leaders are saying…
Budgets are T-I-G-H-T.
Losing treasured colleagues to layoffs …it has been one of most painful experiences RM leaders and teams have lived through.
Friends gone. Key staffers they counted on gone. That’s left many RM teams standing shakily on wobbly legs with too much to do and not enough helping hands. And big plans and aspirations dashed for the foreseeable future.
All the more reason to rely on the time-saving benefits of an RMS, right?
Layoffs are nightmarish enough, but the cost-cutting hasn’t stopped there – RMSs are on the chopping block with a gleaming knife blade hovering just overhead. What was once considered an expensive—but high ROI—tool is now being looked at by more boards and owners as a “luxury” item they can do without.
And some RM leaders are having a hard time defending the high cost of their legacy RMS, given how many systems’ forecasting has flatlined (pun intended), letting hospitality teams everywhere down during their hour (more like 1.5 years) of collective need.
Distribution, spotting trends farther in advance, automating manual tasks…these arguments in favor of keeping a hobbled RMS aren’t changing the hearts and minds of those white-knuckling the purse strings.
But many savvy RM VPs can’t fathom a future without an RMS. It’s the beating heart of their organization, essential to the future, and ripping it out would be to give up the ghost.
So they’re looking for a replacement instead. Many are using this contract season to shop for a new RMS that costs less than legacy systems and they are discovering the budget-boosting benefits of modern cloud-native software and flexible upfront fees.
Multi-property management…the ultimate cluster.
Riddle: what’s exhausted, mainlining Starbucks, and gray-haired all over? Answer: a multi-property revenue manager that survived layoffs!
Cluster revenue managers and central RM teams are used to seeing their portfolios expand little by little year-over-year.
A 5-property portfolio certainly had its challenges – like understanding local markets well enough to make the best decisions, not having as much time to spend with each property as you really need, repetitive tasks, occasional analysis paralysis.
(After all, most RMSs were built for single-property management, not the modern multi-prop management expected of most revenue professionals today).
But if you were smart, had a good plan going in, and were disciplined about process every day, it’d be relatively smooth (but not optimally productive) sailing.
Then the 5-property portfolio ballooned to 20 properties. And the waters got choppy and the shrieking eels circled the boat. Suddenly you can’t manage the whole portfolio well AND work with sales AND work with GMs AND work on strategy AND do the reporting AND…
…it’s not sustainable or effective. So RM leaders are now exploring RM solutions purpose-built for portfolio management before signing on the dotted line again.
Forecasts are BROKEN.
Everyone knows that the pandemic brought a big anvil down on forecasts everywhere, making RM a *tad* more difficult.
Lately, revenue managers find themselves having maddening exchanges with their RMSs that go something like this:
- RMS: You’ve got Chinese New Year coming up and you’re going to get Chinese demand – hooray!
- Revenue manager: Did you know, RMS, that people from China cannot travel to Thailand, and therefore there will be no Chinese New Year here?
- RMS: Nope! It says right here that you’re going to get Chinese demand! Put on your party hat and grab your dancing shoes!
- Revenue manager: (Facepalm).
But even before the pandemic, RM teams were wrestling with major forecasting issues.
Notably, algorithms that rely heavily on market prices rather than demand broke forecasting long before COVID ever reared its ugly head, sending one RMS provider’s clients running screaming for the hills.
And the accuracy of single-model forecasts has long been called into question – a non-trivial problem given the direct and substantial impact a 1% increase/decrease in forecasting accuracy has for RevPAR.
Now RM leaders are searching for greener pastures because this latest forecasting problem, in addition to all the others, is putting RM programs in real jeopardy.
GMs hate RMSs.
Here’s the fun cascade of interrelated issues pitting GMs against RMSs, which should be their #1 ally in the battle for market share…
- GMs don’t USE their systems as intended. They override them instead.
- Why? Because they don’t TRUST the system’s recommendations.
- Why not? Because they don’t UNDERSTAND the system.
- Why? Because it’s really COMPLEX.
- Why not train them? Because they’re too BUSY running a hotel to do an 80-hr workshop.
What’s the point of having an RMS if GMs don’t use it? There isn’t one! You’re lighting money on fire every time the system predicts X and the GM does ABC.
The heart of the issue is that GMs need an RMS that’s simple.
Simplicity fosters understanding, which creates trust, which drives adoption.
With GM turnover at an all-time high and hiring stuck in the mud, RM leaders are feeling this pain like never before and using this time to explore RMSs that are truly GM-friendly.
Profit optimization, user experience, reporting, partnership…these round out the list of top pain points for RM leaders. Learn more and check out solutions to the doozies above in HSMAI’s new guide to RMSs.
And don’t forget to get your quick demo of N2Pricing™, our innovative RMS, before you sign on the dotted line with your current provider again this year. We’ll ensure you’re poised to maximize RevPAR for today’s demand and build back better :)