Atlanta Connect Event Recap w/ Lighthouse: Data, BI, and Total Revenue Management
The right data + the right systems = a match made in heaven. That’s why we were so excited to team up with Lighthouse (formerly OTA Insight) for the Atlanta Connect event! Featuring a deep-dive into local market trends and a Q&A session with Kimberly Heine (Area Director of Revenue Management, Loews Hotels), Carla McDonald, CRME (Corporate Director of Revenue Strategy, Hospitality Ventures Management Group), and our very own Tess McGoldrick (VP, Travel & Hospitality, Revenue Analytics), this was an invaluable opportunity for local hoteliers and revenue managers.
While the event focused on the current and future state of the Atlanta market in particular, the main takeaways will benefit hoteliers everywhere. Watch our highlight reel from the event, or read on for key hospitality tech, data, and strategy tips!
Total Revenue Management: Here to Stay
COVID obviously had both short and long-term effects on the hospitality industry, but not all of them were entirely bad. When asked what COVID impacts are here to stay, Total Revenue Management was a shared sentiment among the panelists.
Carla McDonald said: “A lot of the changes are coming from owners. It’s not just a heads-in-beds mentality anymore. They’re definitely looking at profitability – where the reservations are coming from makes a difference, and the margins out there that different OTAs are charging… We used to talk about total hotel revenue management back in the day, and that’s coming back. We’re looking at different revenue streams because of rising costs in labor.”
Tess McGoldrick followed up, noting: “I think it’s good that we’re actually starting to do it, though, instead of just talk about it [total revenue management]. For years and years and years, we would talk about profitability and total hotel; to see people actually make the strategic shift and try to use data to support those decisions as opposed to managing it by gut has been really refreshing.”
Profitability is the key to success for today’s hoteliers. Looking at food and beverage margins, ancillary revenue streams (such as spa services), and the overall revenue impacts of group travel (beyond just the number of rooms booked) is critical to a successful total revenue management strategy.
Data & BI: Best Practices
It turns out more isn’t always better – as I’m sure any revenue manager who has ever stared down 40 columns of contradictory data would agree. So, how do you avoid analysis paralysis and make actionable decisions based on the data your systems produce? Our panelists suggested these best practices:
- Organizational Alignment. Decide what it is you really care about, set strategies to go after those things, and identify what KPIs you will look at across the organization to measure success. Rely on those core KPIs when making decisions. Pro tip: ensuring a consistent approach to data analysis/KPIs helps alleviate some of the pains associated with employee turnover, too – you can point them in the right direction and bring them up to speed more easily.
- Business Intelligence (BI): Being able to pull in data from disparate sources (RMS, PMS, etc.) and look at it all at a macro level is critical. Without BI, it’s hard to know which data is important, and you can go down the wrong data rabbit hole. Make sure your key systems are able to pipe data into your BI solution (like how N2Pricing™ RMS seamlessly integrates with Lighthouse’s Spider BI solution).
- Data storytelling: Revenue managers understanding the data is only step one – they have to be able to bring key stakeholders (such as owners and GMs) along for the ride. Your BI solution should equip RMs to identify trends and call out areas of concern. At-a-glance visualizations and customizable dashboards that allow you to start high-level and drill down where you want to are key.
Having data at your fingertips is great, but analysis paralysis is real, and you can sometimes feel like you’re drowning in that data. Strategic alignment and the right BI solution can reduce organizational friction and increase efficiency.
Big Picture Tips: Summer Strategies
We all know that summer is a peak travel season for many markets – but what can you do to better prepare for it? Lighthouse suggests focusing on these 3 areas when analyzing (and setting strategies for) summer demand.
- Tip #1: Focus on Length of Stay (LOS) and Feeder Markets:
- Utilize hotel and flight search data to understand what markets (both domestic & international) drive your business and target your marketing efforts accordingly.
- Analyze LOS data to understand booking trends. For example, longer LOS are generally for international travelers, with domestic travel accounting for the majority of 1-2 day LOS.
- Tip #2: Constantly Monitor Summer Events
- Is Taylor Swift coming to town soon? Major concerts, sporting events, and conventions can cause city-wide spikes in demand. Knowing what’s coming up allows you to set your pricing strategy accordingly.
- Tip #3: Align Your Discount Strategy with Data
- Discounts shouldn’t be one-size-fits all. Use LOS and booking channel trends to determine your discount offerings (based on duration of stay, mobile bookings, non-refundable versus semi-flex bookings, etc.).
Summer is an exciting but busy time for the hotel industry, especially when hoteliers are being asked to do even more with even less. But by investing in the right systems and relying on real data to drive your revenue management strategies, you can capture more demand, outpace the competition, and streamline your operations.
Thinking about your tech stack and wondering if it is keeping up with the demands of today’s industry? Check out our blog, Hoteliers: It’s Time for a Technological Transformation.
To learn more about the integration between Lighthouse and N2Pricing RMS, connect with an expert on our team.