From irregular demand patterns to changing distribution mix and a depleted talent, here’s a roundup of challenges faced by revenue managers from India right now.
The STAAH team went out to leading revenue managers from India to understand what are the biggest challenges they are facing. In this two-part series focusing on revenue management, you will read about not just the challenges professionals in this field are facing, but also some suggested solutions and trends we can expect.
Lack of skilled staff
After cutting down to skeleton staff in the depths of the Covid crisis, the hospitality industry is particularly affected by labour shortages. From operations to revenue management, every aspect of hospitality is faced with talent loss. Not only has this affected service standards and day-to-day operations, existing staff feel the pressure of onboarding new members whilst performing their own duties.
Some respite comes with the adoption of technology to automate processes where possible points Kamal Kishore from Redsky Hospitality. From effectively using the channel manager for distribution management to leveraging products such as Precium from Redsky that takes over from a skilled revenue manager to provide pricing recommendations based on analytics.
Forecasting and budgeting
Want to predict the future? Good luck with that – you really will need a crystal ball!
“With booking windows shrinking and more than 50% of the bookings being received on the same day as arrival, forecasting is difficult,” says Jaydeep Advani from Rateping.
Kamal adds the need for revenue managers to forget the conventional ways of forecasting and look at new ways to predict what lies ahead, including daily data analysis.
Shanta from Revomix recommends looking for travel intent-related data such as flight and hotel searches, or even searches for your own property, and combining it with short-term booking trends to arrive at a meaningful way to predict optimum rates.
Demand and pricing
Closely related to the point above is demand volatility. When Covid hit, many destinations quickly moved to attract domestic guests. According to Shanta even in the future, domestic remains a lucrative audience as it is not bound by borders and closures as much as international.
“What revenue managers must do is continue to evaluate domestic guests’ trends and even look at pushing out campaigns in the domestic regions with maximum visitation and profitability,” she says.
revmerito’s Smritee Shah who also points to pricing elasticity as a key challenge encourages hoteliers to focus on their most active market segments. “Diversifying services and not wasting any periods of downtime can also help manage demand volatility,” says Smritee.
Revenue management has traditionally been reliant on past data to understand trends and inform future pricing, layered with a number of other factors such as season, local demand, etc. Covid has interrupted this rhythm with new patterns yet to be established and pre-Covid patterns not being reliable to confidently inform optimized pricing.
“Precium has been optimised for these conditions, collecting and analyzing data in almost half the time and being a key pricing guide for the company’s revenue managers,” says Kamal.
Rateping’s Jaydeep also points to their Pricing Intelligence tool being critical in ensuring that hotels’ pricing is accurate with respect to competition and occupancy.
“With a very small selling window due to increased shorter booking windows, this tool ensures hoteliers don’t miss out on opportunities,” he adds. The concept of RevPAG (revenue per available guest) has become more important as hoteliers look beyond just maximising room revenue to grow bottom line.
Rateping’s Jaydeep points towards another key challenge being faced by hoteliers – demanding guests, especially when it comes to cleanliness and hygiene. “A dissatisfied guest is quick to leave negative online reviews and this can greatly impact bookings,” he says.
Now more than ever tools such as STAAH’s ReviewMinder, an online reputation management system, is imperative to stay ahead of guest sentiment and effectively manage it so as to not lose any booking opportunities.
Conclusion: keeping ahead of the curve with the right technology
Adapting to all the changes mentioned above can seem like an overwhelming task. The only way to do so without losing your head is to leverage today’s latest hotel tech innovations.
Today, they offer many new ways to make your work easier and more effective. Even the most sceptical hoteliers are realizing the importance of integrated systems and breaking away from technology silos to be more efficient, smarter and profitable. Arguably, full automation through technology in this relatively unpredictable recovery is not the way forward, it has been aptly demonstrated that every challenge faced by hoteliers today has a fix in technology.
Blog Contributors – Revenue managers from India:
The insights and tips in this blog have been contributed by leading and passionate revenue managers of the hospitality industry.
Smritee Shah, revmerito: An experienced Revenue Strategist at Mumbai-based revmerito, Smritee has been pioneering for hotel brands to establish their own identity, particularly in the light of increasing competition and distribution shift to make the direct channel stronger.
Kamal Kishore, Redsky Hospitality: With more than 20 years of hospitality experience, Kamal Kishore founded Redsky Hospitality in 2012 and has been a stalwart in revenue management in India’s hospitality industry. His experience of working in some of India’s leading hotels now benefits more than 50 independent properties in India and beyond that have chosen Redsky as their revenue management partners.
Jaydeep Advani, Rateping Pricing Intelligence: In his own words, Jaydeep has an undying passion for start-ups, hospitality and technology. The perfect combination for revenue management and online distribution, his chosen fields of specialization.
Shanta Kamath, Revnomix: After working with multiple hotel brands, driving their sales and partnerships, Shanta joined Revnomix as a Director of Business Solutions in 2021. The company’s RevSeed tool based on Artificial Learning and Machine Learning is used by more than 200 hotels to drive up profitability.
Source : www.staah.com